Klage/Eicha: Lament in Jewish Thought

Een conferentie georganiseerd door het Instituut voor Joodse Studies en de Advanced Research Group for Aesthetics, Hermeneutics and Ethics in Jewish Thought.
6-8 februari, 2013
Universiteit Antwerpen

6-7 februari: Hof van Liere, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen
8 februari: Lokaal C.102, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen 

Met de steun van Universiteit en Samenleving van de Universiteit Antwerpen

An international group of scholars from diverse fields, including Jewish studies, philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and musicology will be gathered. During the three days of the conference, they will engage in a multifaceted discussion of the aesthetic, ethical and religious implications of lament, from Biblical and Rabbinic sources to the ramifications of lament in modern Jewish Thought.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. dr. Moshe Halbertal

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Eicha: Lamentation and Mourning

Lamentation has a long history in Jewish sacred poetry and liturgy, from the Biblical book of “Eicha” to the Kalir’s great liturgical poems of lamentations at the sixth century, to the eleventh and twelfth centuries’ painful “kinot” lamenting the destructions of Jewish communities in the crusades, and the twentieth century lamentations of the “shoa”. The lecture will explore the human and existential stance of lamentation expressed in that complex genre, its relationship to mourning, eulogy and grief, and its deep echoing of the bewildered soul torn by the unexplainable.

Moshe Halbertal is the Gruss Professor at NYU Law School and a Professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Hebrew University, and he is a member of Israel’s National Academy for Sciences and the Humanities. He is the author of the books Idolatry (co-authored with Avishai Margalit) and People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority, both published by Harvard University Press, and Concealment and Revelation, published by Princeton University Press in 2007. His latest book On Sacrifice was published by Princeton University Press in 2012.

Prof. dr. Galit Hasan-Rokem

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Soul's Pain Expressed by the Body: The Lamenting Mother in Ancient Hebrew Texts

One of the most gripping characteristics of the poetry of lamentation is how it verbally refers to the oral performance of lamenting – bringing into presence both the body of the lamenter and the body of the lamented. The concrete presence of corporeality poignantly confronts in these poems the underlying theme of the transience of human life. Perhaps surprisingly, laments stage a powerful drama of life rather than of death. This drama has its roots in the cycle of birth and death embodied in the female life cycle and correlates with the fact that lamenting has almost universally been ascribed to women. I shall read the Hebrew Bible’s book of Lamentations (Eikha) and its late antique rabbinic pendant Midrash Eikha Rabbah with special attention to the way idioms and figures of the mother-child relationship construct their poetic vision of the intimate interlacing of death and life.

Galit Hasan-Rokem, is Max and Margarethe Grunwald Professor of Folklore, and Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She studies: late antique Rabbinic literature from folk literary, ethnographic and inter-cultural perspectives; folklore theory; proverbs; Jewish motifs in European folklore. Among her books: Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature (2000), and Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity (2003) and among the edited volumes: The Wandering Jew - Essays in the Interpretation of a Christian Legend with A. Dundes (1986); and with Regina F. Bendix, Companion to Folklore (2012). She is a published poet in Hebrew and in translation, and the literary editor of Palestine-Israel Journal.


Wednesday, February 6th

10.00-11.00 Welcome and Introduction by Vivian Liska, Leora Batnitzky and Paula Schwebel

Morning Session: 11.00-12.30 - Chair: Leora Batnitzky

11.00-11.45 Ilana Pardes, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Agnon's 'Edo and Enam': Between the Song of Songs and Eicha
11.45-12.30 Vered Madar, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Women's Oral Laments: Corpus and Text - The Body in the Text
12.30-14.00 Lunch (only speakers)

Afternoon Session I: 14.00-15.30 - Chair: Ilana Pardes

14.00-14.45 Bernd Witte, Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf
Solitude, Silence and Death. Scholem's Paradoxical Theory of Lamentation
14.45-15.30 Eli Schonfeld, Tel Aviv University and the Shalom Hartmann Institute
Ein Menachem: On Lament and Consolation
15.30-16.00  Coffee break

Afternoon Session II: 16.00-17.30 - Chair: Paula Schwebel

16.00-16.45 Galili Shahar, Tel Aviv University
Silent Syllable: The Hebrew/the Arab - the German. On Franz Rosenzweig's Translation of Jehuda Halevi's Liturgical Poems
16.45-17.30 Adam Lipszyc, Insitute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Science
Words and Corpses. Celan's Tenebrae between Gadamer and Scholem

Keynote lecture: 19.00-20.00 - Introduction: Vivian Liska
Moshe Halbertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Eicha: Lamentation and Mourning

Thursday, February 7th

Morning Session I: 09.00-10.30 - Chair: Dennis Baert

09.00-09.45 Agata Bielik-Robson, University of Nottingham
Job's Complaint. Kinah and the Other Origin of Language
09.45-10.30 Vivian Liska, University of Antwerp
Deferring Lament. Scholem on Job and Kafka
10.30-11.00 Coffee break

Morning Session II: 11.00-12.30 - Chair: Vivian Liska

11.00-11.45 Paula Schwebel, University of Potsdam/University of Antwerp
Lament and the Transmissibility of Teachings in Scholem and Benjamin
11.45-12.30 Rebecca Comay, University of Toronto
"The rest is silence": Lament and its Vicissitudes in Benjamin's Trauerspielbuch
12.30-14.00 Lunch break (only speakers)

Keynote lecture: 14.00-15.00
Galit Hasan-Rokem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Soul's Pain Expressed by the Body: The Lamenting Mother in Ancient Hebrew Texts

15.00-15.30      Coffee break

Afternoon Session: 15.30-17.00 - Chair: David Dessin

15.30-16.15 Avery Gosfield, Ensemble Lucidarium
Étans assis aux rives aquatiques / Ain weser flist vor Bovilon - Psalm 137 and its Different Readings in the 16th Century
16.15-17.00  Enrico Fink, Ensemble Lucidarium
'E poi si esce, senza salutar nessuno': Tisha be Av in Florence

CONCERT (for tickets see www.amuz.be)
21.00 Amuz, Kammenstraat 81 - 2000 Antwerp
Ensemble Lucidarium:
By the Rivers of Babylon: Joy, Folly, Penitence and Lamentation

Friday, February 8th

Session I: 09.00-10.30 - Chair: Paula Schwebel

09.00-09.45 Caroline Sauter, University of Frankfurt
Wortloses Lied das Worte nicht ermessen: Lament and Mourning in Benjamin's Theory, Poetry, and Translation
09.45-10.30 Ilit Ferber, Tel Aviv University
Lament and Pure Language: Scholem and Benjamin
10.30-11.00 Coffee break

Session II: 11.00-12.30 - Chair: Leora Batnitzky

11.00-11.45 Lina Barouch, Oxford University/Tel Aviv University
Gershom Scholem: Language Between Lamentation and Retaliation
11.45-12.30  Daniel Weidner, Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung, Berlin
'Movement of Language' and Transience: Lament, Mourning and the Tradition of Elegy in Early Scholem

Closing remarks: Leora Batnitzky

13.00-14.00 Lunch (only speakers)