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Judaizing Aesthetics: David Nirenberg Delivers the Mandel Lectures

March 20th, 2012

Humanities News

David Nirenberg

This week historian David Nirenberg, professor at the University of Chicago is delivering the new Mandel Lectures in the Humanities. Brandeis Now reports:

David Nirenberg always questioned the incongruous presence of Jews when he read works by Shakespeare, George Herbert and the great poets of the Renaissance. Why so many Jews in literature, when there had been none living in English society for hundreds of years?

Similar questions arose, he said, when he was viewing paintings from the period: Why were so many Jews portrayed in the art of Christians?  What work were they doing for the artists, the patrons and the viewers?  The answers, it turns out, had as much to do with how Christians thought about art as with how they thought about Jews.

Nirenberg, a professor of medieval history and social thought at the University of Chicago and a contributor to the London Review of Books, The Nation and The New Republic, will share his research and theories in a three-day lecture series called:  beginning at 4 p.m. Monday in the Mandel Center for the Humanities auditorium [MCH G3]. These are the first programs in a new, annual Mandel Lecture Series sponsored by the Mandel Foundation.


Professor Nirenberg’s lectures and workshop will be held at the following times. The poster for the events can be viewed here (PDF).

Lecture One: “Judaizing Aesthetics: Painting, Poetry and Politics.” Monday, March 19 at 4:00 p.m. in MCH G3 Mandel Auditorium.

Public reception for the Mandel Lectures in the Humanities: Monday, March 19, from
 6 to 7:30 p.m.
 in the 
Mandel Atrium.

Lunch Seminar: “Painting Between Judaism and Christianity: Two Callings of St. Matthew (Van Reymerswaele and Caravaggio). “Tuesday, March 20, from 
12:30 to 2:00 p.m. 
in MCH 303, Reading Room. Lunch will be served. No RSVP needed.

Lecture Two: “Why Every Poet is a Jew.”
 Wednesday, March 21, at 4 p.m. in MCH G3 Mandel Auditorium.

Lecture Three: “Sovereignty of the Spirit, or Sovereignty of the Flesh?”
Thursday, March 22, at 4 p.m. in MCH G3 Mandel Auditorium.

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