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USF to host lecture on Judaism

TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanities Institute and the Departments of Religious Studies and Philosophy will present the third June Baumgardner Gelbart Lecture in Jewish Studies. “Is Judaism Really Monotheistic? A Maimonidean Inquiry” will be presented by Kenneth Seeeskin, professor of philosophy, Northwestern University. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in the Campus View Room at the Interdisciplinary Science Teaching and Research Facility (ISA) on the seventh floor.

Seeskin is one of the foremost scholars of Moses Maimonides, the 12th century Andalusian legal thinker and philosopher who became the head of the Jewish community in Egypt and a prominent court physician. Maimonides argues that all of the commandments in the Torah are means to a single end: acceptance of monotheism. Are we sure we know what monotheism is? Seeskin will argue that belief in one God is NOT sufficient. The question then become: What else is required? How does Judaism ask its practitioners to think about God? The answer may surprise you.

Seeskin is the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor of Jewish civilization at Northwestern University, where he taught for 40 years. His many publications include: “Jewish Messianic Thoughts in an Age of Despair” (Cambridge, 2011), “Searching for a Distant God: The Legacy of Maimonides” (Oxford, 2001. Winner: Koret Jewish Book Award), and “Jewish Philosophy in a Secular Age” (SUNY, 1990). He is the co-editor of “Cambridge Guide to Jewish History Culture, and Religion” (Cambridge, 2010.Winner: Natonal Jewish Book Award) and the editor of “Cambridge Companion to Maimonides” (Cambridge, 2005).

This lecture is made possible by a generous grant from the June Baumgardner Gelbart Foundation. A Tampa Bay area philanthropist and patron of the arts, Gelbart was active in the local Jewish community and committed to programs serving Jewish youth. The Foundation continues June Baumgarner Gelbart’s philanthropic legacy.

The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session. This presentation is free and open to USF students, faculty and stuff, and to the general public.

The University of South Florida is located at 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33620. To get to the ISA building, take Leroy Collins Boulevard entrance from East Fowler Avenue into the campus. The ISA building is located northwest of the road’s end, at the intersection of USF Cherry Drive. Parking is available in lots 2A or 2B.

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Author: Special to CAS