Till Death Do Us Part: Family Life and the Afterlife in Jewish Thought
Hosted By: Valley Beit Midrash
Watch the recording of this class here:
“The family that prays together,” the famous adage goes, “stays together.” Indeed, many people of faith take for granted that religious observance strengthens spousal, parental, and inter-generational relationships. But to pre-modern Jewish theologians, it was far from obvious that the family was a religiously meaningful institution. Biblical interpreters, mystics, and moralists questioned whether bonds between husbands and wives, or even parents and children, were strictly human constructs, conventional means of structuring the social order–or whether they reflected underlying, preexisting, enduring spiritual realities.
This lecture will explore the ways in which medieval Jews used eschatological theology (speculation about the afterlife and the apocalypse) as a means of thinking through the theological underpinnings of familial relationships. As you shall see, these medieval theological debates have had lasting, and surprising, implications for the development of Jewish liturgy and rituals.
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