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David Kraemer is a professor of Talamud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a long-time associate at CLAL (The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership). He is author of several books, including The Mind of the Talamud: An Intellectual History of the Bavli and, most recently, Reading the Rabbis: The Talamud as Literature. Kraemer has just completed a manuscript on Jewish death-ways in Late Antiquity.


Abstract of paper given at Judaism and Ecology conference:
Jewish Death Practices: A Commentary on the Relationship of Humans to the Natural World

Metcalf and Huntington (Celebrations of Death) show how a people's death rituals might re-enact crucial elements or assumptions of its creation myth. The creation myth, of course, will define or "establish" a people's relation to the natural world. In this paper, I employ this insight to examine rabbinic attitudes concerning the relation of humans and the natural world. By examining rabbinic burial customs and their associations to Jewish creation myths, I uncover fundamental rabbinic beliefs concerning the place of humans in the created natural world.

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