Ancient Jewish Texts and the 'Literary'
14-15 March 2012
Universiteit Antwerpen - Hof van Liere (Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen)
This conference explores the literary dimension of ancient Jewish texts, gathering scholars from different academic fields (rabbinic studies, biblical studies, literary studies, and philosophy) and drawing on different methodologies (literary criticism, rhetorical criticism, cognitive linguistics, historical criticism, and reception history) in order to establish the state of the art in the field of ancient Jewish text studies. Participants will discuss the relevance, accuracy, potential and possible alternatives to the literary approach developed in the 1980s and predominant ever since in addressing textual features.
Since the breakthrough of the work of comparative literary theorists in biblical studies in the early 80s of the previous century, ancient Jewish texts have been analyzed in terms of aspects regarded as literary in a modern understanding of this term. However, this approach is controversial since it applies a modern framework to ancient texts, assuming that similar features must fulfill similar roles. Moreover, the literary approach was not as eagerly adopted in the study of other ancient Jewish texts, such as piyutim, Dead Sea Scrolls, and early rabbinic writings. The speakers will present and discuss various modes of addressing literary features in a variety of older Jewish texts. These modes will emphasize challenges to the established “modern” literary understanding of these texts and will include a multitude of approaches: a strong theological or liturgical thrust, cognitive or didactic perspectives, as well as hybrid readings in which these features have multiple purposes. To more theoretically oriented research within the field of Jewish studies, it is of particular interest to evaluate the literary dimension of the corpus of ancient texts. Finally, the conference aims at assessing the role and contribution of the various methods to the different fields represented at the conference and to formulate directions for future research.
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Prof. dr. Scott Noegel, University of Washington (United States of America)
Prof. dr. Ellen Van Wolde, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Prof. dr. Wilfred Watson, Newcastle University (United Kingdom)
Prof. dr. Robert Gordon, Cambridge University (United Kingdom)