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2016 Prophetic Workshop

Prophetic Imaginings: Aesthetics, Ethics, Hermeneutics

May 9th-10th, 2016

We will be hosting a two day workshop at Stanford University on May 9th and 10th, 2016.

Workshop Description

The workshop aims to explore the ways in which biblical prophecies have travelled across their native bounds into other cultural settings, acquiring new forms and meanings. Among the topics to be addressed: Why has the prophetic cry over forthcoming disasters become a touchstone for modern reflections on catastrophic events?  In what ways do modern writers and thinkers respond to the prophetic ethical legacy? Does the definition of prophetic failures change?  Why are prophecy and poetry interconnected in the biblical text and to what extent is this aesthetic preference relevant within the context of modernity?  

While exploring the intricacies of the reception of biblicalprophecies, we also wish to address broader questions: What are the interrelations between prophetic imaginings and configurations of the future in modern literature and thought?  To what extent can literature provide tools for reimagining future events? To what extent can aesthetic inquiries within religious realms change our perception of religious texts and religious experience? And vice versa, to what extent can religion allow or compel us to open up the concept of the “aesthetic”?





Vivian Liska is Senior Professor of German literature and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. She is also, since 2013, Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty  of  the Humanities at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has published widely on modern German and German-Jewish authors and thinkers. Her main recent publications include Giorgio Agamben’s Empty Messianism and When Kafka Says We. Her new book, German-Jewish Thought and its Aftermath: A Tenuous Legacy (Indiana University Press), is forthcoming.

Galit Hasan-Rokem has served as Max and Margarethe Grunwald Professor of Folklore and Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and continues as visiting professor and researcher at major institutions in Europe and USA. She studies folk literary, ethnographic and inter-cultural aspects of late antique Rabbinic literature; theory of folklore; the proverb genre; Jewish motifs in European folklore, especially the Wandering Jew; Israeli folklore. Publications include: Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature (2000), and Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity (2003); The Wandering Jew - Essays in the Interpretation of a Christian Legend with A. Dundes (1986); Companion to Folklore (2012) with Regina F. Bendix; Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews: Ancient Jewish Folk Literature Reconsidered (2014) with Ithamar Gruenwald. Published poet and poetry translator.  
Robert Chodat is Associate Professor of English at Boston University, where he teaches courses in contemporary American fiction, the history of criticism, and the relations between literature and philosophy. He is the author of Worldly Acts and Sentient Things: The Persistence of Agency from Stein to DeLillo (Cornell, 2008) as well as articles on Lorrie Moore, Philip Roth, pragmatist aesthetics, and the concept of style. He is currently finishing a book provisionally titled The Matter of High Words, which considers Marilynne Robinson, Stanley Cavell, David Foster Wallace, and other figures whose generically varied writings re-enact the "ancient quarrel" in a reductively naturalistic post-WWII culture.
Dr. Nir Evron received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University (2012), and is currently a lecturer of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University. He publishes on 20th-century literature, and his first book (in progress) deals with post-WWI novelistic representations of cultural extinction.
Chana Kronfeld is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author, most recently, of The Full Severity of Compassion: the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (Stanford UP, 2015). Her book, On the Margins of Modernism: Decentering Literary Dynamics won the MLA Scaglione Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literary Studies. She is the co-translator (with Chana Bloch) of Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch and of Yehuda Amichai's Open Closed Open (winner of the PEN Translation Prize). Kronfeld is the recipient of the Akavyahu Lifetime Achievement Award for her studies of Hebrew and Yiddish poetry.
Ilana Pardes is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she has been teaching since 1992.  She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990. She taught at Princeton University in 1990-1992 and as Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley in 1996 and in 2006 and at Harvard in 2012.  During the fall of 2009 she was a Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn. She was a Senior Fellow at Scholion, Interdisciplinary Research Center in Jewish Studies at HU in 2008-2011.  Her work has focused on the nexus of Bible, literature, and culture as well as on questions of aesthetics and hermeneutics. She is the author of Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach (Harvard University Press, 1992), The Biography of Ancient Israel: National Narratives in the Bible (University of California Press, 2000), Melville's Bibles (University of California, 2008); Agnon's Moonstruck Lovers: The Song of Songs in Israeli Culture (The Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies, University of Washington Press, 2013). She is currently working on a comparative study of the Song's reception titled The Song of Songs: A Biography (to be published by Princeton University Press as part of the Lives of Great Religious Books series). 
Renana Keydar is a postdoctoral fellow at the Minerva Center for Human Rights in the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law. She is affiliated with the interdisciplinary program Human Rights Under Pressure: Ethics, Law and Politics" under the joint auspices of the Hebrew University Jerusalem and the Free University Berlin. Renana received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Stanford University (2015). Her dissertation is an interdisciplinary examination of the changes in notions of post-atrocity justice from 1945 to 9/11 through the joint prism of law and culture. Prior to her graduate studies, she earned an LLB (magna cum laude) and a BA (political science, magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University and served as a legal advocate in the Israeli Ministry of Justice, High Court of Justice Department.
Ella Elbaz-Nir is a PhD student in the Comparative Literature Department. She received her B.A and M.A from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she worked on the intersections of literature with philosophy of time. Today her interests include French, Hebrew and Arabic literatures, philosophy of language and contemporary political writings.
Robert Alter is Professor of the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.  He has written widely on the European and American novel, on modern Hebrew literature, and on literary aspects of the Bible.   His most recent publications are Strong As Death Is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel and The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai.
Russell Berman joined the Stanford faculty in 1979. In 1982-83 he was a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Humanities at Harvard, and in 1988-89 he held an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship in Berlin. In 1997 he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany. Professor Berman is the editor of the journal Telos.
Vincent P. Pecora is the Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Professor of British Studies at the University of Utah. His most recent book is Secularization without End: Beckett, Mann, Coetzee (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015). He is currently at work on a book to be called Autochthonous Modernism. 
Maya Barzilai is an assistant professor of modern Hebrew literature and Jewish culture at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley in 2009. Her book, Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters, is forthcoming with NYU Press (Fall 2016). She has published articles on Jewish translation and multilingualism in Prooftexts, Comparative Literature, The Journal of Jewish Identities, and Naharaim.
Idan Gillo is a doctoral student in the Department for German Studies at Stanford. He did his B.A. at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his M.A. in Freiburg. He is currently finishing a dissertation on the topic of conversion and rebirth in 18th century  Germany. Idan also publishes from time to time articles on social and political questions in the online journal haoketz.
Yosefa Raz completed her PhD at UC Berkeley in Jewish Studies, held a two year post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Toronto, and is currently a Mandel Scholar at the Mandel – Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center at the Hebrew University, where she teaches comparative literature & English literature.  Her new book is titled, Prophecy, Power, and Weakness: A Cultural History of the Bible in Modernity.
Shoshana Olidort is a PhD student in the department of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Her work explores performative gestures in postwar Jewish literature. She also reviews books of poetry and fiction and her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Jewish Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Republic and the Times Literary Supplement.
Leora Batnitzky is Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor and Chair of the Department Religion at Princeton University.  Her teaching and research interests include philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, hermeneutics, and contemporary legal and political theory. She is the author of Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered (Princeton, 2000), Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation (Cambridge, 2006), and How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2011). She is co-editor, with Ilana Pardes, of The Book of Job: Aesthetics, Ethics and Hermeneutics (De Gruyter, 2014), -editor, with Yonatan Brafman, of an anthology Jewish Legal Theories, for the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought, as well as the co-editor, with Ra’anan Boustan of Jewish Studies Quarterly.  
Amir Eshel is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Professor of German Studies and Director of the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also the faculty director of Stanford’s research group on The Contemporary and of the project Poetic Media at Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA).


Stanford Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages 

Stanford Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages: Research Unit 

The Europe Center at Stanford