“The World as Liminal: Genesis and the Incompleteness of Creation”

Date: Jan 30, 2023

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Sponsor: Online Learning | Public Lectures and Events

Location: Online

Category: Online Learning Public Lectures & Events

The World as Liminal: Genesis and the Incompleteness of Creation

Part of our spring learning series, The Space in Between: Thresholds and Borders in Jewish Life and Thought 

This session is generously sponsored by Yale Asbell, JTS Trustee.

Monday, January 30, 2023
1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

With Dr. Benjamin Sommer, professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages, JTS 

The story of creation in the first chapter of the Torah is one of the most familiar but least understood texts in the Bible. When viewed within its historical context it is a very strange story, because it lacks the expected ending. We will look for the proper ending of the story elsewhere in the Torah. Finding it will allow us to understand a core aspect of biblical theology: that the world God created is incomplete. Poised between chaos and perfection, creation itself is designed to be liminal. That aspect of biblical theology, surprisingly enough, will remind us of a famous idea articulated more than two millennia later in kabbalistic literature. 

If you have registered for a session in this series, your registration admits you to all sessions, and you may attend as many as you’d like. 

Note: The Zoom link for this session will be in the confirmation email that you will receive after you register. 


“The Space In Between: Thresholds and Borders in Jewish Life and Thought”  

We are living in an undefined time: our daily existence is no longer dominated by the pandemic, yet neither have we settled into a new normal. This sense of being in transition—neither here nor there—  can feel destabilizing; but is the time in between really temporary, or are we always living in between moments, identities, and phases of life?  

In this series, JTS scholars will delve into the idea of liminality—the time or space in between—which we encounter often in Jewish ritual, identity, law, and life. Join us to consider what these many manifestations of “in-between-ness” can teach us about ourselves and about Judaism, and to explore how we might find strength and meaning in an orientation not of “either/or” but of “both/and.”