Philip Alexander, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Post-Biblical Jewish Literature, University of Manchester, lectured on the Messianic Idea in Judaism, 16-19 April 2012, in Manchester, UK. You can go here and you can see videos of the lectures. There are four of them. Here’s the series abstract:
Messianism is integral to the theology of Judaism, and is one of the big ideas that Judaism has bequeathed to the world, influencing, as it has, profoundly, Christianity and, to a lesser degree, Islam. Much has been written on the subject, but much, I would argue, remains to be said. In this series of lectures I will attempt to draw together more than twenty years of thinking and writing on Jewish Messianism to present a systematic account of my ideas. I will offer a critical overview of previous scholarly work, discuss the problems of defining Messianism (a surprisingly tricky task), trace the history of Messianism within Judaism from earliest times to the present, and then offer a series of probes into three particular versions of the Messianic Idea – Messianism as a historical-political process, Messianism as a drama in the spiritual realm, and “neutralized” Messianism – all based on close reading of primary sources. I will then propose a descriptive, analytical grid which will attempt to capture comprehensively the structure and key motifs of Jewish Messianism, onto which any specific form of the phenomenon can be mapped, and its distinctive character, as opposed to other forms of Messianism, ascertained. I will conclude by offering, as a historian of Judaism, some reflections on the implications of my analysis for the future of Jewish theology and for Jewish-Christian dialogue.
Many thanks to James Aitken for pointing this out.