Akiva: Living and Dying for the Love of God

Congregation Har Shalom, Potomac, MD

Dates: Monday, November 23, 2015
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Rabbi Reuven Hammer

“With insight and mastery of Rabbinic sources, Rabbi Reuven Hammer has produced an outstanding review of the life of Rabbi Akiva, clarifying his life, thoughts, beliefs, and concerns for the Jewish people. His book, Akiva: Life, Legend, Legacy, will enlighten and captivate readers.”—Shalom Paul, professor emeritus, Bible Department at Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The legendary Akiva ben Yosef has fascinated Jews for centuries. One of, and arguably the most important of the Tannaim or early Jewish sages, he lived during a crucial era in the development of Judaism as we know it today, and his theology played a major part in the development of Rabbinic Judaism. Reuven Hammer details Akiva’s life as it led to a martyr’s death and delves into the rich legacy Akiva left us.

That legacy played an extraordinarily important role in helping the Jewish people survive difficult challenges and forge a vibrant religious life anew and continues to influence Jewish law, ethics, and theology even today. Akiva’s contribution to the development of Oral Torah cannot be overestimated, and in this first book written in English about the sage since 1936, Hammer reassesses Akiva’s role in the period before the destruction of the temple in 70 CE until the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. He also assesses new findings about the growth of early Judaism, the reasons why Akiva was so outspoken about “Christian Jews,” the influence of Hellenism, the Septuagint, and the canonization of the Hebrew Bible. Ultimately, Hammer shows that Judaism without Akiva would be a very different religion.

The program is the annual Abraham S. Kay lecture, made possible by the generosity of Jack z"l and Barbara Kay.

Although there is no cost for this program, we ask that you register below.

At and Co-sponsored by:

Congregation Har Shalom
11510 Falls Road
Potomac, Maryland 20854


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