Sign In Forgot Password

Annual Chaim and Ella Stern Memorial Lecture: Should the Ban on Spinoza Be Lifted?

Saturday, April 20, 2024 12 Nisan 5784

11:30 AM - 12:00 PMSanctuary

The annual Chaim & Ella Stern Memorial Lecture was established by the Stern/Steinberg families in 1995 in memory of their father, Chaim Stern, who passed away in 1994 and, subsequently, in memory of their mother, Ella Stern, z"l. This year we are pleased to welcome Dr. Daniel B. Schwartz as our speaker.

Over the past hundred years, there have been periodic calls to lift the sweeping ban (or herem) that Amsterdam Sephardic society imposed on the heterodox philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, in 1656. In this talk, Daniel B. Schwartz will outline the main elements of Spinoza’s heresy, survey the history of attempts to annul his excommunication, and explain why he opposes such efforts. 

Daniel Schwartz is a professor of modern Jewish intellectual and cultural history at George Washington University. He is the author of The First Modern Jew: Spinoza and the History of an Image (Princeton, 2012), Spinoza’s Challenge to Jewish Thought: Writings on His Life, Philosophy, and Legacy (Brandeis, 2019), and Ghetto: The History of a Word (Harvard, 2019).

His scholarship deals with the challenge modernity posed to Jews, the various ways Jews responded to that challenge, and how Jews came to be seen as principle shapers and symbols of the modern. At GW, Dr. Schwartz teaches courses on Jewish civilization from the Bible to the present, antisemitism, the ghetto, modern Jewish intellectuals, Jewish power and powerlessness, philosophies of history, and modernity and its critics.

Share Print Save To My Calendar
Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyyar 5784