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Lecture: “Bodies of Knowledge: Recovering the Lost Drama of the Early Synagogue” with Laura Lieber (Duke)

January 29, 2021 | 9:30 am - 11:30 am


Please join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present their current research to their departmental (and interdepartmental) colleagues, students, and other interlocutors in their fields.


In the 4th c. CE, the landscape of religious literature in the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean underwent a tectonic shift. From Constantinople to the Galilee to the borders with Persia, in Christian, Jewish, and Samaritan communities, and in languages including Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and Aramaic, we see in this period the emergence of a vast, sophisticated body of dramatic poetry composed for performance in the context of religious services, seemingly from out of the blue. Scholars who study this material have largely focused on tracing the origins of these works within religious traditions (e.g., how earlier Jewish writings laid the groundwork for Jewish poetry) or sought to discern pathways of influence from one community to the next. In this talk, I consider how the larger context of “entertainment” in Late Antiquity (the 3rd – 6th c. CE)-especially the theater and oratory-shaped literary and performative conventions of religious ritual and constitute an essential element of the matrix from which these bodies of writing emerged.


Zoom registration link.


This event is cosponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Late Ancient Studies, the Department of Classical Studies, and the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University.


Duke University


January 29, 2021
9:30 am - 11:30 am
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