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Jewish-Christian Encounters in Early Modern Europe
Picture: Abraham Yagel's work from 1679 in Hebrew and Latin translation / NLI Collections: NNL_ALEPH001096612/NLI

Jewish-Christian Encounters in Early Modern Europe

Prof. David B. Ruderman

Jewish-Christian Encounters in Early Modern Europe

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About the lecture:

Jewish-Christian Encounters in Early Modern Europe: Three Case Studies

Revisiting several of my earlier books, I describe three special moments of interaction between Jews and Christians in the early modern period. I look first at a Jewish catechism copied from the standard Catholic version published in Hebrew in the sixteenth century by the Italian Jew Abraham Yagel. I then consider the publication of the Latin edition of the Mishnah by the Hebraist Wilhelm Surenhusius in the late seventeenth century and the subsequent English partial translation that followed, spurring what one might call a new era of Christian rabbinism. Finally, I look at a special essay of a Polish Jew Pinhas Hurwitz advocating love between Jews and all peoples, especially Christians from the 18th century.

David B. Ruderman, the Joseph Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History emeritus and was formally Ella Darivoff Director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania from 1994-2014

Prior to coming to Pennsylvania, he taught at the University of Maryland [1974-83] and at Yale University [1983-94]. He is the author of many books and articles including The World of a Renaissance Jew, 1981; Kabbalah, Magic, and Science, 1988; A Valley of Vision, 1990; Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe, 1995, 2001 (published also in Italian, Hebrew, and Russian); Jewish Enlightenment in an English Key: Anglo-Jewry’s Construction of Modern Jewish Thought, 2000; Connecting the Covenants: Judaism and the Search for Christian Identity in Eighteenth Century England, 2007; and Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History, 2010. Three of these books, including the last, won national book awards in Jewish history. He has also edited or co-edited five other books and co-edited two popular textbooks. His most recent books, A Best-Selling Hebrew Book of the Modern Era: The Book of the Covenant of Pinḥas Hurwitz and its Remarkable Legacy appeared in 2014, and Missionaries, Converts and Rabbis in 2020. He is a past president of the American Academy for Jewish Research. The Great Courses/Teaching Company has produced two of his Jewish history courses, each in 24 lectures. In 2001, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture honored him with its lifetime achievement award for his work in Jewish history. In 2014, his colleagues presented him with a festschrift titled Jewish Culture in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of David B. Ruderman, eds. Richard Cohen, Natalie Dohrmann, Adam Shear, and Elhanan Reiner (Pittsburgh, 2014).


The lecture is a part of

Jews and Christians through the Centuries: Communities in Conflict and Contact

A Series from the National Library of Israel

The relations between Jews and Christians through the ages have often been fraught, in part because they share some common scripture, but often interpret it very differently. In this series, we will examine the interaction between these communities, which has varied over time and place. The series address a sensitive yet vital set of issues from a variety of approaches and perspectives, and contributes to the hope that we may move from polemic toward reconciliation.

The series was created by the National Library of Israel in collaboration with Prof. Marc Brettler (Duke University), who will be moderating each lecture and Q&A session.

Moderator: Marc Brettler, the Bernice and Morton Lerner Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University.

A graduate of Brandeis University, he has published and lectured widely on metaphor and the Bible, the nature of biblical historical texts, gender issues and the Bible, and the use of the Hebrew Bible in the New Testament. His How to Read the Bible was the award winner in the Judaism category of the Best Books 2006 Book Awards. He is co-editor with Amy-Jill Levine of The Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford University Press), the first book of its type; professors Brettler and Levine presented this book to Pope Francis in 2019. In 2017 and 2021, he was one of 100 scholars and leaders asked to participate in the “American Values Religious Voices” project.

Sunday, 16 January, 8 pm Israel / 7 pm CET / 6 pm UK / 1 pm EST



Sunday January 16th 14 Shevat 08:00 - 09:00


Prof. David B. Ruderman


Online Zoom Event Map

For whom?

General public, Researchers





Picture: Abraham Yagel's work from 1679 in Hebrew and Latin translation / NLI Collections: NNL_ALEPH001096612/NLI