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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

Howard Rein Lecture Event

Howard Rein
21 January 2020
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton SO171BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of an annual series of lectures organise by the Parkes Institute.

Professor Mark Geller
Professor Mark Geller

Medical Authority in the Babylonian Talmud

There is a surprising amount of medicine in the Babylonian Talmud.   Did Babylonian rabbis invent their own form of Jewish medicine, or did they acquire specialist training in medicine?  Did they learn about medicine in the course of studies of halachah?   Were doctors as well as rabbis mentioned in the Talmud, and if so, who had more authority in medical matters?   This talk will focus on the career of one famous Babylonian scholar, Abbaye, and his particular interests in medicine and medical recipes, as an example of how rabbis applied medical knowledge.

Speaker Biography

Mark Geller received his first degree from Princeton University in 1970 his doctorate in 1974 from Brandeis University in the USA.

From 1973-76, Mark Geller served as Rothschild Teaching Fellow at Jews' College London , and in 1976 he was appointed to a Lectureship at University College London (UCL), where he has been teaching ever since.  He became Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at UCL in 1983, and in 1984 he became Professor and Head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at UCL.

He received an Honorary Doctorate from the New Bulgarian University in 2009 and has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sofia University.  He received a Festschrift in 2018.

Mark Geller has had many visiting fellowships.  He was an Alexander von Humboldt-Fellow at the University of Munich, Institute of Assyriology and Hittitology, in 1980-81, and he has frequently been invited back as Humboldt-Fellow in Leipzig and Berlin.   He was twice invited (1995, 2001) as a Fellow to the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies in Wassenaar (NIAS) as a participant in research groups on magic and medicine.   Between 2007-2009, he was regularly invited as Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin.

Between 2010-2018, Mark Geller was invited to serve as Professor für Wissensgeschichte in the Topoi Excellence Cluster at the Freie Universität Berlin.   During this period, Mark Geller became PI of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant BabMed, on ancient Babylonian medicine.   Since 2018, MG has returned to UCL.

Mark Geller has authored or co-authored 9 monographs and edited 10 books, as well as publishing many articles and reviews on topics of ancient magic, medicine, and culture, mostly in the fields of Assyriology and Jewish Studies.

Kind donation

Howard Rein's widow, Corinne, is also generously offering to colleagues and students books from Howard’s quite extensive Jewish studies book collection. The collection is general - from Salo Baron’s history of the Jews and Dubnow, to volumes on British and American Jewish history, Israel and Zionism, antisemitism, Holocaust related, including Judaica. You will be welcome to help yourself before or after the lecture


Please note this lecture will be livestreamed - you can join the lecture here


Please note this is a free event however we request you book a place using the Book this event button above.

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