As the bubonic plague made its way westward from China in the 14th century, Christians, Muslims, and Jews in its path thought anxiously about what practices of public health and of piety might save them. In the 21st century, as COVID-19 spreads (much more rapidly) around the globe, we see similar debates over public health and religion. In this virtual Harper Lecture, Divinity School dean David Nirenberg will compare his research on reactions to the Black Death in the Middle Ages with the results of polling on religion and COVID in the United States today.
Registration for this event is free but required.
David Nirenberg has written widely about the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures interrelate. His books include Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (1996, Princeton University Press), Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (2014, W. W. Norton & Company), Neighboring Faiths: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the Middle Ages and Today (2014, University of Chicago Press), and Aesthetic Theology and Its Enemies: Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics (2015, Brandeis University Press). In addition to his scholarly publications, he has written for the London Review of Books, the Nation, the New Republic, Raritan, and Dissent and contributed to numerous documentaries and films in Europe and the United States. Professor Nirenberg teaches in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of History at the University of Chicago, and he is dean of the Divinity School.