Faculty Seminars & Lectures

Rethinking Tradition in the Middle East: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives

Herman SeminarMarc Herman
Aresty Visiting Scholar, The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

In the tenth-century middle east, two scriptural religions developed—for the first time—theoretical perspectives on the late antique legal traditions that they had inherited. Written in Arabic, these novel sacred histories penned by Muslim and Jewish theologian-jurists sought to clarify their religious legal systems and to resolve conflicting and discursive legal sources. Reading Muslim and Jewish sources in concert calls attention to the commonalities of these two communities' jurisprudence, illustrating that despite the theological competition between their two religions, the authors shared common epistemologies of revealed law.

Respondent: Professor Paola Tartakoff, Departments of Jewish Studies and History, Rutgers University


Marc HermanMarc D. Herman, the Aresty Visiting Scholar for the fall 2020 semester, earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania and has held post-doctoral research fellowships at Columbia University, Fordham University, the University of Michigan’s Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, and Yale Law School’s Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilizations. His research explores the ways in which medieval Jews deployed Islamic legal theory when writing about the Oral Torah, and his articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the Jewish Quarterly ReviewJournal of the American Oriental Society, and Association for Jewish Studies Review. He is coeditor of a forthcoming volume, Accounting for the Commandments in Medieval Judaism: Studies in Law, Philosophy, Pietism, and Kabbalah, and he is currently writing his first monograph, Imagining Revelation: Medieval Jewish Presentations of the Oral Torah in an Islamic Key, for the Jewish Culture and Contexts series of the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Watch recording of seminar

Residue of Holiness: Garbage Disposal in the Temple and the Tannaitic Hermeneutic

Elijah on Mt Carmel

Dr. Hillel Mali
Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow, Gruss Scholar in Residence at NYU School of Law

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Sacred space is usually characterized by the assignment of a specific cultic task to each individual person, vessel, and material. But even the most splendid temples produce waste products, residue of sacred material cast aside without use. This webinar will discuss the practicalities of the treatment of sacred waste, the theological principles underlying them, and the surprising connections between hermeneutic and ritual.

Respondent: Professor Azzan Yadin-Israel, Departments of Jewish Studies and Classics, Rutgers University


Mali HillelHillel Mali is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow serving as Gruss Scholar in Residence at NYU School of Law, where he conducts his research project titled “From Priestly Literature to the Order of Holy Things: The Relationship between Ritual and Law.” He completed his PhD: "Descriptions of the Temple in the Mishna: History, Redaction and Meaning", under the supervision of the late Professor Aharon Shemesh. He joined a research group led by Dr. Naphtali Meshel, "Thinking Rite: A New and Ancient Science of Ritual" at The Hebrew University, focusing on new comparative models for the analysis of ritual systems.

Hillel is the recipient of the President's Scholarship for Outstanding Doctoral Students (2014-2018), Nathan Rotenstreich Scholarship for Outstanding Graduate Students (2016-2018), the Orion Center Research Scholarship (2018), and Riklis Prize for Academic Excellence in Jewish Studies (2018).

In addition, Hillel is a musician, he Established the "Nigun Yerushalmi" ensemble – this group performs old Jerusalemite Music played on antique instruments. The Ensemble produced two albums and has had hundreds of performances in Israel and abroad seeking to excavate old layers of sound that in turn becomes a meeting between ages, religions and beliefs.