Community Scholar Program (CSP) One Month Scholar, Professor David Ruderman
In Search of Saviours: The Messianic Impulse in Jewish History and its Consequences:
The Messiah and the Modern Jewish Experience: Reform Judaism, Socialism, and Zionism
Among Judaism’s foundational ideas is the notion of a messiah, a messianic age, and a final denouement of history culminating in a perfect world of harmony and peace. The idea has served both to inspire Jews that despite hardships in their collective past, there was a bright future waiting for them on the horizon. At the same time the messianic idea was also unsettling and destabilizing, assuming a quick and unnatural disruption of their normative Jewish life in Israel and the diaspora. My three talks will discuss the history of Jewish messianic ideas and messianism from antiquity until the present, considering especially the infamous Shabbetai Zevi, the seventeenth century messianic mystic and his movement. It will also consider the secularized versions of messianism in the modern era as well as contemporary manifestations of messianic behavior in modern Israel and among diaspora Jewry.
Sponsor: Community Scholar Program (CSP)