E.J. and Sara Evans Scholar of Jewish History and Culture
ON LEAVE IN ISRAEL, 2018-2019
- Ph.D., Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1999-2002
- D.E.A., Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sorbonne, Paris, 1998-1999
- Licence de Théologie, Institut Catholique de Paris, 1994-1998
- Rabbinics, Yeshivat ha-Kibbutz ha-Dati, Ein Tzurim, 1990-1993
- Contemporary Catholicism
- Social History of Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe
I am a historian of religions, having a particular focus on the study of beliefs and practices of lay Jews and Christians from various periods. I am a strong believer in the many intellectual and scholarly benefits of studying more than one religious culture, whether a comparison is intended or not. And let us make it clear: I am Jewish, yes, but I do not believe in any of the transcendental claims of Judaism, Christianity, or any other religion. I am not religious, nor “spiritual”.
Born in Israel, I studied for several years at Yeshivat Ha-Kibbutz ha-Dati of Ein-Tzurim. Later, during a five-year stay in Paris, I studied Catholic theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris, and religious studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sorbonne. I was then appointed a visiting fellow at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University in New York, and, a year-and-a-half later, an assistant professor (special category) in the Department of Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal.
My doctoral dissertation (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2002) was devoted to the conceptualization of menstruation in Jewish and Christian cultures, with a particular interest in the Medieval and Early Modern periods. Its two parts were published as two separate books: Niddah, Lorsque les juifs conceptualisent la menstruation (Les Belles Lettres, 2003), and La Baraita de-Niddah: Un texte juif pseudo-talmudique sur les lois religieuses relatives à la menstruation (Brepols, 2012).
Another book of mine, an Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church, was published in March 2010 by Carmel Press in Israel, being the first-ever book on the matter in Hebrew. A thoroughly revised and adapted English version was published by Routledge in 2014.
Before coming to UNC, I spent four years teaching and doing research at Paideia Institute in Stockholm and Tel Aviv University, as well as a year as a Carey postdoctoral fellow at the Erasmus Institute at the University of Notre Dame, two years at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and one semester at Harvard. Later, I was a fellow for one semester at the Frankel Institute at the University of Michigan.
I am completing now a study of traditional Jewish guides to marital sexuality, and a project regarding Catholics and their neighbors in a small town in North East England in the 1950s-1970s.
For a complete CV, click here.
- Fellow, Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan, Winter 2014
- Starr Fellow, Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University, Spring 2008
- Carey Postdoctoral Fellow, Erasmus Institute, University of Notre Dame, 2006-2007
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Tel Aviv University, 2004-2006
Courses Recently Taught
- FREN 308 Religion in France and in the Francophone World (in French, syllabus)
- RELI 088 Religion and Society in Historical Novels (introductory video)
- RELI 108 Traditional Jewish Literature
- RELI 162 Catholicism Today: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church (+ Online version) (introductory video)
- RELI 450 Sexuality & Marriage in Jewish Tradition & History
- RELI 525 Medieval Jewish Bible Interpretation
- RELI 566 Jewish Legal Literature
- RELI 566 (special) Islamic and Jewish Legal Literature (with Ahmed El Shamsy, poster)
- RELI 662 Advanced Seminar in Contemporary Catholicism
- RELI 697 Religion and Law
Catholicism Today: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church, Routledge, New York 2014
La Baraita de-Niddah : Un texte juif pseudo-talmudique sur les lois religieuses relatives à la menstruation (The Baraita de-Niddah: a Pseudo-Talmudic Jewish Text about the Religious Laws Concerning Menstruation), Brepols, Turnhout 2012
Catholicism Now: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church (Hebrew), Carmel, Jerusalem 2010
Niddah. Lorsque les juifs conceptualisent la menstruation (Niddah: When Jews Conceptualise Menstruation), Les Belles Lettres, Paris 2003
“O My God: Religion in Sting’s Early Lyrics”, The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture (forthcoming, 2019)
“‘Close Your Eyes and Think of These Four’: Correct Thoughts During Sex According to an Important 12th Century Provençal Jewish Author“, The Medieval Magazine 121 (February 2019), pp. 70-79
“The 19th-Century Kitzur Shulhan Arukh: The Story of a Classic Manual of Jewish Law“, Religion Compass 13.2 (2019), pp. 1-9
“Bible, Religion, and Catholicism in Sting’s album and musical The Last Ship“, Studies in Musical Theatre 12.3 (2018), pp. 319-335
“Death, Resurrection, Sacraments, and Myths: Religion Around Sting“, in: Cultural Icons and Cultural Leadership, Edited by Peter Iver Kaufman and Kristin M. S. Bezio, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK and Northampton MA, 2017, pp. 167-185
“Jews, Jesus, and Menstrual Blood“, Transversal: Journal for Jewish Studies 14 (2016), pp. 1-10
“Female Fertility in Talmudic Literature” (Hebrew), Hebrew Union College Annual 86-87 (2015-2016), pp. 47-94
“Women, Men, and Cold Water: The Debate over the Heating of Jewish Ritual Baths from the Middle Ages to Our Own Time” (Hebrew), Jewish Studies: An Internet Journal 12 (2013), pp. 1-37
“Traditional Jewish Sexual Practices and Their Possible Impact on Jewish Fertility and Demography“, Harvard Theological Review 106:3 (2013), pp. 243-286
“La Halakhah. Observée ou ignorée ? Unificatrice ou séparatrice ?” (The Halakhah : Observed, or Ignored? Unifying, or Separating?), Tsafon 65 (2013), pp. 63-71
“Aufklärung als innerjüdische Herausforderung: Rabbi Moses Schreiber, ‘häretische jüdische Doktoren’, und Ritualbäder” (Enlightenment as Inner-Jewish Challenge: Rabbi Moses Schreiber, ‘Heretic Jewish Physicians‘, and Ritual Bathing), DAVID – Jüdische Kulturzeitschrift 94 (Fall 2012), pp. 68-71
“Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo… interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18) – The Biblical Prohibition of Sexual Relations with a Menstruant in the Eyes of Some Medieval Christian Theologians“, in: Shoshannat Yaakov: Jewish and Iranian Studies in Honor of Yaakov Elman, Edited by Shai Secunda and Steven Fine, Brill, Leiden 2012, pp. 271-284
“The Stealing of the ‘Apple of Eve’ from the 13th century Synagogue of Winchester”, in: Henri III Fine Rolls Project, Fine of the Month: December 2011 (With David Carpenter)
“Jews Have the Best Sex: The Hollywood Adventures of a Peculiar Medieval Jewish Text on Sexuality“, Journal of Religion and Film 14:2 (2010)
“The Second Council of the Vatican: Current Debates” (Hebrew), Zmanim 101 (2008), pp. 28-41
“Menstruation in Sacred Spaces: Medieval and Early-Modern Jewish Women in the Synagogue“, Nordisk Judaistik 25:1 (2004), pp. 7-16
“What is Niddah? Menstruation in Judaism”, Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw, November 23, 2017