UCLA Scholar to Speak on Intersection of Ancient Jewish and Christian Cultures
The Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute will host Ra’anan Boustan, an associate professor of ancient and Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Boustan will speak on, “The Holy Remains: Tokens of Cult and Kingship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity,” at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.
Bouston will discuss how the discourse of relics from the biblical past indexes broader patterns in the politico-theological contest between Jews and Christians concerning the meaning of imperial conquest and power.
Boustan completed his bachelor’s degree in classics at Brown University in 1994, and received a graduate degree in classics and religious studies from the University of Amsterdam during his stay in the Netherlands as a Fulbright Fellow in 1994–95. In 2004, he completed his PhD in the department of religion at Princeton University. He held a Harrington Fellowship in 2011–12 in the department of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and has twice been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003-2004, and in 2007-2008.
As a historian of early Judaism trained in the study of ancient Mediterranean religions, Boustan seeks to position ancient Jewish society and culture within the shifting transcultural and transregional contexts of the Graeco-Roman world. His teaching and research focus on the Jewish literary culture of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Palestine. His work emphasizes the ways that this evidence can shed light on the dynamic intersections between Jewish and other Mediterranean cultures, Greek, Roman, and Christian. He employs a rich combination of linguistic and analytical tools, from Semitic and Classical philology to postcolonial theory and discourse analysis, in order to situate ancient Jewish culture and society in a varied historical, disciplinary, and theoretical landscape.
Boustan is the author of From Martyr to Mystic: Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism (2005) and has co-edited six published or forthcoming volumes, most recently Hekhalot Literature in Context: Between Byzantium and Babylonia (2013). He is currently completing a book entitled The Holy Remains: Tokens of Cult and Kingship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity.