From Pompey to Hadrian, it took the ancient Romans close to two centuries to conquer a restless Jewish people. But Rome’s physical conquest of the Jews led to an ironic counter–reaction: a Jewish (and Christian) conquest of the Roman soul. How did this great spiritual reversal happen? Through readings from classical authors like Livy, Virgil, and Cicero—and Jewish sources like Pirkei Avot and Midrash—this course will examine how a small people—the Israelites—prevailed over the world’s greatest empire. We will explore why the triumph of the Biblical vision of human beings and human history enabled the formation of Western Civilization as we know it. And we will explore the impact of this transformation of Greco-Roman culture through a Jewish lens on philosophy, literature, and religion to this very day.
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Meet the Instructor
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. His current research focuses on the history and practical implementation of classical education in a Jewish setting, and he is both writing a book on the subject and implementing a pilot program for the first integrated classical curriculum in a Jewish school in decades, which was recently featured by The Wall Street Journal. He is also writing a book on Judaism and the history of economic freedom. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Dr. Rocklin was a Resident Research Fellow at the Tikvah Fund and a synagogue rabbi in Connecticut. He is also a Chaplain in the Army National Guard with the rank of Major, as well as the President of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. He holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Yeshiva University, rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University’s affiliated theological seminary, and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His writings have appeared in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, National Review Online, The Forward, and Mosaic.