MEDI 360

MEDI 360 topic: The Lives of Ovadia HaGer

An Italian knight, monk, Jew, and musician walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “Obadiah, what will you have?” This course follows the remarkable life of a medieval Jewish man named Obadiah HaGer. Originally named Johannes, Obadiah was born the second son of a minor Italian nobleman in Oppido, Italy. Setting out to make his fortune, he became a knight and then a Franciscan friar. Eventually, he decided to convert to Judaism and ended up traveling to learn from Jewish rabbis and teachers, until finally settling in Egypt and joining the Jewish community there. Obadiah provides us, among other things, with the earliest known record of Jewish liturgical music, which he wrote down using the system he was taught at his Christian friary. This class will follow the stages and traces of his unique life and use them as windows into the medieval world that he both recorded and reflected.

Instructor: Dr. Shamma Boyarin