New Book Release by Religious Studies Alum

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New Book Release by Religious Studies Alum

Join us in congratulating Samuel Kessler, a 2016 alum of our department. Kessler, now an Assistant Professor of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College, recently released a book entitled Formation of a Modern Rabbi: The Life and Times of the Viennese Scholar and Preacher Adolf Jellinek:


Adolf Jellinek (1821-1893), the Czech-born, German-educated, liberal chief rabbi of Vienna, was the most famous Jewish preacher in Central Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. As an innovative rhetorician, Jellinek helped mold and define the modern synagogue sermon into an instrument for expressing Jewish religious and ethical values for a new era. As a historian, Jellinek made groundbreaking contributions to the study of the Zohar and medieval Jewish mysticism. The Formation of a Modern Rabbi discusses the ways in which Jellinek was emblematic of a new synagogue-based model of rabbi-as-scholar-preacher and returns Jellinek to the center of the Jewish nineteenth century-a world in which the role of rabbi, synagogue, and Jewish studies was being reinvented and renewed.


Samuel Joseph Kessler is Assistant Professor of Religion and Åke and Kristina Bonnier Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. His work focuses on the interaction of religion and modernity in European history and literature. He has written on topics in Jewish history, the history of science, postmodern theory, Holocaust, and American literature. He is the coeditor of Modern Jewish Theology: The First One Hundred Years, 1835–1935 (forthcoming).

Posted in News & Events on December 15, 2022. Bookmark the permalink.