Date: 9 June 2023
Time: 15:00 - 16:30
Location: Main Building VU, room 14A20

Seminar with Jeremy Brown: ‘On the Myth of Jewish Pandemic Exceptionalism’

On June 9, the Stevin Centre and the HDC Centre for Religious History are hosting a seminar at VU Amsterdam with Jeremy Brown on his new book The Eleventh Plague: Jews and Pandemics from the Bible to COVID-19.


15:00 Jeremy Brown, lecture ‘On the Myth of Jewish Pandemic Exceptionalism’
15:45 Response 1: Jessica Roitman (VU)
16:00 Response 2: Manon Parry (VU)
16:15 Discussion
Afterwards drinks.

Location: Room 14A20, Main Building, VU Amsterdam

Abstract of presentation

In his recent book The Eleventh Plague; Jews and Pandemics from the Bible to COVID-19, Jeremy Brown examined the evidence for the belief that because the Jews died in fewer numbers, saved by their religious rules of hygiene, they were thought to be responsible for causing the Black Death in Europe. Jeremy will present the new evidence he uncovered that demonstrates that this belief is incorrect, and explores why such a myth would evolve.

Jeremy Brown is a physician and historian of science and medicine. His books include New Heavens and a New Earth: the Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought (Oxford University Press 2013) and Influenza: the hundred Year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history (Simon and Schuster 2018). He is the Director of the Office of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health, USA.

Jessica Roitman is Professor of Jewish Studies in the Faculty of Religion and Theology at VU Amsterdam.

Manon Parry is an academic researcher and exhibition curator. She is Professor of Medical History at the VU Amsterdam, and Senior Lecturer in American Studies and Public History at the University of Amsterdam.

Jeremy Brown