Tour of the Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram (with Prof. Jeff Camhi)
The Roman Catholic Church: From Slavery to Support for Workers Dignity - Prof. Bernadette Brooten
Prof. Brooten took the fellows on a tour through a number of ancient and more recent religious texts pertaining to slavery (Laws of Hammurabi, the Pentateuch, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, the epistles to the Corinthians, the Colossians and the Ephesians, synodical texts, and encyclicals). The fellows engaged in reading and comparing the texts from various angles: What does “being a slave” mean for husbands and wives, for children and parents, for Jews and Non-Jews, for Christian and Non-Christian, for men and women. The thrust of the master class was to show that ancient religious texts provided a theological justification for slavery for centuries and that, in Rerum Novarum, the position of the Roman Catholic Church suddenly changed. The master class intensely debated whether and how fast religion can change, and whether religious texts restricting the master’s powers in the name of God served “human dignity”.