In a beautifully appointed Jerusalem home, and framed by some Avigdor Arikha, Michal Bar Asher-Siegal led an extremely animated discussion that compared many of the motifs comprising the Bavli’s Resh Lakish story cycle with similar elements from Syriac Christian hagiographical texts. Like those cool guys from Chicago, Michal was on a mission to convince scholars of the significance and necessity of reading the Talmud alongside these (then) very popular Christian works. And in our humble opinion, she succeeded marvelously. For those of you who want to see if you’re convinced, we’ve uploaded the audio of the lecture here, and the handout here. Let us know what you think!
The latest issue of the journal Zion has just been published. Yehudah Cohn’s book, Tangled up in Text, is reviewed (once again!), now by Yonatan Adler. This time around, the reviewer is far more skeptical (and ironically, therefore, traditional). It seems like a good and constructive review that does more than outline the book and praise it. It asks some serious questions, which Cohn is obviously well aware of.
Also in the issue, Michal Bar-Asher Siegal publishes an article, “The Making of a Monk-Rabbi: The Background for the Creation of the Stories of R. Shimon bar Yohai in the Cave,” which is based on her 2010 Yale University dissertation.