Shaye J. D. Cohen, "On the Humanity of Gentiles and Women: the Meanings of adam in Rabbinic Texts"

Roz and Ralph Halbert Endowment in Jewish Studies

The Mishnah, the foundational document of rabbinic Judaism, regularly uses the term adam “person” as the subject of its sentences. But it is clear that these passages have in mind not just any person but specifically the free adult Israelite male, in other words a Jew. In some passages it is possible that the Mishnah chose the locution adam because it wanted to include women and gentiles, but these passages are not numerous and in any case require interpretation. The larger question is whether this usage of adam reflects rabbinic anthropology or is simply a function of rabbinic style. 

Shaye J. D. Cohen is the Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of Harvard University.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration required. Limited seating.

Presented by the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

Date & Time
Monday, March 14, 2016 - 4:00pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street