Sacred Texts? Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur’an in Jewish Research of the 19th Century and Beyond

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 10:00am - 6:00pm
Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

A full-day workshop: "Sacred Texts? Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur’an in Jewish Research of the 19th Century and Beyond"

Judaism is a religion founded on sacred texts, and the understanding of those texts underwent a revolutionary transformation in the nineteenth century with the rise of academic critical study. How did the rise of academic Jewish studies impact Jews’ relationship to their sacred texts? What did Jewish scholars contribute to the study of other sacred texts, the New Testament or Qur’an, and what, if anything, was distinctively Jewish about their approach? How did the idea of sacred texts change in this period, and what new texts were added to the Jewish "canon" as a result of academic scholarship? This day-long conference will draw on fellows and invited scholars to explore these questions and more.

Seating is limited and meals will be provided; an RSVP is required.

Please register with Carrie Love ( by December 3rd.


10:30 am  Opening Remarks

Steven Weitzman, Ella Darivoff Director, Katz Center

Katalin Franciska Rac, University of Florida/Katz Center


10:45 am  Hebrew Bible

Chair: Isabel Cranz, University of Pennsylvania


The Biblical Orient according to Samson Raphael Hirsch

Michah Gottlieb, New York University


Re-writing the Hebrew Bible for Jewish Children:

Isaak Markus Jost’s New Children's Bible and Its Context

Dorothea M. Salzer, University of Potsdam/Katz Center


Reclaiming the Apocrypha as Jewish Texts

Chanan Gafni, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev & The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Katz Center


12:30 pm Lunch


1:30 pm  New Testament

Chair: Robert A. Kraft, University of Pennsylvania


Revising the Jesus Question: What Changed in the 1860s

Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College/Katz Center


Jewish Research on Christianity in America:

Isaac Mayer Wise's The Origin of Christianity (1868) 

Stefan Schorch, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg/Katz Center


2:45 pm  Qur’an

Chair: Joseph E. Lowry, University of Pennsylvania


Jews Translating the Qur’an

Hanan Harif, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Katz Center


Hartwig Hirschfeld: Qur’anic Studies 

between German and English in the Wissenschaft des Judentums

Walid A. Saleh, University of Toronto


4:00 pm Coffee break


4:30 pm Reading and Transforming Sacred Texts 

Chair: Steven Weitzman, Katz Center


Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College/Katz Center

Ismar Schorsch, The Jewish Theological Seminary/Katz Center


5:30 pm Dinner (RSVP required)


For more information visit our website

or call  215-238-1290

Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax /