The opening ceremony with the vice president of the University of Hamburg, Prof. Dr. Susanne Rupp, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof. Dr. Oliver Huck, and the speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre Manuscript Cultures, Prof. Dr. Michael Friedrich, will take place on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the atrium of the State and University Library Carl von Ossietzky. Prof. Dr. Josef Stern of the University of Chicago will hold the guest lecture and talk on “What is Jewish Philosophy? A View from the Middle Ages “. hanefesh simkhat (in German: “joy of the soul”) will be accompanying the event with their music.
Researching Jewish Skepticism
Headed by Prof. Dr. Prof. h.c. Giuseppe Veltri, the central aim of the Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies – Jewish Scepticism (MCAS-JS) is the exploration and research of scepticism in Judaism in its dual manifestation of a purely philosophical tradition and a more general expression of sceptical strategies, concepts, and attitudes in the cultural field. Scepticism is understood here as an enquiry of the ‘perpetual student’ who harbours doubts about different dimensions and systems of (secular or revealed) knowledge and raises the question of authority. It is not merely an intellectual or theoretical worldview, it also certainly implies an attitude toward life that provides a basis for numerous and diverse phenomena and informs essential processes and categorisations within Jewish philosophy, religion, literature, and society.
More specifically, scepticism is applied to expressions of social deviance from, and conformity with, political structures, as well as to systems of governance when responding to and being in exchange with adjacent cultures. By further opening up this rarely explored field, scholars will considerably profit from comparative perspectives. Gaining new insights into both Western philosophy and culture and its more or less inherent connections to texts and manifestations of Eastern cultures and thought, is essential to mapping the transcultural dimensions of the research field.
International Research at MCAS
At the MCAS, an international research group with scientists from all over the world has been set up together with professors of the University of Hamburg. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the next four years with around four million euros. Runnig for eight years, the project is located at the new Institute for Jewish philosophy and religion of the Faculty of Humanities.
The centre is named after Moses Maimonides. The Jewish philosopher, jurist and doctor lived and worked in the twelveth century. An outstanding man of his time, he is considered one of the most important Jewish scholars ever. Maimonides died in 1204 in Cairo.
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