David Nirenberg, University of Chicago

Professor Chicago, Illinois nirenberg@uchicago.edu

Bio/Research

Much of my work has focused on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by interrelating with or thinking about each other. My first book, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, studied social interaction between the three gro...

Click to Expand >>

Bio/Research

Much of my work has focused on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by interrelating with or thinking about each other. My first book, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, studied social interaction between the three groups within the context of Spain and France in order to understand the role of violence in shaping the possibilities for coexistence. In more recent projects I have taken a less social and more hermeneutical approach, exploring the work that "Judaism," "Christianity," and "Islam" do as figures in each other's thought about the nature of language and the world. One product of that approach, focused on art history, was (jointly with Herb Kessler) Judaism and Christian Art: Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonialism (2011). In Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition(2013), I attempted to apply the methodology to a very longue durée, studying the work done by pagan, Christian, Muslim, and secular thinking about Jews and Judaism in the history of ideas. In Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Medieval and Modern, I tried to bring the social into conversation with the hermeneutic, in order to show how, in multireligious societies (my focus is on Spain), lived experiences of interreligious contact interact with conceptual categories and habits of thought, and how this interaction shapes how adherents of all three religions perceive themselves and each other. And most recently, in Aesthetic Theology and its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics,” I explored the implications that a long history of thinking about transcendence in terms of the overcoming of Judaism has had on the possibilities of representation in the Western world.

Click to Shrink <<

Links