Shraga Bick

Shraga Bick's picture
Blaustein Post Doctoral Associate Ancient Judaism

Shraga Bick is a Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in Ancient Judaism. He completed his doctoral dissertation, titled “The Bodies of the Law: Commandments Discourse in Late Antiquity”, under the supervision of Prof. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony at the department of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2022). In his dissertation Bick examines the discourses on the Law and on the body in rabbinic literature and in early Christian texts, beginning with the New Testament and with Paul’s critic of both body and Law, and continuing with fourth and fifth eastern Christian authors. He examines how within Jewish literature the problem regarding the Law is not necessarily about which Law as it is about individuation processes, that is, about how should the Law be divided, and what are the relations between different parts of the Law. On the Christian side, his work demonstrates how the Law and the Symbolic Jew can function in a surprising positive sense, as part of an attempt to legitimize different types of Christian practice. His work seeks to examine both cultures beyond the perspective of direct influence, interaction, or polemics, and to demonstrate how instead of seeing the concept of “the Law” as something that clearly distinguishes between Jews and Christians in the early first centuries, the two religions should be seen as participating in a shared and continued complicated discourse on the meaning of the Law.

In his current project, Bick focuses on the rise of Prayer as a central religious category in late antiquity. He is especially interested in examining how instructions regarding a proper way of prayer reshape the “praying body”, as part of broader fundamental transformations that prayer undergoes, as both Jews and Christians attempt to redefine prayer in light of theological, social and institutional changes in late antiquity.