Messianic Thoughts in an Age of Despair
Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor of Jewish Civilization, Northwestern University
March 10, 2010, 6:00 PM
University Club, Room 313
803 State Street
Although it is often said that monotheism is Judaism's greatest contribution to world culture, this lecture argues that the idea of a messianic future is equally important. However important it may be, it is also problematic. Without hope for a better future, we run the risk of despair. But it is when people are dejected that they are most susceptible to folly. Can the idea of a messianic future be stripped of its mythological trappings and presented in a way that makes philosophic sense? This lecture explores several attempts to do so and presents an updated version of Maimonides' view of the end of days.
Kenneth Seeskin’s recent publications include: Maimonides on the Origin of the World, Autonomy in Jewish Philosophy, and Searching for a Distant God: the Legacy of Maimonides. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Maimonides and the co-editor of The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Culture and Religion.
Sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, the Center for the Humanities, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, the Institute for Legal Studies, Religious Studies, the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions, and the University Bookstore