EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 23, 2013

Biblical scholar to speak at Merrimack College

NORTH ANDOVER — Michael Legaspi, a philosophy and religious studies professor at Phillips Academy, Andover, will speak at the Cassiciacum Dialogue Wednesday Feb. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cascia Hall at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St.

Cassiciacum dialogue is an open discussion led by distinguished philosophy scholars. It is named for Cassiciacum, a town near Milan, now known as Cassago Brianza, where St. Augustine held his first philosophical conversations and his first writings.

Legaspi is a distinguished Biblical scholar and the 2011 John Templeton Awardee for Theological Promise.

He received a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, from Harvard University.

His first book, “The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies” was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. It explores how Enlightenment thinkers developed new academic modes of biblical criticism designed to preserve European culture by replacing older, confessional forms of biblical theology.

Legaspi is working on a second book which will examine how concepts of wisdom have shaped biblical study and interpretation.

Miriam’s Seder

ANDOVER — Passover begins at sundown on March 25.

On March 17, the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation hosts a Miriam’s Seder, in which the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt is told from Miriam’s perspective. It will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. at Temple Emanuel, 7 Haggetts Pond Road.

The event features Seder and dinner. Honorees will be women who made their bat mitzvah.

The word Passover comes from the act of being “passed over,” when the plague of the death of the firstborn came into Egypt.

On the first and second nights of the festival, Jews have a Seder meal, featuring symbolic items | a roasted shank bone representing the paschal sacrifice at the temple and a roasted hard-boiled egg commemorating a holiday offering made at the same time; bitter herbs, for the bitterness of the slaves’ lives; a mixture of fruit, nuts and wine called “haroset,” to represent the mortar the Israelites used when making bricks for the Pharaoh’s buildings; and a vegetable such as celery or parsley, which will be dipped into salt water symbolizing the tears the slaves shed. Salt water or vinegar for dipping is placed alongside all other items.

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