keynote speakers & concerts
Does Science Contradict Religion? Two Approaches to the Study of Science and Kabbalah in Renaissance Venice with Fabrizio Lelli (Visiting scholar from the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies)
Wednesday, March 5
The first ghetto on European soil was instituted in Venice in 1516 to restrict Jewish life to a confined space. Despite this confinement, the Jewish ghetto of Venice became a creative intellectual community and one of the hallmarks of the early modern period. Grounding their knowledge in both traditional Jewish sources and in the contemporary achievements of Renaissance thought, Jewish Venetian scholars created new modes for interpreting their own identity that paved the way to an early modern self-understanding of the Italian Jews that distinguished them from medieval Jews. Dr. Fabrizio Lelli will introduce the work of two Jewish scholars who exemplify life within the confinement of the ghetto: Abraham De Balmes and Elijah Menahem Halfan. In particular, Dr. Lelli will focus on the different approaches these two Jewish scholars took to the study of science and Kabbalah.
Fabrizio Lelli is Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy). His research focuses on the philosophical and mystical literature of late Medieval and Early Modern Italian Jewish authors and on the intellectual relations between Jewish and Christian scholars in the Italian Renaissance. Recently, Lelli has been researching the works of Elijah Menahem Halfan, a 16th-century Venetian Kabbalist. This year at Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Lelli will continue to explore the life of Halfan in his study of the changing borders of intellectual freedom among 16th-Century Venetian Jewish scholars.