Conference: Images of Perfection (Jerusalem)


Religion, aesthesis, and philosophy. I’m very excited to be part of this interdisciplinary conference, January 5-7 at the Hebrew University. Much of the brains behind it were Shai Secunda’s, whose work on Talmud is spinning out into aesthetic culture.


(Monday, January 5)

I Perfection and Imperfection

Justin McDaniel (University of Pennsylvania): Creating Utopian Spaces in Modern Buddhist Asia

Jonathan Garb (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): The Imperfect History of Perfection in Jewish Mysticism and Buddhism

(Tuesday, January 6)

II Divine Perfection

Zachary Braiterman, (Syracuse University): Anthropomorphism and the Architectural Imagination: The Perfect Image of God Inside the Holy of Holies with Simon the Righteous and Jean Baudrillard

Moshe Halbertal (Hebrew University): TBA

Jonathan Stavsky (Scholion): St. Augustine on Divine Perfection and the Uniqueness of Scripture

III Constructing Perfection

Don Handelman (Hebrew University): Cosmos Organic and Cosmos Machined: Paiditali’s Kingdom and The Book of Lord Shang

Mira Balberg (Northwestern): The Perfection of Action: On the Rabbinic Vision of Animal Sacrifice

IV The Price of Perfection

Yonatan Moss (Buber): Attaining Perfection: A Late Ancient Greek Ascetic Journey

Haim Weiss (Ben Gurion University): The Father’s Gaze: Reading a Series of Talmudic Stories on Childrearing and Frustrated Expectations

Shai Secunda (Buber): “The Path of Work and Deeds”: Failed Ritual and the Invention of Zoroastrian Praxis

(Wednesday, January 7)

V Achieving Perfection

Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony (Hebrew University): “A Person of Silence”: Perfection in Late Antique Syriac Ascetic Culture

Rupert Gethin (University of Bristol): Reality Beyond Conditions: Knowledge and Purification in Indian Buddhist Thought

Sharon Weisser (Tel Aviv University) Ratio perfecta: ratio possibilis? The Attack and Defense of the Stoic Wise Man


VI Perfection in Life and Death

Michael Ebstein (Buber): Divine Men, Animal Men: Modalities of Human Perfection in Islamic Mysticism

Domenico Agostini (Van Leer Institute): The Perfect Birth and Seed of the (Im)perfect Zarathustra

Eviatar Shulman (Scholion): Understanding the Buddha’s Death


The Idea of Perfection

Jessica Frazier (The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies/ The University of Kent): The Eyes of the World: Approaches to Human Perfection in Hindu Thought

Karin Nisenbaum (Scholion): Schelling’s Perfectionism and Rosenzweig’s Judaism

José María Sánchez de León Serrano (Buber): Spinoza on Perfection and Infinity



About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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