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Secrets of the Bible Revealed, Part 5: Deuteronomy / D’varim: Creating Israelite Religion

Hosted By: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)

What’s the difference between history and historiography? Between reality and religion? In Moses’ last words to the Israelites, he recounts the long history of the people in a manner that orients their consciousness (or perhaps brainwashes them) into understanding the events of their history—events that, in the original telling, simply occurred—as filled with theological import. In doing so, he creates a religion, and we, the readers of the Book of Deuteronomy, are treated to a rare opportunity to glimpse the methods and motivation of the “man behind the curtain,” and to see how such a thing is done.

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Teacher

Marc Michael Epstein

Marc Michael Epstein is the product of a mixed marriage between the scions of Slonimer and Lubavitcher Hassidim and Romanian socialists, and grew up, rather confused, but happy, in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently Professor of Religion at Vassar College, where he has been teaching since 1992, and was the first Director of Jewish Studies. At Vassar, he teaches courses on medieval Christianity, religion, arts and politics, and Jewish texts and sources. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written numerous articles and three books on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews.
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