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Explore Jewish Antiquity with Prof. Lee Levine

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rodef Shalom Congregation
4905 5th Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
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How and Why Did the Synagogue become a Central Institution in Late Antiquity?

The destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, Judaism's most holy site, in the year 70 CE threatened the continuity of Jewish life. Ironically, it was at about this time that the synagogue emerged into the full light of history as the central communal institution of Jewish communities throughout Judaea and the Diaspora. Soon thereafter, the synagogue had become the new center of Jewish communal life and religious worship; a plethora of archaeological and literary data provide us with a vivid picture of this institution.
This lecture will trace the factors responsible for the prominence of the synagogue in Jewish communal and religious life in Late Antiquity: its architecture, art, leadership, its role within the community, the status of women, and the involvement (or absence) of the rabbis in this institution.

Welcome Dr. Lee Levine, Professor Emeritus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem , and expert historian on ancient Judaism to Pittsburgh. 

Prof. Levine has published prolificly on topics like Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity, Jews  under Roman Rule, The Ancient Synagogue and the Synagogue in late Antiquity and Jerusalem's Sanctity and Centrality to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as Jewish Art and Society in Late Antiquity. Prof. Levine has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel, and has also served as visiting professor at Harvard and Yale Universities.

Prof. Levine received his doctorate from Columbia University. He first taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and since his aliyah to Israel in 1971 he has been on the faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Departments of Jewish History and Archaeology and is now Professor Emeritus. His most recent volume, Visual Judaism in Late Antiquity: Historical Contexts of Jewish Art, was published by Yale University Press in 2012. 

Prof. Levine's current project, a joint effort with his son, Dr. David Levine, is a comprehensive and updated history of the Jews of Palestine from 70 to 640 CE, which aims to replace Michael Avi-Yonah's masterful yet woefully outdated work from 1946.

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