Feb. 5: Judaic Studies Lecture Bears Fruit

The Department of Judaic Studies at the McMicken College, University of Cincinnati will host author and scholar Judith R. Baskin, as the first speaker of the Beatrice Winkler Lecture in Judaic Studies. Dr. Baskin will present “Fruitful Vines and Silent Partners: Women as Wives in Rabbinic Literature” at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 5 in 201 Braunstein Hall.

Interim head of Judaic Studies Cynthia Berryman-Fink explained the annual lecture came about as a tribute to Jewish community activist and departmental advocate, Beatrice Winkler. Bea is also the wife of UC president emeritus Henry Winkler.

“Bea is so highly thought of in the community, we think this will be a nice tribute to her,” Berryman-Fink said.  “We thought the topic of women in literature seemed appropriate.”

Baskin visits UC from the University of Oregon where she is Knight Professor of Humanities, Professor of Religious Studies, and Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies. She is also the president of the Association for Jewish Studies, the 1,500 member learned society devoted to promoting and supporting academic Jewish studies.

Baskin’s lecture will be based on Rabbinic literature created by rabbis, Jewish religious leaders and teachers during the late period of antiquity, between the first century and the sixth century. “In my lecture I will focus on the ways in which marriage is represented in non-legal contexts in rabbinic literature and, in particular, on rabbinic views of what constituted good and bad wives,” she said.  “I will also discuss the consequences for women and men, and for Judaism, of the tension many rabbinic sages apparently felt between the benefits of marriage and the desire to devote themselves completely to God and divine study.”

A great deal of the lecture material is based on Baskin’s most recent book, Midrashic Women: Formations of the Feminine in Rabbinic Literature. She also penned Pharaoh's Counsellors:  Job, Jethro and Balaam in Rabbinic and Patristic Tradition during 1983. As well as author, she acted as the editor of Jewish Women in Historical Perspective in 1991 and 1998, and Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing in 1994.

Baskin has received awards for excellence in teaching and academic service from the State University of New York at Albany.  She lectures frequently at colleges and universities across the country, and has delivered conference papers and addressed a number of synagogues and Jewish organizations throughout North America, Europe and Israel.

“We’re hoping the lecture will be well-received and bring many community members to campus,” Berryman-Fink said.  “The entire community is invited to come out and attend.”
For more information contact the Judaic Studies department at 513-556-2297.

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