JTS Scholar to Discuss New Book Illuminating Pilgrimage of Beloved Hebrew Poet

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

February 8, 2008, New York, NY

Dr. Raymond Scheindlin, professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary, will discuss his new book, The Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi's Pilgrimage (Oxford University Press) at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 25 at JTS, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), New York City. Dr. Scheindlin is also the director of JTS's Shalom Spiegel Institute of Medieval Hebrew Poetry.

Sponsored by The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, the event is part of a series of book talks by JTS faculty moderated by Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics.

In The Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi's Pilgrimage, Dr. Scheindlin tells the story of Halevi's journey using recently discovered letters of the age, and his ever-popular poetry. In this, the only English-language book on the subject, he explores the inner meaning of Halevi's work through discussions of his stirring poetry, presented in new verse translations with full commentary. Touching on literature, religion, and history, the book provides a thorough introduction to Judeo-Arabic culture as well as a close look at one of the most commanding personalities of the period—a doctor, theologian, communal leader, and, above all, a poet—and at one of the best-documented episodes in medieval Jewish religious history.

Dr. Scheindlin's main field of research is the encounter of Hebrew and Arabic cultures in Spain, especially as embodied in the poetry of the two traditions. His books on medieval Hebrew poetry—Wine, Women, and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life (1986), dealing with secular poetry; and The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel, and the Soul (1991), dealing with religious poetry—reflect both the academic and the literary aspects of his career. His most recent books are the widely-used textbook, A Short History of the Jewish People (1998) and The Literature of Al-Andalus (2000), a volume in the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature series of which he was a co-editor. He also authored a reference book entitled 201 Arabic Verbs that is widely used by students; an expanded version entitled 501 Arabic Verbs appeared in 2007.

A Guggenheim Fellow in 1988 and a fellow of the Dorothy and Lewis Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Pubic Library in 2005-2006, Dr. Scheindlin is a fellow and a member of the executive board of the American Academy of Jewish Research, and a member of the editorial boards of several academic journals. In 2004 he received the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

The series continues on Monday, March 31 with Dr. Burton Visotzky, Nathan and Janet Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, who will discuss his first novel, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation: A Fabulous Tale of Romance, Adventure, and Faith in the Medieval Mediterranean.

Copies of The Song of the Distant Dove will be available for purchase. The book may also be purchased by visiting www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780195315424.

The book talk is open to the community at no charge; reservations are required. For further information and to RSVP, please contact Hector Guzman at (212) 678-8075.

Editors/Reporters: To schedule an interview with Dr. Scheindlin, please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678-8953.