How We Became the People of the Book: Targum, Mishnah, and the Audacious Translations that Saved Judaism


Program: Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning: Texts and Traditions
Rabbi Navah Levine (Read bio)
Day and Time: Tuesdays, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Eastern
Dates: 2/28, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/18, 5/2, 2023 (6 sessions)
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $216 Generous financial scholarships available
Partner Organization: Beth El Temple Center of Belmont

After the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE and the loss of the nation-state, the Jewish people might well have ceased to exist. Instead, through the creative power of translation and interpretation, the diaspora community evolved from one united only through a shared sacred text, into one united through committed engagement with that sacred text. How was new life breathed into that text? How were we transformed from being a People with a Book into the People of the Book?

In this six-session course, we will survey the history and impact of the earliest biblical translations. As we read biblical texts, translations, and related midrashim, we will explore the evolving views on select themes such as monotheism, prayer, the centrality of study of Torah, human free will and the urge to do evil, the centrality of Jerusalem, the Holiness imperative, and the theology of exile.

Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning is for learners of all backgrounds.