The Female Contribution to Generation in Medieval Hebrew Texts
13 April 2021
Our senior fellow Resianne Smidt van Gelder-Fontaine will give a lecture on the treatment of the female contribution to the formation of the embryo in medieval Jewish texts. The lecture will be online.
Date April 13, 2021
Abstract Several medieval Hebrew scientific and medical encyclopedic texts addressed issues related to procreation. Such issues were hotly debated in the Middle Ages since the two main classical authorities on which these texts drew, Aristotle the philosopher and Galen the physician, held quite different views about essential topics in the domain of zoology. One of the topics discussed was the question of what the female contributed to the formation of the embryo and the nature of the so-called female semen. In my lecture, I will examine how some medieval Jewish authors treated these questions.
Resianne Smidt van Gelder-Fontaine studied Semitic languages at the University of Amsterdam (NL). She has taught at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (1994–2001) and in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Amsterdam (2001–2019). In 2007 and 2012, she participated in research groups at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. Her field of research is medieval Jewish philosophy and science, specifically Arabic-into-Hebrew translations. Among her publications are In Defence of Judaism: Abraham Ibn Daud (1990) and Otot ha-Shamayim: Ibn Tibbon’s Hebrew Translation of Aristotle’s Meteorology (1995). Forthcoming is A Hebrew Encyclopedia of the Thirteenth Century: Natural Philosophy in Judah ben Solomon ha-Cohen’s Midrash ha-Ḥokhmah. She is involved in the Hamburg PESHAT project and together with Reimund Leicht, she is editor of the journal Aleph: Historical Studies in Science & Judaism.
You can find the poster and the recording of the lecture here.