Books & Bridges: Nathan Devir - Salt Lake City

Books & Bridges: Nathan Devir

Books & Bridges: Nathan Devir

Sep 20, 2018, 6:30 pm


Books & Bridges: Nathan Devir

Book Title

Strained Boundaries: Exclusivism versus Pluralism in the Literature of Chaim Potok


Salt Lake City

Wasatch Front Region


Weller Book Works
607 Trolley Sq
Salt Lake City , UT 84102-2827
Map [+]


On September 20, Books and Bridges and Weller Book Works welcome Nathan Devir and his presentation "Strained Boundaries: Exclusivism versus Pluralism in the Literature of Chaim Potok".

The award-winning novelist and rabbi Chaim Potok often referred to himself as a zwischenmensch (Yiddish: an "in-between person") with respect to his own religious and social identity; and the characters that populate his novels also exhibit this same existential malaise. Finding Orthodox Judaism too restrictive, and secular American culture too permissive, they are unable to belong wholeheartedly to either milieu. This lecture by University of Utah Jewish Studies professor Nathan Devir will use Potok's literary works to showcase what it means to be an "in-between person" in modern society, regardless of one's particular faith group, especially when the loyalty to that group often proves difficult to reconcile with the freedom to explore one’s own personal spiritual and artistic visions allowed for in secular culture.

Nathan P. Devir, one of the world's leading experts on African Jewry, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Utah, where he also directs that institution's Middle East Center/Middle East Studies Program and Religious Studies Program. Devir's academic research analyzes subjects such as Jewish civilization and history, Israeli society, Hebrew language, African cultures, and general topics surrounding religious and ethnic diversity.

Books & Bridges is a community institute of ideas and conversation. Our mission is to facilitate discussion on the best of human thought. We explore the wisdoms of the world and apply them to modern life. We have no political, religious or ideological affiliation. In a society divided by uncivil discourse, the beauty of the humanities—novels, history, philosophy, poetry, ethics and epics—lifts us to our better angels. In our busy world we need space for friends and fellow learners to do a little more heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind.

This event is made possible with support from Books & Bridges, Weller Book Works, and Utah Humanities.