1. Events | The Invention of God | Public University, Public Values
2. Features | Grad Spotlight | New Directions Reflections
The Invention of God

Thomas Römer
Professor of the Hebrew Bible
Collége de France and University of Lausanne
Tuesday, November 6, 5pm
220 Stephens Hall
UC Berkeley

Who invented God? And what does “inventing” a god mean? This talk will trace the evolution of the deity of the great monotheisms―Yhwh, God, or Allah―by tracing Israelite beliefs and their context from the Bronze Age to the end of the Old Testament period in the third century BCE. We will draw on a long tradition of historical, philological, and exegetical work and on recent discoveries in archaeology and epigraphy to locate the origins of Yhwh in the early Iron Age, when he emerged as a god of the wilderness and of storms and war. He became the sole god of Israel in fits and starts as other gods, including the goddess Asherah, were gradually sidelined. But it was not until a major catastrophe that Israelites came to worship Yhwh as the one god of all, creator of heaven and earth, who proclaimed a special relationship with one people. This was the rise of Judaism.

Thomas Römer is Professor of the Hebrew Bible at the Collège de France and the University of Lausanne.
Arlie R. Hochschild | Professor Emerita of Sociology, UC Berkeley
Thomas W. Laqueur | Helen Fawcett Professor of History Emeritus, UC Berkeley

Thursday, November 29, 5pm | 220 Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley
Public University, Public Values is a new series of talks and conversations co-organized by BCSR and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. The series is prompted by the recognition that the current moment of crisis in the liberal democracies of Europe and North America is, among other things, a crisis of value. The “political” focus that has shaped the humanities and much of the social sciences over the past several decades has made possible an extraordinary body of scholarship and teaching.  Yet it has often left unexplored the moral terrain on which the current crisis has unfolded. The aim of the series is to open up new perspectives on how the humanities and the social sciences do, or don’t, help us develop our own moral and ethical vocabularies. Implicit in these conversations would be how we, as scholars and teachers, do or don’t include moral and ethical concerns in our teaching and—no less important—how these concerns might be placed in dialogue with the political emphases that have guided much of our work in the past few decades as a way of reaffirming the dynamism and importance of humanistic study for the larger social fabric... (more)
Grad Spotlight: Simone Stirner

Simone Stirner, PhD candidate in Comparative Literature with designated emphases in Critical Theory and Jewish Studies, talks to us about her work on the "poetics of attentiveness" in the work of Paul Celan, Dan Pagis, and Charlotte Delbo.
New Directions in Theology Fellowships: A Reflection by Bernardo S. Hinojosa

Collaborative exploration. Theoretical bridges between fields. Faculty mentorship. Interdisciplinary thought partners. All part of the New Directions experience according to Bernardo S. Hinojosa, PhD student in English and Medieval Studies.
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BCSR advances critical and creative scholarship on #ReligionInTheWorld

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Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion · 440 Stephens Hall, MC 2340 · UC Berkeley · Berkeley, Ca 94720 · USA