Posts by: mzank

I Hate Museums

There. I said it. I hate museums. I just didn’t know until now that I hated them. It took understanding why you might want to hate them for me to acknowledge the aversion. I don’t always hate museums, and there’s always something to do in a museum. For instance, you can go to the café […]

“Maskiert.” Ein “BUMM” zu Moses (Exodus 34)

Mit bestem Dank an Harry Schroeter und sein Team!

Research Cluster: “Religious Structures of Modernity”

By “modernity” in the singular I refer to any and all varieties of modernity as manifest in a plurality of “modernities.” “Modernity” as such refers – in this project – to phenomenal worlds or worldviews situated in both continuity and difference from various medieval and ancient antecedents and that are thus structured by shifts in […]

Statement on Israel Palestine Conflict 2021

Note: The following statement was signed Boston, May 17, 2021. As of today, Friday, May 21, a ceasefire has been declared between Hamas and Israel. The further-going demands of the statement have not therefore been rendered moot. Seventy-three years after the Nakba of 1948, the forced displacement of three quarters of a million Palestinians from […]

Joy and Sadness

Moses Mendelssohn famously argued that mixed sentiments are aesthetically more profound than simple ones.  Profound does not mean pleasing. Pleasing requires something pleasant, but mixed sentiments are not as pleasant as simple ones. A mix of joy and sadness can hardly be more pleasant than joy, pure and simple. Whatever strength joy confers, or expresses, is diminished by sadness. Why […]

Yom Hashoah 2021

Words, on the occasion of the BU Hillel and Elie Wiesel Center candle lighting ceremony, April 8, 2021 I light this candle to remind us that it is not enough to say, Never Again! If we don’t know what it is we are supposed to remember. How can we remember what we never experienced? But […]

Jewish Mardi Gras

Purim, as I see it, is a Jewish version of Mardi Gras. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. In any case, it is not in the Torah of Moses and it wasn’t commanded at Sinai. It was instituted, according to the scroll of Esther, which provides the legend of Purim, by the Persian Jewish community, in the days of King […]

No, Mr. Schwarzenegger, the Capitol Riots were not like Kristallnacht

In a short video, posted on YouTube, the former Conan the Barbarian star and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brandished his stage sword and compared it with American democracy. The tertium comparationis between the “hardened steel” of a sword and American democracy was somewhat nebulous, especially as the brief message ended with a call to “healing.” Is […]

On Fiction and the Bible

Let’s talk about fiction, fictions, belief and the imagination The word “fiction” comes from the Latin verb fingere, which gives us the English name for the digits of our hands, “finger,” which we also use as a verb, when we speak of “fingering someone,” meaning to manipulate (from Latin manus: “hand”). Literally, fiction is something […]

Spring Courses: Holy City and Maimonides