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Visiting Scholars 2017-2018

Prof. Yair Zakovitch – “Studying the Hebrew Bible

Yair Zakovitch is the Emeritus Father Takeji Otsuki Professor of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His primary research interests are the Bible as literature, biblical thought, and ancient interpretation of the Bible. Prof. Zakovitch served as Head of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, and also as its Dean of Humanities. He has published numerous books and articles.

Prof. Avigdor Shinan – “Halacha, Aggadah, Midrash, Targum and Liturgy”

Avigdor Shinan was born in Prague 1946 and arrived to Israel in 1949. His academic studies (BA, PhD) were at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has taught since 1972 at the Department of Hebrew Literature (full professor since 1998 until his retirement in 2014). His fields of research are the Midrashic and Aggadic literature, the Aramaic Translations of the Bible and the Jewish Prayer book. His list of publication contains more than 140 scholarly articles and 10 books.

Prof. Motti Zalkin – “The Jewish Society in Modern Era – Between Tradition and Modernity

Motti Zalkin was born in Jerusalem and received his university training at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is an associate professor of modern Jewish history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. His special fields of interest are the social and economic history of the Jews in Eastern Europe, mainly in Lithuania, and the history of Jewish education in Eastern Europe. Among his publications are A New Dawn: The Jewish Enlightenment in the Russian Empire – Social Aspects (2000); From the Hidden Treasures of Jewish Vilna: Historical Documents From the Annals of Lithuanian Jewry (2001); The City of Vilna (Ed.)(2002); From Heder to School: Modernization Processes in Nineteenth Century East European Jewish Education (2008).

Dr. Eran Viezel – “Reading the Bible with Medieval Eyes”

Eran Viezel graduated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the Bible department. He teaches at the department of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Beer Sheba). His main field of research is Jewish exegesis to the Bible. His list of publication contains the books, The Commentary on Chronicles Attributed to Rashi (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2010), To Settle the Plain Meaning of the Verse: Studies in Biblical Exegesis (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 2011; with Sara Japhet), tens of academic articles, and in addition two books of poems and two novels.

Prof. Shulamit Valler – “Talmudic Stories and Debates

Shulamit Valler is an emeritus professor of Haifa University. She was a professor of Talmud, Midrash and Jewish law, and Chair of the Jewish History department at the University of Haifa. Her numerous publications  include Women and Womanhood in the Babylonian Talmud(1993 Hebrew, 1996 English), Women in Jewish Society in the Talmudic Period (2000 Hebrew), Massekhet Sukkah –A feminist commentary on the Babylonian Talmud(English 2009), Sorrow and Distress in the Talmud(English 2011, Hebrew  2012). Her book ” shades of happiness in the Talmud” is now in publishing proceedings.

Dr. Ariel Zinder – “Four Medieval Andalusi Poets and Their Wonderful Complications”

Ariel Zinder teaches at the Literature department at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His primary research interests are Hebrew liturgical poetry (Piyyut), Hebrew poetry from Muslim Spain, and the dialogue between contemporary literary theory and medieval texts. He is also a published poet and translator.

Prof. Jesper Svartvik – “Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations: From Sour Grapes to Sacrament

Professor Jesper Svartvik is Krister Stendahl Professor of Theology of Religions at Lund University and at the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem.

Prof. Meir Bar-Asher – “Judaism and Islam: Contact and Conflict as reflected in the Qur’an and Muslim tradition

Meir Bar-Asher was born in the village of al-Rashidiyya in south-east Morocco brought up and educated in Jerusalem. He has done his academic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His Ph.D. dissertation on early Imami-Shi`i exegesis was submitted in 1991. During his Ph.D. studies he learnt for one year in the university Sorbonne in Paris. He teaches at the department of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he has been the director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies. Professor Bar-Asher is an expert on Quranic Studies and Shi`i Islam. He is the author of several books and of numerous articles in the field of Imami Shi`ism and Quran.

Prof. Daniel Lasker – “Philosophy and Polemics in Medieval Jewish Thought

Daniel J. Lasker is the Norbert Blechner Professor of Jewish Values in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. He holds a Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. from Brandeis University, and also studied at Hebrew University. Prof. Lasker has taught at Yale University, Princeton University, University of Toronto, Ohio State University, University of Texas, University of Washington, Boston College and other institutions. He is the author of over two hundred publications in the fields of medieval Jewish philosophy (especially on the thought of Rabbi Judah Halevi), the Jewish-Christian debate, and Karaism. His most recent books are From Judah Hadassi to Elijah Bashyatchi: Studies in Late Medieval Karaite Philosophy (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008); and The Sage Simhah Isaac Lutski. An Eighteenth-Century Karaite Rabbi. Selected Writings (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute, 2015 [Hebrew]).

Prof. Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman – “Jewish Law from the Ancient Near East to the Israeli Supreme Court

Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Law, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Affiliated Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and History, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. A social, economic, and legal historian of Jewish life in the medieval period in the lands of Islam, his 2014 book The Business of Identity: Jews, Muslims, and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt (Stanford University Press) was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His current research examines and challenges the received wisdom regarding Jewish urbanization under early Islamic regimes and subsequent migration of Jews from Iraq to the Islamic Mediterranean.

Dr. Yael Lin – “Modern Jewish Philosophy

Yael Lin teaches at both Ben-Gurion University and Achva Academic College, and is the pedagogical consultant for the Department of Learning Technologies at Ben-Gurion University. She is the author of The Intersubjectivity of Time: Levinas and Infinite Responsibility (Duquesne University Press, 2013), Time and Human Existence: Aristotle, Bergson, Heidegger, Levinas (Resling Publishing, forthcoming), and the editor of Levinas Faces Biblical Figures (Lexington Books, 2014).

Prof. Rachel Elior – “Kabbalah Mysticism and early Hasidism

Rachel Elior is John and Golda Cohen Professor Emerita of Jewish  Philosophy and Jewish Mystical Thought at the Hebrew University of  Jerusalem.  She has been the Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she studied and got her PhD Summa Cum Laude (1976) and where she taught between 1977-2014. She is the author of numerous works on Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism, including: The Paradoxical Ascent to God: the Kabbalistic Theosophy of Habad Hasidism (Albany: SUNY 1992); The Three Temples: On the Emergence of Jewish Mysticism (Oxford: Littman 2004); The Mystical Origins of Hasidism (Oxford: Littman 2006); Jewish Mysticism: The Infinite Expression of Freedom (Oxford: Littman 2007) and Dybbuks and Jewish Women in Social History, Mysticism and Folklore (NewYork: Urim 2008).  Men and Women: On Gender Judaism and Democracy (ed. R. Elior), Van Leer Institute and Urim Publications, Jerusalem 2004; Memory and Oblivion On the Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Van Leer Institute 2009)[Hebrew] ; Israel Ba’al Shem Tov and his Contemporaries (Jerusalem : Carmel 2014) [Hebrew].

Dr. Meir Ben Shahar – “Judaism/Judaisms: An Introduction to Religious Jewish History from 586 BCE to 640 CE

Meir Ben Shahar was born Jerusalem. He studied and received His Ph.D. in Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He teaches at the Department of Jewish History at the Hebrew University and Sha’anan College. His primary research interests are historical consciousness in ancient Judaism, rabbinic literature, Second Temple literature and Josephus.

Barbara Spectre – “Perspectives on the Jewish Calendar

Barbara Lerner Spectre is the Founding Director of Paideia.  She was formerly on the faculty of the Hartman Institute of Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where she taught Jewish Thought. She was among the founders of the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem. Her area of research is in models of inference in Christian and Jewish post-Holocaust theology, for which she received a research grant from Yad V’Shem Institute. Barbara’s publications include “A Theology of Doubt” (Hebrew) and, together with Noam Zion of the Hartman Institute, the two-volume “A Different Light: The Hannukah Book of Celebration.” In 2007, she received the prestigious Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora.

Prof. Uri Cohen – “Power and Sentiment: Modern Hebrew Literature and its Subjects

Uri S. Cohen, where he teaches Hebrew and Italian literature at Tel Aviv University. He served on the faculty of MESAAS at Columbia University 2004-2011 and moved to Tel Aviv through an award from Yad Hanadiv foundation. His latest publication is The Security Style (2017), a study of the Hebrew culture of war.

Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger – “Jews and Words: A Secular, Cultural Perspective”

Fania Oz-Salzberger is Director of Paideia and Professor of History at the Faculty of Law and Center for German and European Studies, University of Haifa. She previously also taught at Monash University and at Princeton University. Fania was raised in Kibbutz Hulda on modern Hebrew culture and the kibbutz movement’s creative understanding of the Jewish legacy. Her Oxford University thesis became her first book, Translating the Enlightenment: Scottish Civic Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, 1995). Her main field is the history of political ideas in Europe, especially their transfer between cultures and languages. She also researches Jewish ideas in historical perspectives – from early modern political Hebraism (Grotius to Hobbes) to her current work on Jewish textual nationhood. Her most recent book, Jews and Words (Yale, 2012), co-authored with Amos Oz, has been translated into 13 languages. Fania is deeply engaged with public and current affairs, and takes part in an ongoing Israeli-European dialog. Her book Israelis in Berlin first appeared in Hebrew and German in 2001, with a new edition in 2014.

The following is a sample list of some of the scholars that have taught at Paideia in previous years:

Dr. Rachel Furst (Hebrew University)

Dr. Roni Weinstein (Hebrew University)

PhD Assaf Tamari (Ben Gurion University)

Dr. Howard Deitcher (Hebrew University)

Chaya Gilboa, Jerusalem

Dr. Esti Eisenmann (Hebrew University)

Prof. Boaz Huss (Ben-Gurion University)

Prof. David Zisenwine (Tel-Aviv University)

Prof. Elchanan Reiner (Tel Aviv University)

Prof. Emmanuel Tov (Hebrew University)

Prof. Ephraim Meir (Bar-Ilan University)

Prof. Freddie Rokem (Tel-Aviv University)

Prof. Hamutal Bar Yosef (Ben-Gurion University)

Prof. Hilary Putnam (Harvard University)

Prof. Israel Knohl (Hebrew University)

Prof. Jacob Milgrom (University of California, Berkeley)

Prof. Jo Milgrom (GTU)

Prof. Michal Lyons (London South Bank University)

Prof. Moshe Halbertal (Hebrew University)

Prof. Robert Alter (University of California, Berkeley)

Prof. Ruth Anna Putnam (Wesseley College)

Prof. Sinai Turan (ELTE, Budapest, Hebrew University)

Prof. Tamar Ross (Bar-Ilan University)

Prof. Yair Lorberbaum (Bar-Ilan University)

Prof. Zvi Zohar (Bar-Ilan University)

Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard (Bar-Ilan University)

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman (Shalom Hartman Institute)

Ass. Prof. Evyatar Marienberg (JTS)

Dr. Chana Safrai z’’l (Hebrew University)

Dr. Diana Pinto (Institute for Jewish Policy Research)

Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov (University of Haifa)

Dr. Marc Hirschman (Hebrew University)

Dr. Nehama Verbin (Tel-Aviv University)

Dr. Rachel Freudenthal (Alma College)

Dr. Vivian Mann (JTS)

Dr. Yair Shifmann (Hebrew University)

Dr. Yitzhak Benbaji (Bar-Ilan University)

Fanya Gottesfeld Heller (NY)

Prof. Steven E. Aschheim (Hebrew University)