2021 Spring Shapiro Lecture with Dr. Christine Hayes
05 May 2021

Divine Contingency: Law, history, performance, and play

In late antiquity, the talmudic conception of divine law as a contingent and dynamic phenomenon unfolding in historical time stood in stark contrast to a prevailing and largely Stoic and later Christian conception of divine law as an absolute and immutable logos transcending historical time.  This lecture applies insights from performance studies, as well as theories of humor and play, to illuminate the rabbis’ counter-cultural construction of a historically embedded divine law.