Schäfer to give annual Cherrick Lecture in Jewish Studies

Peter Schäfer, Ph.D., the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and director of the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University, will present the 2009 Adam Cherrick Lecture in Jewish Studies, “Why Did Baby Messiah Disappear? The Birth of Christianity From the Spirit of Judaism,” at 7 p.m. March 19 in Wilson Hall, room 214.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A kosher reception will follow.

Schäfer’s presentation starts from the deliberately provocative assumption that Judaism and Christianity have never lived in splendid isolation, sealed off from each other by eternal enmity and hatred. He will argue that this assumption is certainly true for the first centuries C.E. during which Christianity emerged from Judaism, its mother religion. His presentation will focus on a famous story preserved in the Jerusalem Talmud that captures Christianity literally at the very moment it sprang from the loins of Judaism.

Schäfer, who joined the Princeton faculty in 1998, is internationally regarded as one of the finest scholars in Jewish studies. His teaching and research interests include Jewish history in late antiquity, the religion and literature of Rabbinic Judaism, Jewish mysticism and Jewish magic.

In 1994, he was awarded the German Leibniz Prize and in 2006, the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award. His latest books are: “Jesus in the Talmud,” (2007) and “Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah,” (2002).

He has served as co-editor of Jewish Studies Quarterly since 1993.

The Cherrick Lecture is sponsored by the Adam Cherrick fund in Jewish studies and is co-sponsored this year by the Department of Classics and the Religious Studies Program, both in Arts & Sciences.

For more information, contact the Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies Program at or 935-8567.