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Scholar of the Week

Gregory Kaplan

Gregory Kaplan

Gregory Kaplan, Lindsay Young Professor of Spanish, was recently awarded an NEH Fellowship for his project, “Saul Levi Morteira, Spinoza’s Enlightened Rabbi: A Critical Edition of Obstáculos y oposiciones contra la religión christiana en Amsterdam.” Obstáculos was composed by Morteira (c. 1596-1660) during the early 1600s as a manual for instructing conversos (Spanish and Portuguese forced converts to Catholicism fleeing the Inquisition) in Jewish doctrines and rituals.

During the 2014-15 academic year, Kaplan has also been awarded a UT Humanities Center Fellowship to work on his project, which will include the first translation from Spanish into English of Obstáculos as well as a monograph that situates Rabbi Morteira as a bridge between rabbinic thought in the nascent Dutch Republic and the political ideas of Morteira’s most renowned student, Baruch Spinoza (1632-77). In particular, Kaplan will be focusing on Morteira’s dialog with contemporary Dutch thinkers such as Petrus Cunaeus and Hugo Grotius concerning the concept of democracy.

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