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The Myth of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

April 9 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
UCLA Faculty Center,

Presented by the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion and the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures.

The story of the Twelve Tribes of Israel begins in the Hebrew Bible. But all around the world, there are stories about what happened next – which tribes went where, what might have happened to them, what they might have become. This paper, based on the book by the same name, explores what happens when we think of all of these as part of the same phenomenon: a history of efforts to create new visions of ancient Israel from the twelve tribes tradition that now spans more than 2,500 years and circles the globe.

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Andrew Tobolowsky is an Associate Professor in the Religious Studies Department at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of two books, The Sons of Jacob and the Sons of Herakles, and the book this talk will be based on, The Myth of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. A third, Between Israel and Greece, is forthcoming. Dr. Tobolowsky has also written about the twelve tribes tradition for various online outlets – Ancient Jew Review, TheTorah.com, Bible Odyssey, Ancient Near East Today, and Biblical Archaeology Review – and has been a frequent guest on podcasts and YouTube series.

Moderated by Catherine Bonesho (UCLA)


April 9
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies
(310) 267-5327
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UCLA Faculty Center