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Facing the Omnipotence and Shaping the Sceptical Topos
Reuven Kiperwasser
18.04.2016
Expressions of Sceptical Topoi in (Late) Ancient Judaism(SoSe 16)

Scepticism has been a driving force in the development of cultures of the past and the impetus for far-reaching scientific achievements and philosophical investigations. Sceptical ideas were shaped in the works of Greek and Roman thinkers of the past, leaving us numerous literary monuments. Early Jewish culture, in contrast to Graeco-Roman culture, has avoided creating consistent representations of this doctrine.

However, Judaism of the first centuries was characterized by persistent intellectual activity, whose literary fruits are works devoted to oral law, religious norms and regulations, Bible exegesis and other traditional areas of Jewish knowledge. To detect sceptical ideas in ancient Judaism requires a closer analysis of its literary heritage and cultural context.

The aim of this workshop is to discuss elements of sceptical thought in Ancient and Late Ancient Judaism through a new analysis of relevant texts. Participants will discuss a wide spectrum of texts: Jewish writings of the Second Temple period, Rabbinic literature, Magical texts, as well as reflections of Jewish thought in Early Christian and Patristic writings.

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