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Public lecture: Divine Secrets and Jewish Power. Jewish-Christian Polemics and the Development of Medieval Kabbalah

When:Mo 11-05-2015 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Old Courtroom, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Groningen

We are proud to announce a special event with Professor Hartley Lachter to mark the start of a new partnership between Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies in Groningen.

The lecture is directly linked to the Master's program "Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism" but it addresses issues of religious diversity and identity formation that are interesting to a wide audience as well. All students and staff are welcome!

Divine Secrets and Jewish Power: Jewish-Christian Polemics and the Development of Medieval Kabbalah

Medieval Kabbalah embraced an esoteric premise asserting that Jews possess powerful secret knowledge. This claim formed the core of an important new discursive construction that radically reshaped medieval and early-modern Judaism. This talk will consider how the development of Kabbalah constituted an engagement with Christian anti-Jewish polemics and served as a form of Jewish cultural resistance within the complex social environment of 13th-14th century Iberia.

Prof. Hartley Lachter

Hartley Lachter is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies, Lehigh University, USA. Professor Lachter is a world-leading expert on the history of Kabbalah, with a focus on the medieval period and the interreligious discourses of the time. He is the author of Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining Judaism in Medieval Spain (Rutgers 2014).


The lecture is open to all students and staff members. Participants should read the introduction and the first chapter of Kabbalistic Revolution in preparation of the lecture and discussion. The book is available as eBook through the University Library of the UG (go to Smartcat and search for "libraries worldwide"). There will be a reception with drinks after the lecture.