At once text and object, celestial and earthbound, Judaic and Christian, the Ten Commandments were not just a theological imperative in the New World; they also provoked heated discussions around key issues such as national identity, inclusion, and pluralism. In a country as diverse and heterogeneous as the United States, the Ten Commandments offered common ground and held out the promise of order and stability, becoming the lodestar of American identity. In this illustrated lecture, Jenna Weissman Joselit explores the imprint of the Ten Commandments on the nation’s imagination and its particular hold on the South.
Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of History at The George Washington University, is the author, most recently, of Set in Stone: America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments. A longtime contributor to the Forward, where her monthly column on American Jewish culture ran for 16 years, she is now a columnist for Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish arts and letters.
Sponsored by the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture
Sponsor: Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program