The 2018 Adam Cherrick Lecture -- Between Biography and Historiography: Gershom Scholem’s Redemption through Sin

David Biale

This lecture investigates the biographical circumstances around Gershom Scholem’s writing of his famous 1937 essay “Redemption through Sin.”  Both the Nazi assault on the German Jews and Scholem’s own romantic struggles help explain some of the surprising features of this pathbreaking work.

DAVID BIALE (PhD UCLA) is the Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis. He works in the areas of Jewish intellectual and cultural history, with interests that range across a 3,000-year span. Currently the Director of the Jewish Studies Program at UC Davis, he has written on themes of power, sexuality, blood and secularization in Jewish history. He is the author of Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought (Princeton, 2010), Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians (California, 2008), Eros and the Jews: From Biblical Israel to Contemporary America (California, 1997), and Gershom Scholem: Master of the Kabbalah (Yale, 1982).  Prof. Biale is currently the director of an international project to write the first history of Hasidism.