Category: Personal Reflections

Going West: Migrating Personae and Construction of the Self in Rabbinic Culture

A discussion of an example chosen from the series of readings concerned with the reception of Babylonian immigrants in the domain of the Palestinian rabbis. The example is taken from the chapter in which I discuss the Palestinian rabbis’ use of the figure of the Babylonian Other in shaping their collective Self. Those examples deal with the mockery of the Babylonian newcomers. This story is a final anecdote in the tragicomic trilogy of encounters between Babylonian immigrants and the Galilee’s inhabitants.

Water as a symbol of Jewish birth – The Mikvah in Erfurt

A post by our students on the Mikvah in Erfurt. Written sources on the mikvah ion Erfurt date back to the middle of the 13th century. They show that the Jewish community had to pay taxes for the bath and the land, first to the bishop, later to the city of Erfurt. From the medieval tax lists we learn that the area around the Mikvah was densely populated.

Christmas carols

Sometimes it is the absence that makes the obvious visible. On 4 December 2023, the music stopped at some German Christmas markets, including Erfurt. The reason for this was the protest against the high licence fees for the public – and undoubtedly sales-promoting – playing of music recordings by composers and performers who had not long since died. Christmas and songs, indeed celebrating Christmas and singing, seem to belong together.  From “Silent Night” to “Dreaming of a White Christmas” and even more recent songs: it’s hard to imagine Christmas without them. And vice versa: without the festival, all these songs would lose their meaning. 

Buddhismus und die vietnamesische Diaspora in Erfurt

Die Errichtung eines Tempels in Gispersleben läutet eine neue Ära für das interkulturelle Zusammenleben in Erfurt ein. Dieses neue Gotteshaus nahmen wir als Anlass, uns mit dem vietnamesisch-buddhistischen Leben in Erfurt genauer zu beschäftigen. Es ist erst der dritte sichtbare Tempel in den neuen deutschen Bundesländern.

Jewish Heritage (11th City Walk)

At the beginning of the 2023/24 winter semester, we organised our eleventh city walk, which was dedicated to the topic of “Jewish Heritage”. The occasion was the recent designation of Erfurt’s Jewish-Medieval heritage as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 17 September 2023.

Robert Wiśniewski’s Lecture on Stealing and Preventing Theft in Late Antique Cities

How did people try to avoid being robbed and how did they react when it happened? Wiśniewski, drawing from a complex and varied set of sources (including letters, petitions, hagiography and inscriptions) focused on the interface of religion and society, showing how people used various strategies like divination or seeking help from religious figures. Theft in his lecture appeared to us as a complex societal phenomenon, shaking the sometimes fragile trust in local communities.

Sufi Sites as Oases of Resonance: Jamal Malik on “Architectural Resonance”

Prof emeritus Jamal Malik commented on the notion of “architectural resonance” in Muslim cultural history, during the book launch of Architektonische Resonanz. Das Mausoleum des indischen Sufi-Meisters Shah Vajihudin Alvi by Sara Keller. Amongst other things, he noted how a Sufi shrine vibrantly interacts with its surrounding, transforming the Sufi convent into a Resonance oasis.

Erfurt’s Blue – Erfurter Blau

During the late Middle Ages, Erfurt was a prosperous city with a dynamic trade center, and home to one of the first universities in Europe. While its success was a result of many factors, including its geographical location, few people are aware that the colour blue had a significant impact on the development of the city.

Urban religion and objects

by Jörg Rüpke. The summer school “Roman rituals: dynamics, topography and objects: Introduction to Roman religion through the prism of its materiality” – co-organized by the “Religion and Urbanity” group in Erfurt with the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, La Sapienza, Rome, and the Université catholique de Louvain in cooperation with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, the Ecole française de Rome, the Academia Belgica and the Museo Nazionale Etrusca Villa Giulia in September 2023 – has addressed the questions of urbanity as being reflected in and constitutive for religious objects.

Review of Nina Kreibig, Institutionalisierter Tod: Die Kultur- und Sozialgeschichte der Berliner Leichenhäuser im 19. Jahrhundert

Die Beschäftigung mit Sterben und Tod hat Konjunktur. Nina Kreibig hat eine wichtige Studie vorgelegt, in der sie die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Leichenhäuser in Berlin grundlegend und quellengesättigt rekonstruiert. Rezension von Carolin Kosuch.

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