Jewish-Christian Dialogues on Scripture in Late Antiquity: Heretics Narratives of the Babylonian Talmud?

Prof. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Associate Professor in Judaic Studies at Yale University and Yale Divinity School

Abstract: Stories portraying heretics (minim) in rabbinic literature are a central site of rabbinic engagement with the “other.” These stories typically portray interactions between a rabbinic figure and a min and frequently involve a conflict surrounding the interpretation of a biblical verse. My talk focuses on minim narratives in the Babylonian Talmud, in which we can more safely conclude that the min figure is meant to be understood in light of a Christian context. It  adds to our growing understanding of the complex relationship between Jews and Christians as presented in the Babylonian Talmud. As a result, it offers a new insight into the bigger question of the “parting of the ways” between Jews and Christians in the first centuries CE and the level of literary interaction between both religious groups.

Dr. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal holds the Rosen Family Career Development Chair in Judaic Studies in the Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, at the rank of Senior Lecturer (= Associate Professor in Canada). She holds a PhD in Judaic Studies and Religious Studies from Yale University and was a Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University. During 2017–18, she is the Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Associate Professor in Judaic Studies at Yale University and Yale Divinity School. She has also been elected to the Israel Young Academy of Sciences. Dr. Bar-Asher Siegel’s research focuses on Jewish-Christian interactions in the ancient world. Her first book, Early Christian Monastic Literature and the Babylonian Talmud (Cambridge University Press, 2013) won the 2014 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award (= The John Templeton Award) for Theological Promise Award. Her second book, Jewish-Christian Dialogues on Scripture in Late Antiquity: Heretics Narratives of the Babylonian Talmud, is in press with Cambridge University Press. She has co-edited two volumes and has nearly 40 additional publications to her credit. http://www.bgu.ac.il/~bsmichal/   https://bgu.academia.edu/MichalBarAsherSiegal