SUNG VESPERS "SAN ZENO"
March 6, 2022
Co-Sponsored by: St. Peter's Parish, Catholic Parishes of Arlington, Lumen Christi Institute
One of the best known but least understood obligations in the Hebrew Bible is the commandment to love God. Among the misconceptions that prevent a good understanding of it are the tendency to think of the sexual as the highest form of love and the related assumption that love is primarily an affect. This lecture will seek to place the commandment in its ancient Near Eastern context and briefly to illuminate its complications and ramifications in the Hebrew Bible, with the aid of instructive examples from rabbinic tradition and human relations more generally. The goal will be to recover a concept that relates humankind’s love of God to God’s own love and that moves beyond such simplistic dichotomies as love versus law, affection versus action, and universalism versus particularism.
Jon D. Levenson is List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard Divinity School. His scholarship concentrates on the interpretation of the Jewish Bible over the centuries, on philosophical and theological issues in biblical studies, and on the relationship of Judaism and Christianity, both in antiquity and in modern times. Among his numerous books and dozens of articles are The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton, 2016); Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton, 2012); and Resurrection: The Power of God for Jews and Christians (with Kevin J. Madigan) (Yale, 2008). He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard, where he has taught since 1988.