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YU News

Holtz, Fine and Mermelstein Attend Major Conference

Dr. Shalom Holtz, associate professor of Bible and associate dean for academic affairs at Yeshiva College; Dr. Steven Fine, Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History and director of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies; and Dr. Ari Mermelstein, assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva College attended the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, held from Nov. 17-20, 2018, in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Holtz presented a paper titled “A Trial Text from Alalakh and the Question in Biblical Prayer,” based on his research into courtroom themes and language in ancient Near Eastern prayer. “In this particular paper,” he noted, “I demonstrated that speakers in biblical prayers use questions as a form of accusation against God and that this closely resembles the use of questions between litigants in human courtrooms in the ancient world.” He also chaired a session on law and metaphor. During that session, one of the speakers referred to an article that he had never encountered. “I have now read the article and anticipate using it in my teaching and research. An experience like this speaks to why it is important for YU faculty to attend conferences like this one, where we find up-to-the-minute developments in scholarship and where we ensure our presence at the front lines of academia and can shape the conversation.”

Dr. Steven FineA special joint session on Early Jewish Christian Relations and Art and Religions of Antiquity reviewed Dr. Fine’s book, The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel (Harvard University Press, 2016). In that session, Dr. Fine noted that “The menorah preserves deep biblical meaning and has maintained a stable iconography going back at least to the first century....The seven-branched menorah is a branding icon on a par in visual clarity with the crescent [and] the cross.”

Ari Mermelstein, Assistant Professor, Jewish StudiesDr. Mermelstein participated in a session devoted to the theme of methods and models for understanding emotions in Biblical literature.