The Protestant Reformation permanently altered the political and religious landscape
of Europe in the sixteenth century. It shattered and transformed the institutional
authority of the church in Europe, and changed the way that religion was practiced
across the continent. The Reformation altered Jewish society and culture as well.
Dr. Fisher surveys how Jews in the seventeenth-century Netherlands interacted with
diverse Protestant movements, new teachings, and Christian religious texts, and how
these encounters unexpectedly changed Jewish thinking about Judaism, the Bible, and
even Jesus and Christianity.
Dr. Benjamin Fisher, Ph.D.
Associate professor in the Department of History and Director of Jewish Studies at
Towson University. Dr. Fisher joined the History department in 2011. He earned his
Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania for his 2011 dissertation, and is the author
of Amsterdam's People of the Book: Jewish Society and the Turn to Scripture in the Seventeenth
Century (Hebrew Union College Press, 2020). His research focuses on Jewish-Christian relations,
and Jewish approaches to reading the Bible in the medieval and early modern worlds.
Rita Costa-Gomes, Ph.D.
Professor in the Department of History at Towson University. Dr. Costa-Gomes joined
the History Department in 2005. She earned her Ph.D in Medieval History at the Universidade
Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Her research focuses on the history of Portugal, Iberia,
1000-1500 AD. She hosts the bilingual podcast "Guarda History Workshop" for the Center
for Iberian Studies (Guarda, Portugal).
The Sraiah and Chana Shoubin Lecture
Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D.
Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes: A Tribal Language in a Global World
Why does Hebrew matter? And how does engagement with the language enrich Jewishness?
Jeremy Benstein is an educator and author. He holds a BA in linguistics from Harvard,
a master's degree in Judaic studies from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, and
a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the Hebrew University. He is the author
of two books, The Way Into Judaism and the Environment (Jewish Lights, 2006) and Hebrew Roots, Jewish Routes: A Tribal Language In a Global World (Behrman House, 2019).
Judaism and Heresy: The Case of Spinoza, Freud and Tchernichovsky
Join BHI for a panel discussion of expressions of heresy in Jewish history, thought
and literature. The panel will explore the formative role of the figure of the heretic
and of heretic thought in the development of the Jewish traditions in the 20th century.
Panelists: Dr. Robert Alter; Dr. Willi Goetschel; Dr. Gilad Sharvit. Moderated by Dr. Benjamin Fisher.
Co-presented by the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto.