Lectures and Public Speaking Engagements

Dr. Scheindlin is available for public speaking engagements. To inquire about availability and topics, please contact Dr. Scheindlin directly.

See below for individual lectures and lecture series topics and descriptions.

Previous Lecture Venues
  • Arizona State University (Phoenix)
  • Barnes & Noble (Brooklyn, Philadelphia)
  • Cambridge University
  • Congregation Adas Israel (Washington, D.C.)
  • Cullman Center of the New York Public Library
  • Groliers (Cambridge, MA)
  • Harvard University
  • Library of Congress
  • Poetry Society of America (New York)
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Los Angeles
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Arizona (Phoenix)
  • Washington University (St. Louis)
  • Writers House (Philadelphia)
  • Yale University

Individual Lectures

The Bible and the Quran: An introduction to Islam against the background of the Jewish tradition

People familiar with the Jewish tradition are often surprised to learn how much the two religions have in common, beginning with the many overlappings between the Bible and the Quran. This talk introduces the Quran to non-Muslims, with particular attention to the stories of the prophets, views of the afterlife, and the laws.

The Golden Age of Hebrew Literature

Under the relatively benign rule of the medieval Islamic states in Iraq, Egypt, and Spain, medieval Jewry was able to produce a huge literature in both Hebrew and Arabic, including the especially impressive body of Hebrew poetry. This talk introduces Judeo-Arabic culture, delving into the work of such renowned thinkers as Maimonides and such poets as Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi, with readings from their work.

Vulture in a Cage: The Poetry of Solomon Ibn Gabirol

Ibn Gabirol, one of the greatest poets and philosophers of the medieval Hebrew Golden Age, was a troubled soul who saw himself as a misfit in a world of philistines. In his worldly poetry he speaks of his quest for wisdom, laments his misfortunes, and attacks his contemporaries. His devotional poetry expresses the universal quest for intimacy with the intellectual force that lies beyond this worldly life. This lecture includes readings and interpretations of poems that appear in my 2016 book, Vulture in a Cage.

The Song of the Distant Dove: The Pilgrimage Poetry of Judah Halevi

Halevi is one of the most beloved of medieval Jewish personalities, the author of a key philosophical work and of poems that are still inspiring today. This lecture sketches his early life and tells the story of his famous pilgrimage, records of which have amazingly survived since the Middle Ages. The lecture also includes readings from Halevi’s poems about his pilgrimage from my book The Song of the Distant Dove.

Eros in Medieval Hebrew Poetry and Prose

It may come as a surprise that love is a major theme of medieval Hebrew literature. All the great poets of the Hebrew Golden Age wrote love poetry, which may or many not reflect their actual experiences in life. There is also a body of love stories ranging from the salacious to the spiritual.

This lecture will take up poetry and fiction from Spain and Italy.

The Book of Job as a Poem

Everyone knows the story of Job, but few pay close attention to the eloquent dramatic lament that makes up the main part of the book. This lecture attempts to show that the book represents an attempt to provide a literary, rather than theological, solution to the problem of suffering. The lecture includes readings from my translation of the book.

Lecture Series

Hebrew Wisdom Literature

The literature of proverbs and advice for living goes back to Egypt and Babylonia in all the cultures of the Near East. The first representative of the genre in Hebrew is the biblical Book of Proverbs. This series of three lectures introduces three wisdom books from the Hebrew tradition: Proverbs, Ben-Sira, and Pirqei Avot.

Gardens of Worldly and Spiritual Delights

This series of three lectures deals with the poetry of worldly pleasure and its counterpart, the poetry of spirituality as displayed in the work of the greatest Hebrew poets of medieval Spain.

We will read and discuss selections by such poets as Samuel the Nagid, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, and Judah Halevi.

Tours as Scholar-in-Residence

Sponsored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York
  • Romania and Serbia: September 2016
  • Naples and Sicily: November 2016

Previous tours under the same auspices: Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Provence, Rome and Naples; Croatia.

For more information about MJH tours


Jo Fisher
Program Coordinator
Jewish Heritage Travel Program
(845) 256-0197
Email: jofisher@jhtravel.org
Web Site: www.jhtravel.org