Huntingdon News

November 29, 2011
For immediate release:

Huntingdon College
News Release

Huntingdon lecture focuses on Jewish symbols in Christmas art

Montgomery, Ala.—Rabbi Michael Cook, the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, will discuss "The Jewish Bible in Famous Christmas Art: Why It's There and What It Means," Thursday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Ligon Chapel, Flowers Hall at Huntingdon College.  The talk will feature visual representations from the art of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Jan van Eyck, among other artists, and will focus on how Jewish biblical symbols punctuated famous Christian Renaissance art, particularly annunciations, nativities, and adorations of the Magi. The use of these symbols, drawn from Adam, Eve, and the serpent; Moses; King David; Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; Daniel in the lion's den, etc., demonstrates the degree to which Christians acknowledged their Jewish roots.  Cook's appearance is part of the Rothschild-Blachschleger Lecture and Culture Series, a joint venture between Huntingdon College and Temple Beth Or. The lecture, co-sponsored by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life, is free and open to the public.

Cook is the author of Modern Jews Engage the New Testament, now in its third printing with sales fueled largely by Christian audiences.  Joseph B. Tyson, professor emeritus of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, wrote in a review of this book, "Superb.  Builds on Cook's mastery of sound New Testament scholarship with innovative interpretations and lucid [expression]. ... Useful for laity, clergy and scholars, [and] essential for [those] dedicated to Christian-Jewish dialogue."  The Rev. Peter A. Pettit, director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., wrote: "[Cook offers] sharp insights, broad scholarship and straight language [opening] up the world of the New Testament and the dynamics that produced it. [He is] provocative without being explosive."  Books will be available for sale by Capitol Book & News and for signing by Rabbi Cook following the lecture.

Considered an expert and leader in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, Cook speaks widely to Christian and Jewish audiences.  He studied at Hebrew University-Jerusalem, was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-New York, and earned his doctorate at HUC-JIR-Cincinnati.  His specialty is New Testament studies.

Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world.  Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college.

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