Hebrew University of Jerusalem chancellor to visit, speak at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Menachem Ben-Sasson, chancellor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor of The History of the Jewish People, will present a lecture titled “The Case of Qayrawān: A Jewish Community in Muslim North Africa in the Making of the New Jewish ‘Bookshelf’” during an upcoming visit to Penn State. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, in the Alumni Lounge of The Nittany Lion Inn.

Ben-Sasson’s presentation will focus on the Jewish intellectual life that flourished beginning towards the end of the seventh century in the city of Qayrawān, which quickly became a commercial, religious, and intellectual hub of the Mediterranean region after it was built. Jewish scholars produced many pioneering works in all branches of knowledge during this time in the city — from astronomy and mathematics, to philosophy and mysticism, to secular and religious poetry, to law, medicine, linguistics and history. These works comprised the new Jewish “bookshelf” that was forged with global intellectual revolution taking place at the time and rapidly spread throughout the Jewish world.

Prior to his appointment as chancellor in September 2017, Ben-Sasson served as the Hebrew University’s 13th president for eight years. He is also a former member of the Israeli Knesset, where he served as chair of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and headed the Knesset Lobby for Higher Education.

Ben-Sasson is a noted scholar who has written numerous books and peer-reviewed articles on topics including Jewish communities in Muslim lands; the relationship between religion and economics; and law and spirituality as sources of authority in medieval Oriental society. Notable honors include an honorary doctoral degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; the Yitzhak Ben-Zvi Prize for Jewish History; and the Feher Prize for the Study of Jewish Heritage.

Sponsors for Ben-Sasson’s visit include the Penn State Jewish Studies Program and the Penn State Center for Global Studies. To learn more, please contact the Jewish Studies Program office at 814-863-8939 or jstd@psu.edu.

Media Contacts: 

William Hessert

Work Phone: 
814-865-9988

College of the Liberal Arts

Last Updated March 26, 2018