CJS spring program on “Speaking Through Art as a Jew” to conclude with “People of the Image” on May 17

The third lecture in the College of Jewish Studies spring 2018 program “Speaking Through Art as a Jew: Visual Expressions of Jewish Culture” will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 7:30 pm, at the Jewish Community Center, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal. Professor Marc Michael Epstein will speak on “People of the Image: Jews and Art.” The program is open to the entire community. General admission is $8 per program or $20 for all three programs; senior admission is $5 per program or $12 for all three programs. BU students are welcome to attend at no charge.
“Everyone knows that Jews are a ‘People of the Book,’” said organizers of the event. “But everybody also ‘knows’ that the second commandment prohibits the making of art. As it turns out, everybody knows wrong: Jews, while indisputably bookish, are also the ‘People of the Image’ as well, creating art that can give us insights into their views of God, the Universe and other people – Jews and non-Jews – with results ranging from the conservative to the controversial.”
Epstein has been teaching at Vassar College since 1992 and is currently a professor and the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) and Norman Davis Chair in Religion and Visual Culture. He was Vassar’s first director of Jewish studies. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and received his Ph.D. from Yale University. Epstein did much of his graduate research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the author and editor of numerous scholarly books and articles, recipient of several awards and has lectured widely, holding several distinguished lectureships over the years.
His 2011 book, “The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination” (Yale University Press), was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of the year. His “Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Manuscript Illumination” (Princeton University Press, 2015), a large-format survey of the genre with more than 300 illustrations in digital color, was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 2015. During the 1980s, Epstein was the director of the Hebrew books and manuscripts division of Sotheby’s Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world. Epstein has written widely on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for and about Jews. He is currently in the process of completing a book titled “People of the Image: Jews and Art,” to be published by Thames and Hudson, which also published his 2016 edition of “The Brother Haggadah: A Medieval Sephardi Masterpiece in Facsimile.”
College of Jewish Studies programs are open to the entire community; general admission is $8 per program, or $20 for all three programs; senior admission is $5 per program or $12 for all three programs. BU students are welcome to attend at no charge. An individual sponsorship, of $100, is available and includes admission to all fall and spring programs. Donations are always welcomed. For more information on how to become an individual sponsor or to make a donation, e-mail bingcjs@gmail.com. The College of Jewish Studies is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization.
The College of Jewish Studies provides opportunities for adult Jewish education for the Broome County community by offering fall and spring programs. Drawing on local resources, and inviting scholars and experts from a range of universities and cultural and religious institutions, CJS sponsors an array of programs dealing with Jewish history, culture, religion and politics.
The College of Jewish Studies, founded in 1986, is an informal coalition between the Judaic Studies Department of Binghamton University and several area Jewish sponsoring institutions: the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton, Beth David Synagogue, Temple Concord and Temple Israel. Programming for CJS would not be possible without the support of a grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York – David and Virginia Eisenberg Donor Advised Fund, and additional financial support from the Jacob and Rose Olum Foundation, the B’nai B’rith Lectureship Fund, the Victor and Esther Rozen Foundation, an endowment fund from the former Temple Beth El of Endicott, a grant from the JoyVel Charitable Fund, and the donations of individual sponsors.
For more information on the College of Jewish Studies and its programs, go to www.bingcjs.org and www.facebook.com/bingcjs.