SMU Department of Religious Studies

Levine Lecture Series in Jewish Studies


Created through a generous $125,000 gift from local residents, Nate and Ann Levine, the series brings to SMU distinguished scholars in all areas of Jewish studies, including history, religion, philosophy, literature, art, and interfaith relations. Lectures are held twice a year, September through November and February through April, at 7:30 PM in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. All lectures are free and open to the public, and no reservations or RSVPs are necessary. Free parking is available on the SMU campus.

For additional information or to sign up for the series' e-mail list, contact Dr. Shira Lander, Department of Religious Studies,


Past Levine Lectures


Fall 2006

“Jews, Jesus, and 'Gospel Dynamics': Reversing Intentional Ignorance”

Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati


Spring 2007

“Maintaining Jewish Identity in a Challenging Christian Environment: The Case of Medieval Europe”

Robert Chazan, S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University

Fall 2007

“From Jesus to Shylock: The Merchant of Venice in Theological Context”

Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

Spring 2008

“Jesus and Judaism”

Amy-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, Vanderbilt University


Fall 2008

“Faith after Auschwitz: Jewish and Christian Responses to the Holocaust”

Zev Garber, Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies, Los Angeles Valley College

Spring 2009

“The Binding of Isaac and the Crucifixion of Jesus”

Jon Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard Divinity School


Fall 2009

“Reading the Bible after the Holocaust”


Marvin A. Sweeney, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Claremont School of Theology, and Professor of Religion, Claremont Graduate University


Spring 2010

“Christian Jews? The New Communities of Jewish Believers in Jesus”

Yaakov Ariel, Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill             


Fall 2010    


“Johnny Cash in the Holy Land: Christian Zionism and American Popular Culture.”


Shalom L. Goldman, Professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern Studies, Emory University


Spring 2011


“Scriptural Community, Scriptural Conflict: Judaism, Christianity, Islam”


David Nirenberg, Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought, University of Chicago    


Fall 2011    


“The Truly Other Jewish World History: The Ten Lost Tribes between Jews and Christians”


Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Acting Director of Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University


Spring 2012


“The Menorah and the Cross: A New Discovery Illuminates the Jewish-Christian Split in the Roman World”



Steven Fine, Professor of Jewish History, Yeshiva University, New York

Fall 2012


“The Ethics of a Shepherd”

Yoram Hazony, Founder and Provost of Shalem Center in Jerusalem


Spring 2013


“What Do we Do with Genesis? Feminism and Bible in the 21st Century”


Tammi J. Schneider, Professor of Religion and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Claremont Graduate University


Fall 2013

“The Death of the Gods, or,
When Monotheism was Born, Where Did the Gods Go?”

Richard Friedman, Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego


Spring 2014


“Balancing Identities: The Jews of Cochin, South India”


Nathan Katz, Distinguished Professor, Florida International University


Fall 2014


“Judaism and Darwinism”


Shai Cherry, founder Shaar Hamayim: A Jewish Learning Center and co-founder Kosher 2.0, a kosher certifying organization that promotes ethical business practices, and Rabbi

Spring 2015


“Holy Words in Hollywood: The Ten Commandments and American Identity”



Adele Reinhartz, Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada

Fall 2015


“Genetics and the Jewish Diaspora”


Michael F. Hammer, director of the University of Arizona Genetics Core at the Arizona Research Labs Division of Biotechnology, and associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Anthropology


Spring 2016


“Imagining a Vibrant Future for American Judaism”


Arnold Eisen, a leading expert on American Judaism and the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary


Fall 2016


"The 50 Best Jewish Jokes and What They Show About the Human Condition"


Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, leading Jewish public intellectual and author of more than fifteen books about Jewish ethics, literacy, history, and humor

Spring 2017
  "Diverse Jewish Families in 21st Century America"

Prof. Sylvia Barack Fishman, co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life at Brandeis University


 Fall 2017
   "What's So Divine About Divine Law?"

Prof. Christine Thomas, Robert F. and Patricia R. Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica