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Rebecca Scharbach Wollenberg
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Beyond the Book: Reimagining the Early Reception History of the Bible

Completion of a book on the use of the Hebrew Bible in Judaism during late antiquity and the early middle ages.

The study of early Jewish religious reading proposed here documents practices in which a cultural elite that is widely acknowledged to sit at the heart of the biblical project seldom opened a Bible and even great religious thinkers maintained an indistinct notion of the contents of the biblical text. This study argues, moreover, that many early rabbinic authorities found that their central canonical text inspired doubts very similar to those expressed by modern skeptics—a form of intellectual dissonance that was tolerable to these late antique thinkers because many early rabbinic authorities cultivated a form of scriptural religiosity that defused doubts regarding the biblical text by embracing the idea of the Bible while simultaneously neglecting the book itself.

Project fields:
History of Religion; Jewish Studies; Religion, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2018 – 6/30/2018