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Diversity and Rabbinization

Gavin McDowell
Ron Naiweld
Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra


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1 Ra‘anan Boustan (PhD, Princeton University, 2004) is a Research Scholar in the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University. Before coming to Princeton, he was Associate Professor of Ancient and Jewish History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Boustan’s research and teaching explore the dynamic intersections between Judaism and other ancient Mediterranean religious traditions, with a special focus on the impact of Christianization on Jewish culture and society in Late Antiquity. Boustan is the site historian for the Huqoq Excavation Project in lower eastern Galilee and collaborates on the publication of the mosaic floor of the Huqoq synagogue. He is Editor-in-Chief of two journals, Jewish Studies Quarterly and Studies in Late Antiquity.

2 Robert Brody (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1982) is Professor Emeritus of Talmud at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His many publications in the field of rabbinic literature have focused mainly on Geonic literature, Mishnah, and Tosefta. He is currently completing a commentary on tractate Ketubbot of the Babylonian Talmud.

3 José Costa is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure (Fontenay St-Cloud, 1995). He holds a PhD (University of Paris 8, 2001) and a ‘habilitation à diriger des recherches’ (École Pratique des Hautes Études, 2011). Costa is currently Full Professor at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. His teaching and research focus both exegetically and historically on ancient rabbinic literature within the wider Jewish, pagan, Christian, and early Islamic contexts. He has published extensively on eschatological issues. He is co-editor of the Revue des études juives and the Collection de la Revue des études juives.

4 Yoram Erder (PhD, Tel Aviv University, 1989) is Professor of Jewish History at Tel-Aviv University. He has published widely on Jews, Rabbanites, and Karaites in the Medieval Arab world, among other subjects. His publications include Studies in Judaeo-Arabic Culture (ed. 2014, in Hebrew), Studies in Early Qaraite Halakha (2012, in Hebrew), the Festschrift Moshe Gil (2018, in Hebrew) and The Karaite Mourners of Zion and the Qumran Scrolls: On the History of an Alternative to Rabbinic Judaism (2017).

5 Geoffrey Herman (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2006) is Directeur d’études at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris (EPHE-PSL), where he holds the chair of Ancient Judaisms and Classical Rabbinic Literature. The recipient of the Bertel and Eliezer Shimshon Rosenthal Prize for Talmudic Scholarship in 2015, he spent 2018 as a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His research is focused on the Jews of Babylonia in the Talmudic Era, which he seeks to understand in the light of the broad Sasanian culture. His publications include A Prince without a Kingdom: The Exilarch in the Sasanian Era (2012); the recently edited volume, together with Julia Rubanovich, Irano-Judaica VII, Studies Relating to Jewish Contacts with Persian Culture throughout the Ages (2019); and ‘Priests without a Temple: On Priests and Rabbis of Sasanian Babylonia’, Journal of Ancient Judaism 11 (2020), 148–60.

6 Giancarlo Lacerenza (PhD, University L’Orientale, Naples, 1994) is Full Professor of Biblical and Medieval Hebrew at the University of Naples L’Orientale, where he is carrying out a long-term project concerning the Jewish epigraphs and antiquities of Venosa. His main research interest is the history and culture of the Jews in Italy between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

7 Lee I. Levine received his doctorate from Columbia University and his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he taught in the Department of Jewish History and the Institute of Archaeology. He has taught as a Visiting Professor at Yale, Harvard, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the Pontifical Gregorian University at the Vatican, and he has lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. His scholarship encompasses a broad range of topics related to ancient Judaism—especially archaeology, rabbinic studies, and Jewish history—including the ancient synagogue, ancient Jewish art, liturgy, the Galilee, Jerusalem, and Hellenism. Professor Levine has written over 200 articles and thirteen books, including: Caesarea under Roman Rule (1975); The Rabbinic Class of Roman Palestine in Late Antiquity (1989); Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity: Conflict or Confluence? (1998); Jerusalem: Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period (538 B.C.E.–70 C.E.) (2002); The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (2005); and, most recently, Visual Judaism in Late Antiquity: Historical Contexts of Jewish Art (2012).

8 Gavin McDowell (PhD, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, 2017) is a membre régulier spécial of the Institut d’études anciennes et médiévales at Université Laval (Québec). His doctoral thesis examined the relationship between the rabbinic Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and two cognate works, the Second Temple Book of Jubilees and the Syriac Cave of Treasures. He is currently working on a project entitled ‘Old Testament Saints: The Pseudepigrapha as Hagiography’. His research interests include the reception of biblical, deuterocanonical, and parabiblical literature within Judaism and Christianity.

9 Ron Naiweld (PhD, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2009) is a researcher at the CNRS and a member of the Centre de Recherches Historiques in Paris, France. A historian of rabbinic Judaism, he is particularly interested in the history of rabbinic discourse and its spread among Jews. Among his publications are a book about the ethics of the self in the Talmud, Les antiphilosophes. Pratiques de soi et rapport à la loi dans la littérature rabbinique (2011), and another about the history of biblical myth, Histoire de Yahvé. La fabrique d’un mythe occidental (2019).

10 Capucine Nemo-Pekelman is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris, Nanterre, where she teaches legal history. Her research interests lie in the political and legal history of the Jews during Late Antiquity. She has published Rome et ses citoyens juifs. 4e-5e siècles (2010). She has coedited (with J. Tolan, N. De Lange and F. Foschia) Jews in Early Christian Law. Byzantium and the Latin West. 6th–11th centuries (2014) and (with K. Berthelot and N. Dohrmann) Legal Engagement. The Reception of Roman law and tribunals by Jews and other inhabitants of the Empire (2021). She is currently focusing on the history of Jews in the Latin West.

11 Christian Robin is Emeritus Directeur de recherche, classe exceptionnelle, at CNRS, where he has served as Documentalist and Researcher since 1970. His research interests lie in the history of Arabia from ancient times to the early centuries of Islam. He has been a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres since 2005 and was honored to receive a Festschrift, Sabaean Studies, in the same year. Prof. Robin is the founder and Director of the French Center of Research in Sanaa, ‘Centre français d’Études yéménites’ (Yemen, 1982–1986). He has directed several research institutions: the Institut de Recherches et d’Études sur le Monde arabe et musulman (Aix-en-Provence, 1997–2000), and the Laboratioire des Études sémitiques anciennes, Orient & Méditerranée (Paris, 2001–2011). He has also led and directed two archaeological teams: the French Archaeological Mission in Yemen (1978–2008) and the French Archaeological Mission in Najrân, Saudi Arabia (2006–2019).

12 Günter Stemberger (ThD, University of Innsbruck, Austria, 1967) is Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on rabbinic literature and Jewish history before the advent of Islam. His publications include Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (1996; updated German version: Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch, 2011); Jews and Christians in the Holy Land: Palestine in the Fourth Century (2000); Mose in der rabbinischen Tradition (2016).

13 Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2001) is Professor of Hebrew and Aramaic Language, Literature, Epigraphy, and Paleography (4th century BCE–4th century CE) at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL, in Paris and member of the research center Archéologie et philologie de l’Orient et de l’Occident (UMR 8546). His research focuses on early rabbinic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish-Christian relations, and Computational and Digital Humanities. His publications include The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity (2003), Qumran (2016), the edited volumes L’identité à travers l’éthique (with K. Berthelot and R. Naiweld, 2015) and Scriptures, Sacred Traditions and Strategies of Religious Subversion (with M. Blidstein and S. Ruzer, 2018), and the digital publications THALES: THesaurus Antiquorum Lectionariorum Ecclesiae Synagogaeque, a digital edition of the Mishnah (with H. Lapin), and the open-source platform eScriptorium for automatic transcription of handwritten texts (with P. Stokes, M. Bui, B. Kiessling, and R. Tissot).

14 Michael D. Swartz is Professor of Hebrew and Religious Studies at the Ohio State University and received his PhD at New York University. His research focuses on the cultural history of Judaism in Late Antiquity, early Jewish mysticism and magic, and ritual studies. He is the author of The Mechanics of Providence: The Workings of Ancient Jewish Magic and Mysticism (2018); The Signifying Creator: Non-Textual Sources of Meaning in Ancient Judaism (2012); Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism (1996); Mystical Prayer in Ancient Judaism (1992); and co-author, with Joseph Yahalom, of Avodah: Ancient Poems for Yom Kippur (2005) and, with Lawrence H. Schiffman, Hebrew and Aramaic Incantation Texts from the Cairo Genizah (1992). He also served as the Associate Editor for Judaica for the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion (2005).

15 Michael Toch, born 1946 in London, is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History in the Department of History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has served as visiting faculty in the universities of Heidelberg, Trier, Cambridge, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Yale, and Philadelphia. His research deals with the economic, demographic, and social history of medieval peasantry and medieval European Jewry. His latest book is The Economic History of European Jews: Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages (2012).


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