Ethnobotanical Insights into Biblical Life and Language

Lecture | February 19 | 10-11:30 a.m. |  UC Botanical Garden

 Botanical Garden

Metaphors drawn from nature and daily life helped the ancient Israelites to connect with the Bible, but modern readers often find them remote and difficult to understand. Why, for example, was Noah told to build an ark of “gopher wood”? There is no tree by that name. How did wormwood (Artemisia spp.) come to symbolize social corruption? What characteristics made olive trees the model of care for elderly parents and an inspiration for national reconciliation after civil conflict? Biblical and Talmudic ethnobotanist Dr. Jon Greenberg of will be our guide as we use Middle-Eastern natural history and the history of food and agriculture to explore these and other mysteries.

Jon will also be leading walks through the Garden on February 18 at 11am and 2pm - Learn more and register here:

Dr. Greenberg received his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Brown University and his Master’s and Doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He has also studied with Rabbi Chaim Brovender at Israel’s Yeshivat Hamivtar and conducted research on corn, alfalfa, and soybeans at Cornell, the US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cancer Research. Since 1989, he has been a science teacher and educational consultant. Dr. Greenberg was Senior Editor of science textbooks at Prentice Hall Publishing Co. Previously on the faculty of Yeshivas Ohr Yosef, the School of Education at Indiana University, and the University of Phoenix, he has taught at the Heschel School since 2008. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools, and botanical gardens. Dr. Greenberg can be contacted at

 $12, $10 UCBG members (Price includes Garden Admission)

  Register online, 510-664-7606