Dr. Jonathan Milgram to Discuss “Jesus in the Talmud” and “From Mishnah to Microsoft” as JTS Hereld Scholar-in-Residence in Sarasota

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

December 18, 2008, Sarasota, FL

Dr. Jonathan Milgram, assistant professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary, will serve as the JTS Hereld Scholar-in-Residence January 2–3, 2009, at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota.

The scholar-in-residence program is being made possible by a generous grant from the Hereld Institute for Jewish Studies of JTS.

Dr. Milgram will discuss “Jesus in the Talmud” at Friday evening services on January 2. Throughout Talmudic literature references to Jesus are found. Scholarship has traditionally played down the stories as unreliable distortions of the historical Jesus. Recent scholarship, however, posits a more deliberate agenda behind these narratives and a keen awareness of the contents of the New Testament on the part of the rabbis. In his lecture, Dr. Milgram will review past and present scholarship on the topic in order to arrive at a more balanced picture of the place and purpose of the Jesus narratives in Talmudic literature, exploring their literary, historical, and theological function in the Talmudic corpus.

On Saturday, January 3, after Shaharit services, Dr. Milgram will discuss “From Mishnah to Microsoft.” In antiquity, Talmudic texts were memorized and transmitted orally by Jewish sages. In the medieval period, these same texts were copied by scribes on parchment. For 500 years, printing was the dominant method of transmission. Today, members of the Talmud faculty of JTS have pioneered the creation of databases to preserve and transmit these texts in the prevalent medium of our age, computerization. Dr. Milgram will explore the encounters between the holy texts of ancient Judaism and the history of technological change.

Dr. Milgram has taught at Hunter College, Drisha Institute, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, all in New York City; and served as professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and London School for Jewish Studies (formerly Jews’ College) in England. Dr. Milgram is the former coordinator of JTS’s Saul Lieberman Institute for Talmudic Research, a research institute dedicated to the computerization of medieval Jewish manuscripts, and recently was on the editorial staff of the Encyclopedia Judaica, second edition.

Dr. Milgram’s research interests and publications deal with Talmud criticism, medieval Jewish law, and the intersection of these two fields. He holds BA degrees from Columbia University and JTS. He earned his MA and rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University and his PhD from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

For information regarding service times and Friday night dinner, please call Temple Beth Sholom at (941) 955-8121. Information on JTS programming in Florida is available by contacting Carolyn Kantor at (561) 852-3454.