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Forget the Landscape: The Art of Memory in Rabbinic and Roman Texts

The Judaic Studies Program invites you to a presentation by

Professor Gil Klein

Forget the Landscape:

The Art of Memory in Rabbinic and Roman Texts 

Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:30 p.m. 

The Klehr Center for Jewish Life

Sponsored by the Program in Judaic Studies, The Klehr Center for Jewish Life, and the Departments of Classics, Art & Art History, and Religious Studies

Can architecture help us remember? Can agriculture teach us how to forget? By comparing rabbinic literature from late antique Palestine with Roman illuminated manuals of land-measurement, this lecture examines the link between memory and space in these two deeply intertwined cultures. The application of Greco-Roman mnemonics (memory techniques) in rabbinic study practices has long been recognized as a significant component in the formation of texts such as the Mishnah and the Talmud. This talk explores the ways in which similar devices of memorization shaped rabbinic spatial practices, which are concerned with the regulation of cityscapes and landscapes. Such practices include the Sabbath Boundary, which determines the distance one is allowed to walk on the Sabbath, and Forgotten Produce, which defines the crops given to the poor. In discussing the relationships between space and memory in the Rabbinic-Roman context, this presentation considers the religious, artistic, and political dimensions of mental and physical mapping. 

Gil Klein is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University