Jews and the Natural World: Bodies, Animals, Evolution

December Symposium

For the Public
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM EST

420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Carrie Love


Jews and the Natural World: Bodies, Animals, Evolution 

This day-long symposium will explore the interconnected discourses with which Judaism both invents and interacts with nature, from the conceptual and categorical challenges posed by eating animals in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, to the chains of logic that derive from evolutionary theory in the nineteenth century, to the epistemologies that underlie Jewish medicine from the Talmud through modern genetics research.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP to Carrie Love at by December 6, 2017. 

9:3010:00 am | COFFEE

10:0010:30 am | INTRODUCTION

Welcome: Steven Weitzman, University of Pennsylvania/Katz Center
Opening Remarks: Daniel Langton, University of Manchester/Katz Center

10:30 am12:00 pm | BODIES

"Nobody Knows Better than Jew" Talmudic Bodies of Knowledge and Medical Epistemes in Late Antiquity

Lennart Lehmhaus, CRC 980 "Episteme in Motion," Free University of Berlin/Katz Center

History, Memory and Genetic Jewish Selfhood
Yulia Egorova, Durham University/Katz Center


Respondent: Sacha Stern, University College London/Katz Center

12:001:00 pm | LUNCH

1:002:30 pm  | ANIMALS

Chair: Marcy Norton, University of Pennsylvania

The Intimacies of Eating: Gender, Sex, and Human-Animal Encounter in Rabbinic Stories of Sodom and Noah
Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University/Katz Center

Soul Food and Salvation in Medieval Ashkenaz
David Shyovitz, Northwestern University/Katz Center

Respondent: Beth Berkowitz, Barnard College

2:303:00 pm | COFFEE BREAK


3:004:30 pm | EVOLUTION

Blavatsky, Evolution, and the "Great Chain of Being"
Julie Chajes, Tel Aviv University/Katz Center

Darwin's Jews and Man's Place in Creation
Daniel Langton, University of Manchester/Katz Center


Respondent: Donovan Schaefer, University of Pennsylvania


Moderator: Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University/Katz Center 

Projit Bihari Mukharji, University of Pennsylvania/Katz Center
Gwynn Kessler, Swarthmore College

5:307:30 pm | DINNER