2018 Week of Jewish Philosophy

Is Messianic Hope Worthwhile?:
The Case of Jacob Taubes

Colloquium with Professor Martin Kavka

2018 Week of Jewish Philosophy – Religion and Messianism

Thursday, April 26, 2018 | 11:30AM - 1:00PM
University of Colorado Boulder Campus

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to CUJewishStudies@colorado.edu for pre-circulated reading and location information.


One needs only to go to a news website—any news website—to tap into hope for something better. In the language of the Jewish and Christian traditions, this hope has often been expressed as a hope for redemption, as a specifically messianic hope. The mid-twentieth century saw a debate about whether such hope was worthwhile, with the influential historian of Jewish mysticism Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) arguing for a cautious embrace of messianism as a historical force, and his erstwhile friend Jacob Taubes (1923–1987), one of the post-Holocaust era’s most controversial and notorious rabbis, arguing against this attitude. This seminar will assess Taubes's response to Scholem, and its implicit charge that Judaism should be more like Christianity.

Professor Kavka's visit marks the fourth annual Week of Jewish Philosophy, a joint initiative presented by DU's Center for Judaic Studies and CU's Program in Jewish Studies.

About Martin Kavka

Professo Martin KavkaMartin Kavka is Professor of Religion at Florida State University, where he teaches courses in Jewish studies and the philosophy of religion. He is the author of Jewish Messianism and the History of Philosophy (Cambridge University Press), which was awarded the first Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Philosophy and Jewish Thought by the Association for Jewish Studies (2008), and the co-editor of five books, including Judaism, Liberalism, and Political Theology (Indiana University Press), as well as the co-editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics.

These events are hosted by CU Boulder's Program in Jewish Studies and DU's Center for Judaic Studies and are generously supported by CU's Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures and Department of Religious Studies.


2018 Week of Jewish Philosophy Events

In addition to the colloquium held at CU Boulder, Professor Kavka will present two events at the University of Denver. Please click on each title below for more details.

Lecture with Gabriella Safran

The Sound of the Jewish Voice and the Russian Revolution

Lecture with Professor Gabriella Safran

Friday, April 27, 2018 | 5:00PM
Eaton Humanities, 135 | CU Boulder campus


How did the past sound? How do speech styles take on social meanings? In what ways did Russian Jewish voices sound louder in the years immediately after the 1917 revolutions than they had before? This talk, Gabriella Safran, Professor of Jewish and Russian Studies at Stanford University, will draw on texts and methodologies from linguistic anthropology, history, and literature to answer these puzzling questions.

Gabriella Safran has written on Russian, Polish, Yiddish, and French literatures and cultures. Her most recent monograph, Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk's Creator, S. An-sky (Harvard, 2010), is a biography of an early-twentieth-century Russian-Yiddish writer who was also an ethnographer, a revolutionary, and a wartime relief worker. 

Safran teaches and writes on Russian literature, Yiddish literature, folklore, and folkloristics. She is now working on two monograph projects: one on how people in the Russian Empire listened across social lines, recorded and imitated others’ voices in various media, and reflected on listening and vocal imitation, from the 1830s to the 1880s, and the other on the international pre-history of the Jewish joke. 

Professor Catlos Launches New Book

Book Launch for Kingdoms of Faith. A New History of Islamic Spain by Professor Brian Catlos

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Tattered Cover Book Store, Aspen Grove | 7301 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO 80120​

View the Tattered Cover's event calendar here.


Brian A. Catlos, Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies and Director of the CU Mediterranean Studies Group, will host a book launch at the Tattered Cover in Littleton, CO for his newest book Kingdoms of Faith. A New History of Islamic Spain.

The book launch will include a 40-minute presentation on “Islamic Spain and the History of the West,” followed by a Q&A and book signing.

About Kingdoms of Faith

A magisterial, myth-dispelling history of Islamic Spain spanning the millennium between the founding of Islam in the seventh century and the final expulsion of Spain's Muslims in the seventeenth In Kingdoms of Faith, award-winning historian Brian A. Catlos rewrites the history of Islamic Spain from the ground up, evoking the cultural splendor of al-Andalus, while offering an authoritative new interpretation of the forces that shaped it. Prior accounts have portrayed Islamic Spain as a paradise of enlightened tolerance or the site where civilizations clashed. Catlos taps a wide array of primary sources to paint a more complex portrait, showing how Muslims, Christians, and Jews together built a sophisticated civilization that transformed the Western world, even as they waged relentless war against each other and their coreligionists. Religion was often the language of conflict, but seldom its cause–a lesson we would do well to learn in our own time.

This event is hosted by the Tattered Cover Book Store, Aspen Grove location in Littleton, CO. Please contact them with any questions. 

Archive Transformed

The University of Colorado's Department of Religious Studies, CU Libraries and Archives, CU Art Museum, Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHA), Center for Western Civilization, Thought, and Policy (CWCTP), along with the Louis P. Singer Fund for Jewish History and several departments is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Archive Transformed: A CU Boulder Artist/Scholar Collaborative Residency

This residency is the first of its kind that brings together artists and scholars to take archival material, broadly conceived, and transform or re-imagine it to create new knowledge. The opening night event, Art is My Weapon: The Radical Musical Life of Lin Jaldati, gave birth to the residency. 


Art is My Weapon: The Radical Musical Life of Lin Jaldati 

with Jewlia Eisenberg and David Shneer

Sunday, May 13, 2018 | 7:00PM
Old Main Theater, CU Boulder Campus

Jewlia Eisenberg and David ShneerIn 1934, at 22 years of age and one year after Hitler came to power in Nazi Germany, Lin Jaldati, the stage name for Rebekka Brilleslijper, gave her first performance of Yiddish song and dance for the immigrant Jewish community of her native Amsterdam. In 1988, one year before the Berlin Wall fell, she gave her final concert in that city divided by the Cold War as part of East Germany’s new avant-garde festival, The Days of Yiddish Culture. Two parts passionate music, one part stunning images, one part inspiring story, Lin Jaldati: Art is My Weapon tells the life and work of this remarkable woman. 

RSVP to Art is My Weapon Preview the Performance


Archive Transformed

Collaborative Residency Between Artists and Scholars

Thursday, May 17, 2018 | 6:00PM
Boulder Public Library | 1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302

No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers
Gesel Mason (Assistant Professor of Dance and Artistic Director of Gesel Mason Performance Projects), Daniel Beahm (Digabyte Production Company), Dr. Marcos Steuernagel (Department of Theatre & Dance, University of Colorado Boulder), and Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (Theatre and Film Studies and the Institute for African American Studies, University of Georgia) to work on a project which aims to perform, document, preserve, and disseminate dances by 10 prominent and influential African American choreographers digitally.

LA Archivera: The Sonic Archive of Emily Sene
Jewlia Eisenberg and Jeremiah Lockwood are both scholars and musicians who will work with LA Archivera, an archive containing music from Jewish immigrants from Turkey in Los Angeles, collected by Emily Sene. The archive documents and illuminates the experience of Sephardic Jewish immigrants to California through music. 

The Beregovski Archive
Alicia Svigals, internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist and composer, and Yonatan Malin, Associate Professor of Music Theory and Jewish Studies at CU Boulder, will utilize the recordings and transcriptions of M. Beregovski, made in Ukraine from 1929-1949, in an effort to understand the music of Jewish Eastern Europ in the centuries leading up to Word War II.

America’s Chosen Spirit
University of Kentucky Associate Professor Janice Fernheimer and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator JT Waldman are working to build a transmedia project that raises awareness of the longtime presence and participation of outsiders like women, Jews, African Americans, and immigrants in the development of Kentucky’s bourbon heritage. 

RSVP to Archive Transformed

These events are hosted by the Department of Religious Studies at CU Boulder. Please contact them with any questions.