WMU News

Religion scholar to explore messianic movements in campus lecture

Sept. 28, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- An expert on Jewish messianic movements will present a lecture Tuesday, Oct. 7, as part of the Western Michigan University Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

Dr. Harris R. Lenowitz, professor of Hebrew at the University of Utah's Middle East Center, will deliver an address titled "You Make the Messiah, The Messiah Makes You" at 7:30 p.m. in Room 3512 Knauss Hall. His free public talk also is part of the University's "March to the Millennium" lecture series, which focuses on the impact of millennialism on religious theory and practice.

Lenowitz's talk will explore Jewish messianic movements, focusing on the remarkable personalities of those who claimed to be messiahs. He has been studying the topic since teaching himself Polish two decades ago in order to read the original sayings of Jacob Frank, an 18th-century Polish Jewish messiah. He is the author or co-author of nine books on Jewish literature, Hebrew language and messianic movements, including the 1998 work, "The Jewish Messiahs." He currently is working on a collection of the words of Jacob Frank.

Lenowitz joined the faculty at the University of Utah in 1972, after completing his doctoral degree in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been a visiting fellow and held research appointments at such institutions as the University of Washington, Hebrew University, Haifa University and the University of California at San Diego.

His visit to WMU is being coordinated by the Department of Comparative Religion and co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, persons should contact Dr. David Ede, professor of comparative religion, at (616) 387-4396.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee who oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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