C of I to host two Judaic studies scholars

Last spring, C of I Judaic studies Professor Federica Francesconi received a research grant from the American Association for Jewish Research for the project “Jews, Gender, and the Premodern Mediterranean: Building a Pacific Northwest Network.”  Now, those grant funds will be used to bring Oregon State University Professors Kevin Osterloh and Rena Lauer to campus as part of the C of I’s Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Lectureship in Judaic Studies.

On March 27, Osterloh will give a 7 p.m. public lecture titled “Making Jewish Men in the Image of Rome: Gender and Identity in the Hellenistic Mediterranean” in room 106 of the Kathryn Albertson International Center. Osterloh, Lauer and Francesconi also will lead an afternoon seminar titled “Gendering Social Anxiety: Jewish Women and the Rabbinic Imagination in Late Medieval Venetian Crete.” The seminar is open to C of I students and faculty at noon in Sterry Hall Board Room.

Lauer, who co-authored the grant-winning project with Fracesconi, also will teach the course “Women and Gender in Jewish Societies” at 2:40 p.m. March 28 in room 315 of Strahorn Hall. The class is open to all C of I students majoring or minoring in history or religious studies.

Dr. Lauer studies minority life on the borders of medieval Christendom and cross-cultural contacts in the late medieval Mediterranean as an assistant professor of history at Oregon State. Her current book project is a social history of the Jews of Venetian Crete in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly through the lens of intra-Jewish litigation in the Venetian secular courtroom.

Dr. Osterloh specializes in ancient Judaica and the society and politics of the Greco-Roman world as an assistant professor of history at OSU. His book Virtuous Sons of Abraham: Judean Identity in a Hellenistic World under Rome focuses on the reinvention of Jewish identity and ethnicity in the second-century BCE amidst a complex, triangulated conversation between Jews, Greeks and Romans.

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Lectureship in Judaic Studies brings dignitaries, scholars and public figures to campus to speak about Jewish religion, interfaith dialogue, culture, history, arts and current events. It is part of the College’s Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies, which was created to promote greater understanding of Jewish traditions, culture and philosophy in Idaho and the West.

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