Azzan Yadin-Israel gave a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, October 25, at 12:15 pm. His talk was entitled “Material Culture and Rabbinic Isolation: A Cultural Ecology Perspective.”

Like the dominant model in historical linguistics—a tree whose trunk is an ancient mother language, with later daughter languages branching out of it—late antique Judaism is often conceived of as later “branches” extending out of biblical Israel. And, like historical linguistics, the study of late antique Judaism has struggled to develop proper analytic tools to deal with the phenomenon of contact, linguistic contact, and cultural contact more broadly. Using the Onias Temple as an example, Yadin-Israel argues that the current model fails to capture the complexity of late antique Jewish life, and draws on new insights in contact linguistics to offer an alternative approach.

Azzan Yadin-Israel earned his BA from the Hebrew University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. He has published widely on rabbinic literature, Hebrew Bible, and early Christianity, including two books on early rabbinic midrash: Scripture as Logos: Rabbi Ishmael and the Origins of Midrash (2004) and Scripture and Tradition: Rabbi Akiva and the Triumph of Midrash (2014), both with the University of Pennsylvania Press. A Professor of Jewish Studies and Classics at Rutgers University, his latest book is The Grace of God and the Grace of Man: The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen (Lingua Press, 2016).

This event is part of the Leon Levy Foundation Lectures in Jewish Material Culture. Additional support provided by The David Berg Foundation.