The Limits of Scholarship: Questions of Ethics in the Research of Jewish Ritual Music

March 17, 2015 - 18:00 - 19:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Gellner Room
Event type: 
Event audience: 
Open to the Public
Center for Arts and Culture (CAC)
Jewish Studies Project
Photo by Judit Frigyesi

Public lecture and discussion with Judit Frigyesi

Andrea Sturovics will introduce Judit Frigyesi and moderate discussion 


The aim of scholarship is to unearth, organize and make sense of data or, to put it differently, to construct a comprehensible and convincing narrative that explains the meaning, relation, coherence or interdependence of a mass of data. But what if the material resists such a comprehensible scholarly narrative? What if the data emerges from a Weltanschauung (a comprehensive world view) whose essence is incompatible with the systems and verbalizations that would fit the scholarly narrative? What is the task, and what is the responsibility of the scholar in such a case? How could one represent such “data” in a scholarly manner without betraying its essence?


Judit Frigyesi is a scholar and professor of musicology and ethnomusicology, poet, writer and photographer. Her research focuses on the avant-garde trends and forms in 20th and 21st century music, literature and film, the music of Bela Bartok, East-Ashkenazi liturgical and para-liturgical music and the expression of Jewish existence in 19th and 20th century music and literature. She was the only researcher to have systematically collected Jewish prayer music in communist Eastern Europe after the Holocaust. Her experiences and scholarly theory became the topic of her recently published novel-memoir Jelek a vízen [Writing on Water] (Budapest: Libri, 2014).  Her theatrical montage Fleeting Resonances, which combines the fields of research, poetry, film, audio, and live performance, has been performed in Germany, Hungary and Israel.