Symposium “Understanding Judaism: New Approaches to Rabbinic Literature”

As a secretary of the Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum Foundation, I co-organize the symposium “Understanding Judaism: New Approaches to Rabbinic Literature.” It will take place at Utrecht University (Drift 21, Sweelinckzaal) on March 20–21, 2023.


On the occasion of the publication of the latest installment of the CRINT series, namely Christine Hayes, ed., The Literature of the Sages: A Re-Visioning (CRINT 16; Leiden: Brill, 2022), the board of the Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum Foundation warmly invites you to the symposium “Understanding Judaism: New Approaches to Rabbinic Literature.” Presenting the major works of classical rabbinic Judaism from the perspectives of intertextuality, East and West, and halakhah and aggadah, Hayes’ volume engages with cutting-edge methodological developments in the field of rabbinic studies and adjacent disciplines.

The symposium aims to create an interdisciplinary exchange on the volume’s insights and methodological advancements in the study of rabbinic texts, non-rabbinic sources, and surrounding cultures in dialogue with each other. The main participant of the symposium is Prof. Christine Hayes, the editor of the volume. She will open the symposium with an introductory lecture in which she will highlight the most relevant developments in the study of rabbinic texts in relation to material contexts and non-rabbinic cultures. Prof. Martin Goodman, Prof. Annette Merz, and Prof. Lutz Doering will provide responses in which they will discuss the volume’s merits from the perspective of their respective disciplines and reflect on possible avenues for future research. The symposium will include a Masterclass featuring up-and-coming students and their work.

The two-day program of the symposium:

Day 1

09:30 Entrance

10:00 Eric Ottenheijm, Opening

10:10 Introduction by Peter J. Tomson

10:45 Coffee/Tea Break

11:00 Christine Hayes, Introductory Lecture

11:45 Questions from the audience

12:15 Lunch

13:30 Responses by three external specialists: Martin Goodman; Annette Merz; Lutz Doering

15:00 Tea Break

15:30 Response of Prof. Hayes, followed by a general discussion on the volume’s merits and final words by Eric Ottenheijm

16:00 Reception

18:00 Dinner (invited guests only)

Day 2

09:30 Entrance

10:00 Eric Ottenheijm, Opening

10:15 Masterclass (part I)

11:30 Coffee/Tea break

11:45 Masterclass (part II)

13:00 Lunch


You can sign up with this sign-up link to register for the symposium or receive more information: For internationally based scholars, there are possibilities to attend the symposium virtually.


With about 45 people attending the first day of the symposium, the event was a huge success. In the online newspaper De Vrijdagavond, two articles (in Dutch) have been published on the symposium: and 2023/03/28/nieuws/wie-kan-de-draagtijd-van-slangen-beter-beantwoorden-vragen-over-antiek-joodse-en-vroegchristelijke-bewegingen/ The contributions to the symposium, in revised form, will be published in a special issue of the NTT/Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion, co-edited by Dr. Eric Ottenheijm and myself.