Global Humanities Distinguished Lecture with Ruth HaCohen (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Three Moments of Silence/Lament on the Death of God: Venice ~1500, Leipzig 1724, Berlin ~1900
Ruth HaCohen (Pinczower) is the Artur Rubinstein Professor of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and between 2013-2015 officiated as the Head of the School of the Arts. In April 2014 she was appointed as the director of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
God died centuries before Nietzsche's madman exclaimed that "you and I have killed him": This colossal event was dramatized when artists started to focus on the moment of the death of the Lord and his dead body after the crucifixion and before his burial. The crying over his passing away never stopped. Depicted through silence or expressed in lamentation, could we view these moments as subversive manifestations against institutional religion or even faith? And how would present day audiences differ from their original historical addressees in approaching these works? Through comparative reading of such moments, in painting (Carpaccio), music (J. S. Bach), and poetry (Else Lasker-Schüler), across three confessional frameworks (Catholicism, Lutheranism and Judaism, respectively), I will trace the transfigurations of a basic anxiety in modern Western culture, whose reverberations persist in our post-secular world.