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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 18, 2004

Jewish Studies Scholar To Speak On Abraham Oct. 25

A leading scholar of the Hebrew Bible will visit the University of Iowa to speak on "The Conversion of Abraham to Judaism, Christianity & Islam" on Monday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. in Lecture Room 2 in Van Allen Hall. The lecture by Jon D. Levenson, the Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, is the annual Sonia Sands lecture sponsored by the department of religious studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Levenson specializes in the reinterpretations of texts in the Hebrew Bible itself and in the "rewritten Bible" of Second Temple Judaism as well as rabbinic midrash and medieval Jewish commentary. Much of his work centers on the relationship of Judaism and Christianity, both in the times of the early church and in modernity, and he has long been active in Jewish-Christian dialogue. In all his work, his emphasis tends to fall on close reading of texts for purposes of literary and theological understanding. His interests in Jewish theology include the contemporary period.

Levenson joined the faculty at Harvard, his alma mater, in 1988, having previously taught at the University of Chicago and Wellesley College.

Sonia Sands was housemother for the Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity at the UI for more than 20 years. Alumni members of this fraternity gave gifts in her honor to the campaign for the Jewish Professorship that funds this lecture, established in 1986.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the religious studies department in advance at 319-335-2164.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,