"A Stranger to My Brothers": Who and What were Apostates in Ancient Judaism
Taught by Avraham Yoskovich, Jerome and Lorraine Aresty Visiting Scholar
This course traces the footsteps of people who were considered apostates—those who renounced their religious beliefs or principles--in Rabbinic and other Jewish literature. Who were they? What did they do to earn this title and what was its meaning? Did they, in fact, exist?
The course will examine sources from the first millennium until the year 1000 CE that shed light on the reality and mythology of apostates as well as the communal effect on the changing nature of this designation.
Avraham Yoskovich is a scholar of Talmudic literature, Babylonian Geonic literature of the early-Islamic period, and the history of late antiquity. His interests include apostasy in late antiquity, interreligious interactions, and the history of Jewish law. He has been a post-doctoral fellow in the Literary Lab of the Department of Hebrew Literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as well as a researcher for ALMA (An Open Atlas of the Jewish World in Antiquity), a project of the digital humanities laboratory in the Department of Israeli History at the University of Haifa. He also leads tours in Israel, which focus on Israeli history and culture.