Events & Lectures

The Program in Scripture and the Arts is pleased to present our events calendar. Please check back often to see events as they are posted.

“The Language of Divinity: Modernity and the Deep Past” Lecture Series: “What Jews Talk About When They Don’t Talk About Judaism” with Daniel Boyarin

By Theresa Cooney
March 12th, 2015 in Uncategorized.

The Program in Scripture and the Arts is proud to present the third and final speaker in its 2014-2015 speaker series, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California Berkeley, Daniel Boyarin. Professor Boyarin is a historian of religion and Talmudic culture whose work on Jewish identity and Talmud hermeneutics has crucially informed the contemporary study of early Judaisms. In this lecture, he will argue that the term “Judaism” is irrelevant for ancient Jewry, demonstrating how such prominent Judaean (Jewish) writers as Josephus perceived the practices of the Judaeans in ways that did not set apart some putative “Judaism” or mark the Judaeans as structurally different from the other peoples of the Mediterranean.

Co-Sponsored by the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies and the Boston University Center for the Humanities

Free and Open to the Public

When: Thursday, April 30 2015 at 5:30 pm, lecture with reception to follow

Location: The Castle at Boston University (225 Bay State Rd, Boston, MA)

Transportation: Closest T stop is the B Line on the Green Line at BU Central; closest public parking lot is at 665 Commonwealth Ave, at the corner of Granby St. and Commonwealth.

“The Language of Divinity: Modernity and the Deep Past” Lecture Series: “The Voice of Prayer/ The Media of Prayer” with Niklaus Largier

By Theresa Cooney
January 23rd, 2015 in Uncategorized.

The Program in Scripture and the Arts is proud to present the second speaker in its 2014-2015 speaker series, the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Chair in the Humanities and Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California-Berkeley, Niklaus Largier. Professor Largier is currently working on a book on imagination, practices of figuration, aesthetic experience, and notions of possibility, tentatively entitled “Figures of Possibility.” His talk, entitled “The Voice of Prayer/The Media of Prayer,” will focus on the modern fascination with medieval mystical texts and discuss the ways in which so-called mystical experience takes shape aesthetically, sensually, and emotionally. At the center of his interest lies the medieval understanding of prayer as the medium through which mystical experience is produced, a medium that shapes sensation and affect and anticipates what nowadays is called aesthetic experience.

Co-Sponsored by the Boston University Center for the Humanities

Free and Open to the Public

When: Thursday, February 19 2015 at 6 pm lecture with reception to follow

Location: Boston University George Sherman Union (775 Commonwealth Ave), room 320-21. Reception to Follow in the GSU Terrace Lounge.

Transportation: Closest T stop is the B Line on the Green Line at BU Central; closest public parking lot is at 665 Commonwealth Ave, at the corner of Granby St. and Commonwealth.

About Niklaus Largier:

Niklaus Largier is Sidney and Margaret Ancker Chair in the Humanities and Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California-Berkeley, where he is also affiliated with the Programs in Medieval Studies and Religious Studies.  His research deals with German literature and philosophy, especially questions of the relations among literature, philosophy, theology, and other fields of knowledge.  He is an expert on mystical traditions in German literature and thought, in particular Meister Eckhart and his influence from the Middle Ages to postmodern discourses. His most recent books explore the relation between bodily ascetic practices (in particular flagellation), eroticism, and the literary imagination (Lob der Peitsche: Eine Kulturgeschichte der Erregung. Beck, Munich, 2001 / In Praise of the Whip: A Cultural History of Arousal. ZONE Books, 2007) and the fascination of decadent literature with such religious practices (Die Kunst des Begehrens: Dekadenz, Sinnlichkeit und Askese. Beck, Munich, 2007). His other books include a study on time and temporality in late medieval philosophy and literature (1989), a bibliography of literature on Meister Eckhart (1989), a translation and commentary of a medieval treatise on spiritual poverty (1989), a two-volume edition of Meister Eckhart’s works with extensive commentaries in the Deutscher Klassiker Verlag (1993), and a study of the significance of exemplum and exemplarity in medieval literature, philosophy, and historiography (1997). Largier has published essays on Eckhart, Tauler, Seuse, Mechthild of Magdburg, Hadewijch, Rudolf of Biberach, Czepko, and others; and, more recently, a series of articles on the interaction of images and texts in medieval manuscripts, questions of visual culture, and the significance of exemplarity in various discursive contexts.

“The Language of Divinity: Modernity and the Deep Past” Lecture Series: “Sacramental Poetics” with Regina Schwartz

By Theresa Cooney
September 22nd, 2014 in Uncategorized.

The Program in Scripture and the Arts is proud to announce its three-part lecture series for 2014-2015, The Language of Divinity: Modernity and the Deep Past. The first speaker in this series will be Pulitzer prize nominee Regina Schwartz, Professor of English at Northwestern University, who will deliver a lecture at BU entitled “Sacramental Poetics” on October 14. This lecture will explore how the impulses that inform ritual can govern poetry. How, for instance, can the spiritual cravings for communion with Divinity addressed by the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist be expressed in verse? Surely as sign-making characterizes the Eucharist, is also does poetry, which is similarly engaged in making present what is absent–not just in select figures of speech, like the apostrophe, but in the very poetic enterprise. What is the sacramental character of language and how does it inflect communication?

When: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 6 pm lecture with reception to follow

Location:147 Bay State Road, Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, 2nd floor board room (Room 201)

From the Northwestern University English Department Faculty page:

“Regina Schwartz (Ph.D. University of Virginia) teaches seventeeth-century literature, especially Milton; Hebrew Bible; philosophy and literature, law and literature, and religion and literature. Her publications include Remembering and Repeating: Biblical Creation in Paradise Lost (1988), which won the James Holly Hanford prize for the best book on Milton; The Book and the Text: The Bible and Literary Theory (1990); Desire in the Renaissance: Psychoanalysis and Literature (1994); The Postmodern Bible (1995) and Transcendence: Philosophy, Literature, and Theology Approach the Beyond (2004). The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (1997), a study of identity and violence in the Hebrew Bible, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent book, Sacramentality at the Dawn of Secularism: When God Left the World, is published by Stanford in their series “Cultural Memory in the Present” (2007).

She has served as President of the Milton Society of America, Chair of the Modern Language Association Religion and Literature Division and Chair of Northwestern’s Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative in the Humanities. Her recent speaking engagements include featured speaker at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and international conferences on “Ontology,” “The Place of Theology in the Liberal State and Global Setting,” and “Derrida and Religion.” Her recent essays on postmodern theology appear in Post-secular Philosophy, Questioning God, and Transcendence; on Milton and Renaissance literature in The Blackwell Companion to Milton and The Journal of Religion and Literature; and on Shakespeare and Law in Triquarterly.”

 

Amos Wilder Lecture and Friday Morning Talk with Joy Ladin, March 20 and 21

By Theresa Cooney
January 31st, 2014 in Uncategorized.

On Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21 The Program in Scripture and the Arts, in collaboration with the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Enhancement Fund and the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies will welcome Joy Ladin to BU for two exciting events. Joy will come from New York’s Stern College/Yeshivah University  to give the final Amos Wilder Lecture on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Joy is a literary scholar and also an acclaimed poet herself; she holds the David and Ruth Guttesman Chair in English at Stern College/YU.

Joy has also written about her experience as a Jewish transgender person and her decision to transition (and the impact of that decision personally and professionally) in a book entitled, Through the Door of Life; A Jewish Journey Between Genders. To learn more about Joy and her work, see here.

 

Amos Wilder lecture: “You are Making Me Now”: Writing God as a Contemporary American Poet

Rephrasing Robert Frost’s classic 1915 poem, “Mending Wall,” poet and scholar Joy Ladin has noted “Something there is in American poetry that doesn’t love religion, that sends skeptical ground swells under it, toppling the rhetoric of Divinity and Absolute Truth…” According to Allen Ginsberg, American poets’ “thirst for the Absolute” is in constant tension with the “aesthetics of relative truth” on which most American poetic practices are based. This talk will examine “the aesthetics of relative truth,” how they are reflected in American poetics, and how hard those poetics make it to represent one of the most fundamental human experiences: the experience of the presence of God.

When: Thursday, March 20, 2014, 4:30 PM

Location: Photonics 203, 8 St. Mary’s Street, Boston University, Boston MA

Free and Open to the Public

 

Friday Morning Talk: Gender, Judaism and God

This talk will take an autobiographical, phenomenological approach to examining the intersections (and collisions) between transgender identity and Jewish tradition, and the challenges and changes in the American Jewish world’s engagement with transgender Jews.

When: Friday, March 21, 2014, 10 am

Location: PHO 206, 8 St. Mary’s St, Boston University, Boston MA 02215

Free and Open to the Public

“Does the Artist Matter? Painting Gods for Korean Shamans” with Laurel Kendall

By Theresa Cooney
October 30th, 2013 in Uncategorized.

In Korean shaman practice, images of gods hung in the shaman’s shrine transmit divine inspiration to shamans and are the site of daily offerings and supplications.  Some paintings are produced by traditionalist painters who observe a variety of workshop taboos and as in some sense inspired by the gods they portray.   Other shrine paintings are produced by commercial artists and sold in generic shaman supply shops and some shamans use cheap commercial prints.  Do these distinctions matter?  Anthropologist Laurel Kendall of Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History presents a dialogue between shamans, painters, and shop proprietors on the subject of a proper and efficacious shaman painting.

Where: BU Photonics Colloquium Room, 9th floor of 8 St. Mary’s Street, Boston MA

When: November 13, 2013, 6 pm lecture, reception to follow

Free and Open to the public

Co-Sponsored by the BU Center for the Humanities, BU Department of Religion, BU MLCL and BU CSA

Alash Ensemble: Workshop, Performance and Q+A

By Theresa Cooney
October 30th, 2013 in Lecture, Performance, Workshop.

On November 5, 2013, the Program in Scripture and the Arts will be hosting the Alash Ensemble, internationally acclaimed masters of Tuvan throat singing. Hailing from the Tuva Republic in Siberia Russia, the ensemble will hold a workshop in which students will learn traditional forms and techniques of Tuvan throat singing. In the evening, there will be a public performance showcasing this remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. The performance will be followed by a Q+A session that will focus on possible intersections between Tuvan throat singing and Shamanism.

 

Location: GSU Conference Auditorium, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA

 

Date/Time: November 5, 2013/ 1 pm workshop, 5:30 pm performance, Q+A and Reception to follow.

 

Free and Open to BU Community. For more information see: http://www.bu.edu/scriparts/events/

 

For more information on participating in the 1 pm student workshop on Nov 5, please contact Theresa Cooney, scripart@bu.edu


Co-sponsored by the BU Arts Initiative, Office of the Provost; the BU Center for the Humanities; the BU Core Curriculum and Distinguished Teaching Fellowship; the BU Department of Religion and the BU Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature.

“Does God Speak Tamil or Sanskrit? On the Infancy of a Tamil Goddess”

By John Canver
March 5th, 2013 in Lecture.

A Lecture by Professor David Shulman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Many languages claim to be God’s most intimate and natural medium of communication. In southern India this theme involves the relations between Sanskrit and Tamil, two languages that are often seen as hostile entities by Tamil nationalists. However, in pre-modern south India they were bound together in a complex and complimentary relationship. Dr. Shulman will explore the Tamil-Sanskrit interface as seen in a seventeenth-century text by the great poet Kumarakuruparar on the infancy of the goddess Minaksi. Each verse of this poem projects a strong vision of the Tamil language itself as a living, thinking, feeling goddess.

Location: The Castle, 225 Bay State Road
Reception immediately following
Time/Date: Tuesday March 5, 5:30pm

More info: scriptart@bu.edu
Download: flyer in JPG color

“Pleasure, Story, Word: Verse Bibles Before the English Reformation”

By John Canver
November 13th, 2012 in Lecture.

A Lecture by Professor Nicholas Watson, Harvard University

It is often claimed that medieval Christian Europe had no vernacular Bibles, which were a triumphant invention of sixteenth-century Protestantism, aided by the rise of print. One way this is wrong is in its narrow view of what counts as a Bible. Between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries in particular, European vernacular Bibles were as often as not in verse, presenting a view of the Scriptures not primarily as divine law but as a record of sacred history – of events and their layered meanings – offering readers and hearers not only the word of God but testimony to his actions as a creator, guide, and above all his incarnate presence. Heroic, performative, aesthetic – its rhythms staking a claim not only on the minds but on the bodily experience of its auditors – poetry was a fit medium for such testimony, elevating spoken Word over written Text.

Location: Trustees Lounge, 1 Silber Way, 9th floor (SMG building)
Reception immediately following
Time/Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

“Moral Paragons and Moral Dilemmas in the Indian Epics”

By John Canver
March 20th, 2012 in Lecture.

A Lecture by Professor Emily Hudson

This talk offers a rereading of a central text in the study of Hinduism, the Ramayana, by interrogating its central protagonist’s status as a moral paragon.

Location: Judaic Studies Boardroom, Rm 201, 147 Bay State Road
Reception immediately following
Time/Date: March 20, 2012, 5:00pm

Open to General Public
Admission is free
More info: scriptart@bu.edu
Download: flyer in PDF color

“Translating Pasolini Translating Paul”

By John Canver
March 6th, 2012 in Lecture.

A lecture by Professor Elizabeth Castelli, Professor and Chair of the Religion Department at Barnard College.

Not long before his untimely death in the mid-1970s and following on his masterpiece “The Gospel According to St. Matthew”, Italian Marxist cultural worker and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote a script for a film about Saint Paul that was never produced. This lecture, given by esteemed Professor Elizabeth Castelli, the English translator of Pasolini’s Italian original, situates Saint Paul in the broader framework of Pasolini’s oeuvre and considers how this script relates to the more recent interest in Paul’s letters among continental philosophers.

Location: BU School of Education, Room 130, 2 Silber Way
Reception immediately following
Time/Date: March 6, 2012, 6:15pm

Open to General Public
Admission is free

More info: scriptart@bu.edu
Download: flyer in PDF color