Gordon in the News: last updated 10/13/2009

Jewish Scholars Explore the Psalms at Gordon College in Fall Lecture Series

August 17, 2009
Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communications

WENHAM, MA--For almost 40 years, Gordon College has hosted rabbis and scholars on Judaism for a variety of lectures and discussions. As part of that rich tradition, four Jewish scholars will be lecturing this fall to explore the Psalms of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures.
The series—scheduled over four Friday mornings from September through November—reflects Gordon’s academic mission to include respectful engagement of thoughtful scholarship from those outside the evangelical Christian community. Each lecture is open to the public free of charge, begins at 10:25 a.m. and will take place in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel on the Gordon campus, Exit 17 from Route 128.
“The Psalms, or the ‘hymnbook’ of ancient Israel, has had profound influence in shaping the thought and worship of Judaism and Christianity,” said Marvin Wilson, professor of biblical and theological studies, who worked with Gordon’s Center for Christian Studies to coordinate the series. “According to the New Testament, the earliest church sang Psalms; Christianity began as a movement within Judaism. Sadly, however, this largest book of the Bible is often the least explored. Our hope is that this series opens people up to some of the lesser-known Psalms.”
On Friday, September 11, Rabbi Baruch HaLevi, lecturer in Jewish spirituality and leader of Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott, Massachusetts, will explore Psalm 145 while introducing the Psalms as a major Hebraic source of biblical spirituality in his talk “Understanding the Psalms.”

On Friday, September 18, Dr. Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University and author of Jews and Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel, will consider Psalm 137’s implications for his talk on “The Anguish of Exile and the Joy of Jerusalem.”
On Friday, October 23, Rabbi and Torah scholar Dr. Michael Samuel, author of Birth and Rebirth through Genesis, will address perhaps the best-known Psalm in his talk “The Lord Is My Shepherd: Rediscovering the Personal God of Psalm 23.” Dr. Samuel will also be lecturing on “The Image of God in Man: Do Animals Have a Soul?” Thursday, October 22, at 4:30 p.m. in the MacDonald Auditorium of the Ken Olsen Science Center.

On Friday, November 13, Rabbi A. James Rudin, syndicated columnist and author of Evangelicals and Jews in Conversation on Scripture, Theology and History, will conclude the series with his talk “Psalms in the Collective Experience of the Jewish People.” Rudin has met several popes and coordinated four national conferences for Evangelicals and Jews, two of which were held at Gordon College. Rabbi Rudin will also be lecturing on “Christian-Jewish Relations in America: Forty Years in Retrospect,” Thursday, November 12, at 4:30 p.m. in the MacDonald Auditorium of the Ken Olsen Science Center.

Wilson believes the lecture series provides a unique opportunity to “view some of the poetical masterpieces of the Bible through the eyes of Jewish teachers. Personal, candid, and often intense, the Psalms have universal appeal; here, in the heart of the Bible, is found the classic biblical expression of the human quest to know God amidst a troubling world.”

For more information, contact the Office of College Communications, 978.867.4752, or visit www.gordon.edu.

Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges