Shoshana Shier Lecture Series: Marc Epstein, "Jews and Art: The Uneasy Relationship"

Lecture 1: "How Jews Made Art in spite of the Second Commandment—and Why it Matters"

What is "Jewish art"? Is it just a pretty ornament for the more important aspects of culture and history? A footnote? An afterthought? Why is it important? We will explore the parameters of image-making within Jewish law, interrogate the difference between Jewish "art," "visual culture" and "material culture," and take us on a whirlwind tour of the Jewish relationship with the visual, asking the question "what can we say about Jewish art that is different than what is usually said about it?" We will learn how Jewish art, rather than encapsulating a particular aesthetic alone, can reveal the often hidden and occasionally subversive sentiments of its patrons and audiences throughout history.

Marc Epstein is a Professor of Religion at Vassar College. Visit his website.

Date & Time
Monday, September 22, 2014 - 4:00pm

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