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The Legacy of the Ten Plagues

Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich / April 12, 2021

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The vividly dramatic account of the ten plagues in Exodus 7-12 has long captured the Jewish imagination and given rise to various interpretations and retellings which consider the meaning of this story. This series will open by exploring how Jews in the Second Temple period viewed the story as an origin tale rich with meaning regarding the beginnings of the Jewish people and their chosenness. It then considers the ways in which the legend also intrigued Greeks, Romans, and early Christians, who modified and circulated the story as a way of making a claim about the Jewish people’s origins. The series closes with an examination of how the story of the plagues stirred profound feelings of pride and ambivalence among rabbinic writers who struggled to comprehend the reason for human suffering and the nature of the covenantal God.

Class 1: The Ten Plagues in Early Jewish Memory
Class 2: The Ten Plagues in Greek, Roman, and Early Christian Memory
Class 3: The Ten Plagues in Rabbinic Memory


Session 1 - 04/07/2021


Session 2 - 04/14/2021


Session 3 - 04/21/2021



Posted: 04/07/2021

Posted: 04/14/2021

Posted: 04/21/2021

Source Sheets

  Session 1 Posted: 04/07/2021
  Session 2 Posted: 04/14/2021
  Session 3 Posted: 04/21/2021

Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich

Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich is the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies and the director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is the author of The Making of Jewish Universalism: From Exile to Alexandria (2016), and Discovering Second Temple Literature: The Scriptures and Stories That Shaped Early Judaism (2018), which received the 2019 AJL Judaica Reference Honor Award. Simkovich’s articles have been published in journals such as the Harvard Theological Review and the Journal for the Study of Judaism, as well as on online forums such as The Lehrhaus,, and the Times of Israel. She is involved in numerous local and international interreligious dialogue projects which help to increase understanding and friendship between Christians and Jews.


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