The theme for the 2018 retreat is ecology and technology. The idea is to engage Talmudic texts in an attempt to raise and think through and with them basic questions concerning the contemporary discourse, both in academia, theory and politics, on environmental issues. Our humble attempt is less about finding “solutions” and more about identifying and contemplating basic assumptions, concepts and questions that are at work in current and historical, actual and potential discourses. What is the basic concern of ecology? In what sense is it political, in what sense theoretical? What conceptions of world, nature, life and human action, in particular technology, are operative in contemporary debates? What kind of conceptual and ideological, epistemological and textual decisions do they imply – and conceal? What kind of space does Talmud offer for thinking these questions?
The Talmudic texts chosen to explore this theme are Mishnah Taanit Chapters 1-3; and Talmud Bavli Taanit 5a-10a, which is a long sequence of talmud relating to Mishnah Taanit 1.2 (chapter 1, section 2).