University of South Carolina

Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship: 'The Chosen Peoples'

By Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-7704

The notion that America and Israel share a providential destiny will be the focus of this year’s Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship Thursday, Oct. 4, at the University of South Carolina.

Columbia University scholar Todd Gitlin will discuss the sacred idea that the two nations were chosen to do God’s work. Gitlin’s lecture, titled the same as his book, “The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel and the Ordeals of Divine Election,” which he co-wrote with Liel Leibovitz. The lecture will take place at 8 p.m. in the campus room at USC’s Capstone House.

“What unites these two allies in a ‘special friendship’ is less a joint strategic interest than this lasting, burdensome and inspiring belief that they were chosen by God. Both rivals and adversaries have adapted this idea for their own purposes,” said Gitlin, whose talk will weave history, theology and politics to explain the deeply ingrained and complicated belief of “chosenness.”

Earlier that day, Gitlin will join USC College of Arts and Science scholars for a symposium titled “The Belief in Divine Election and the History of Nations.” The panel will take place from 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. in Rutledge Chapel on USC’s Horseshoe.

The lecture and the symposium are free and open to the public.

Moderated by Lawrence Glickman, Carolina Trustee Professor and chairman of the history department, the panel will take a broad look at the providential beliefs of nations throughout history.

Panelists and their topics are:

Carol Harrison, associate professor of history, “The French Revolution and the Expulsion of God”;

Dean Kinzley, associate professor of history, “No Election Required: Japan’s Divine Emperor(s)”;

• Adam Schor, assistant professor of history, “Early Christian and Roman Chosen-ness: Confidence and Anxieties”;

David Shields, McClintock Professor of Southern Letters in the Department of English Language and Literature, “The American New Jerusalem” and

• Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology, “The Wild and Crazy Idea of Chosenness.”

Gitlin, a scholar, novelist and poet, has written 15 books, including “Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street,” published by Harper Collins and the novel “Undying.” He has earned numerous books awards. He is chairman of Columbia’s Communication Program. Prior to joining Columbia’s faculty, Gitlin taught at the University of California Berkeley and New York University.

The Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship in Jewish Studies is funded by Judith and the late Melvin Solomon of Charleston and Samuel and Inez Tenenbaum of Columbia. Speakers have included Elie Wiesel, Thomas Cahill, Deborah Lipstadt and Thomas Friedman. It is one of the premiere lectureships sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Jewish Studies program and the university.

For more information on the Solomon-Tenenbaum Lectureship, visit the website or call Ann Cameron at 803-777-9201.

If you're going...

  • Lecture: "The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel and the Orfeals of Divine Election"
  • 8 p.m., campus room at Capstone House
  • Panel: "The Belief in Divine Election and the History of Nations"
  • 1:30 - 2:45 p.m. in Rutledge Chapel

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Posted: 09/06/12 @ 5:20 PM | Updated: 10/02/12 @ 5:10 PM | Permalink