Speakers Bureau

Dr. Burton L. Visotzky

Title: Nathan and Janet Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies
Department: Talmud and Rabbinics

Burton L. Visotzky is Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he joined the faculty upon his ordination as rabbi in 1977. His articles and reviews have been published in America, Europe, and Israel. With Bill Moyers, Dr. Visotzky developed ten hours of television for PBS on the book of Genesis, serving as consultant and featured on-screen participant. The series, Genesis:A Living Conversation, premiered in October 1996. Dr.Visotzky was also a consultant to Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks SKG for their 1998 film, Prince of Egypt.

Dr. Visotzky is active as a lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. His study groups and books have been hailed on radio, television, and in print. He has been named to "The Forward 50" and repeatedly to the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of "The 50 Most Influential Jewish in America."


1. Engaging the Other: Christianity and Islam in the 21st Century (6 Lectures)

  1. From Cairo to Qatar, Oman and Beyond: Recent Developments in Jewish-Muslim Interreligious Engagement 
  2. "And then I told the Pope . . . ." New Insights into Catholic-Jewish Relations (from my tenure as a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2007 and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 2014 and in teh U.S.), covers both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis
  3. The Rabbi's Guide to Christianity from the New Testament to Now 
  4. When religions Teach Hate - Fundamentalism and Exclusivism among the Abrahamic Religions
  5. Isaac Unbound - Three Religions Read the Akedah
  6. Islam for Beginners: An Introduction to Quean, Hadith, and Basic Islamic Principles

2. Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (3 Lectures)

  1. Scripture and Its Interpretation
  2. Word of God or Hand of Moses?
  3. Rabbis as Readers: the Continuing Revelation

3. The Genesis of Ethics - Bible Study and Moral Development 

  1. The Dysfunctional Family as Moral Exemplar
  2. Genesis Twelve - Moral Dilemma or National Leadership?
  3. Genesis 18:16-19:38 - The Sins of Sodom are not what you think 
  4. Jacob does lunch - Jacob and Esau, Jacob and Isaac, deception as a family value

4. Four Stories on Death: A Theodicy of Consolation (4 Lectures)

  1. Moses: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
  2. Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Joshua: Survivor's Guilt
  3. Elisha ben Abuya: Reconciling a Difficult Life
  4. Meir's Sons: The Gift of Life

5. In Preparation For Passover (4 Lectures)

  1. Seder and Symposium: the Greco-Roman Background of the Haggadah
  2. Tidbits for Your Seder: Legends NOT in the Haggadah
  3. Haggadah Text Study: Why Is This Night Different?
  4. How to Have a Successful Seder

6. Sibling Rivalries: Judaism and Christianity in their Formative Years (4 Lectures)

  1. Name Calling and Mud Slinging in Late Antiquity
  2. Revelation and Interpretation in Church and Synagogue
  3. Conversions from Paganism among the good Ol' Boys
  4. Mortal Sins and Peccadilloes among Christians and Jews

7. The Road to Redemption: Ancient and Modern Readings of Exodus (4 Lectures)

  1. Moses On the Mountain Top: Reckoning a Life
  2. Stranger and Stranger in a Strange Land: Exile and Otherness in Jewish Identity
  3. You Will Return to This Mountain: From Kvetching to Covenantal Community: Group Text Study
  4. Exodus: The Conversation Continues: Group Study

8. Miscellaneous Topics (7 separate Lectures)

  1. God's Body: How We Envision God
  2. Architecture of the Universe: Blueprints for Life
  3. Foundations of Rabbinic Literature: How the Mishnah Happened
  4. Eretz Yisrael: The Holy Land in the Mind of the Ancient Rabbis
  5. Midrash, the Mediterranean, and the Medieval World: the Setting to and Readings from Visotzky's novel, A Delightful Compendium of Consolation
  6. Sage Tales or "I Was a Spy for God": Rabbinic story-telling and what is still can teach us (from Vistzky's 2011 book)
  7. When In Rome ...Roman culture and the Invention of Judaism (the book Prof. Visotzky just completed)

Any individual lecture of the 36 listed above stands on its own.

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