Evolution of the "Chosen People" in Judaism

Summer 2021

Monday 12.15-2.15pm
From: 8 February 2021
To: 22 March 2021
Paul Forgasz
6 week course (February 8, 15, 22, March 1, 15, 22)

Drawing on a range of biblical, rabbinic, medieval and contemporary Jewish texts, in this online course Paul Forgasz will lead us in examining the changing meaning and significance of the idea of the “Chosen People” in Judaism.

The belief that the people of Israel stand in a special and unique relationship to God as his “Chosen People” has been central to the history of Jewish thought. In this course we will explore:

– various ways in which the biblical writers, as well the Jews of antiquity and of the ensuing rabbinic period gave expression to this relationship
– the widely contrasting approaches of two leading medieval thinkers, Judah Halevi and Moses Maimonides, to the question of whether the Jewish people’s chosen status derives from some inherent and unique quality
– how the Jewish encounter with modernity impacted on traditional understandings of chosenness
– the relevance of the “Chosen People” idea to Israel as a modern Jewish nation state

Please note, there will be no session on Monday 8 March due to the Labour Day public holiday in Victoria.

Bookings for this series will close at 12.00pm Monday 8 February, with the Zoom link emailed to attendees directly.

Image: Sefer Torah scroll, circa 1939, Poland.


Museum member: $135
Non-member: $153