The Jews have one of the best-known origin stories in the world, tracing their ancestry back to the Bible, but for more than a century, scholars have questioned the traditional account, coming up with various alternative theories to account for the Jews’ emergence. When exactly did they appear? Under what circumstances? And why do historians understand their origins in such different ways?
This talk will address these questions by exploring some of the latest research bearing on the origin of the Jews, moving from the Bible to 21st century biology. Along the way, it will discuss Stanford University’s distinctive contribution to the quest to understand where and from whom the Jews descend.
Prof. Weitzman specializes in the Hebrew Bible and the origins of Jewish Culture. He received his PhD from Harvard University after completing his B.A. at UC Berkeley and spent several years teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. where he served as director of its Jewish Studies program. He comes to Penn from Stanford University where he was Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion and the director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies. Professor Weitzman is today Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures, Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
With gratitude to Gloria and Marty Greenstein and the Rene Bloch Foundation for generously supporting the Speaker Series program.