Scholar to offer lectures on Moses, the flood
Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) Provost Dr. Alan Cooper will speak at two Bay area synagogues this month on Moses’ genealogy and questions surrounding “the flood,” as part of the 30th annual JTS Outreach Tampa Bay Lecture Series.
Cooper will speak on “Strange Stories about Moses’s Family” on Sunday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1325 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater. Given Moses’s stature as lawgiver and foremost of the prophets, the Bible’s inattention to his lineage is remarkable. Cooper will explore some of the surprising teachings surrounding Moses’s family.
On Monday, March 20 at 7 p.m. Cooper will speak on “Why Did God Flood the World?” at Congregation Kol Ami, 3919 Moran Road, Tampa.
Several explanations for the flood have been offered, including lessons of morality and human responsibility. Cooper will offer an alternative to the standard interpretation.
The programs are free and open to the public and no registration is required. The series is in partnership with the two host congregations as well as Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa and Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg.
Cooper is the Elaine Ravich professor of Jewish studies and provost at the Conservative movement’s seminary.
Information on JTS website quotes him as saying, “In both writing and teaching, I advocate a threefold approach to critical Jewish biblical scholarship – examining the Bible in its own context, through the lens of Jewish reception through the ages, and in relation to what it might mean today. Generally, the three aspects are at odds with one another, calling for a creative response in which tensions are highlighted and investigated, not resolved in a simplistic way.”
Cooper joined the JTS faculty in 1997 as a professor of Bible, and has served as director of publications and chair of the Bible faculty. In 1998, he was appointed professor of Bible at the Union Theological Seminary, a nondenominational Christian seminary, becoming the first person to hold concurrent professorships at JTS and Union. Previously, he was a professor of Bible at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where for six years he was director of its School of Graduate Studies.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Religion at Columbia University. He went on to do his graduate work at Yale University, earning a master of philosophy degree and doctorate in Religious Studies. He also spent a year in Jerusalem as a Hebrew University postdoctoral fellow.