Do Jews Believe in Saints? A Medieval Rabbi and His Early Modern Afterlife

For the Public
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
7:00 PM

Beth David Reform Congregation
1130 Vaughan Lane
Gladwyne, PA 19035

Etty Lassman

The veneration of saints is not a practice one normally associates with Judaism. Nevertheless, hagiography (i.e. the writing of the lives of saints) emerged as one of the most popular genres of Jewish narrative in the early modern period. The talk will trace the posthumous career of one “Ashkenazi saint,” historically among the founding fathers of the Jewish settlement in medieval Ashkenaz, from the Rhineland through early modern Italy, and, finally, to present day Israel. In so doing, Professor Raspe will shed light on how some of the major transformations of the early modern period shape our sense of the Jewish past, even today.


Lucia Raspe

Goethe University, Germany

Lucia Raspe is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Potsdam. Her publications include Jüdische Hagiographie im mittelalterlichen Aschkenas (Jewish Hagiography in Medieval Ashkenaz) (2006) as well as numerous articles on medieval and early modern memory and identity in Ashkenazi Culture. Raspe’s research at the center will focus on minhagim, or Jewish books of customs, in the German-Jewish diaspora in Italy during the Early Modern era.

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