This article originally appeared as part of The Future of the Past Lab at UMN Classical & Near Eastern Religions & Cultures at: Ancient texts are dangerous (1). The Bible, by which I mean the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, is especially dangerous when it informs political and ethical decisions. It would be irresponsible for us as teachers of the Bible and other ancient literature to teach only the sections… read more about Destroying Amalek »

Edith London, In Flight, 1995. Mixed media, 13 x 16 inches (33 x 40.6 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Museum purchase and partial gift of Lee Hansley Gallery; 1997.25.1. Courtesy Nasher Museum of Art “It’s fulfilling to have a collaborative public outcome born from a course,” Saskia Ziolkowski, associate professor in Romance Studies, admits. She’s referencing Mapping Jewish Modernism, an exhibit currently on view through August at the Rubenstein… read more about Charting the Landscape of Jewish Modernism »

The Department of Religious Studies at Duke University invites applications for a position at the rank of associate professor with tenure. The appointment will be in the Department of Religious Studies but is pursued in collaboration with Duke’s distinguished Center for Jewish Studies. The search committee welcomes applicants working in any field involving the study of Jewish religious culture, experience, history or thought in the modern era. The committee seeks applicants with strong evidence of commitment to scholarship… read more about Position in Religious Studies: Associate Professor »

Memory touches nearly every aspect of our lives and profoundly shapes culture, suggests Brett Ashley Kaplan, director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. How we represent ourselves, both individually and collectively, draws on the stories we tell about our past, which depend in part on memory. “Fiction is also theory, it also theorizes memory, and makes readers grasp in profound ways how sticky memory can be,” said Kaplan, who has been appointed… read more about Visiting Scholar to Explore Memory, Aesthetics and Displacement During Keohane Professorship at Duke and UNC »

This article originally appeared on   The Passover Haggadah concludes with a series of songs, the first of which is וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה, Vayhi BeChatzi HaLayla, “It Came to Pass at Midnight” (Exod 12:29). The song, however, was not written for Pesach night, nor is it an independent composition. Instead, it was part seven of the poem אוֹנֵי פִטְרֵי… read more about It Came to Pass at Midnight—From the Amidah to the Passover Haggadah »

 This article originally appeared on Religion News Service:… A scholar of Jewish studies airs a few inconvenient lessons of Hanukkah Prominent Middle East archaeologist Eric Meyers offers a view of Jewish uprisings, including those that followed the Maccabees, and their actual consequences.   December 19, 2022 By Mark I. Pinsky (RNS) — Hanukkah, which began Sunday, commemorates the heroic resistance of a group of Jewish… read more about A scholar of Jewish studies airs a few inconvenient lessons of Hanukkah »

The Duke Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to welcome our 2022-23 Perilman Post-Doctoral Fellow, Anastasiia Strakhova.  Dr. Strakhova received her Ph.D. at Emory University specializing in Modern Jewish history, Eastern European history, and migration. Internationally trained in Jewish Studies and History, she completed her undergraduate degree at International Solomon University in Ukraine, and then earned a master’s degree at Central European University in Hungary. In her dissertation, “Selective Emigration:… read more about 2022-23 Perilman Post-Doctoral Fellow, Anastasiia Strakhova »

When Judah Goldin was named Duke’s first chair of Jewish Studies in 1943, the program was housed in the Graduate School. Twenty-nine years later, the Center for Jewish Studies was established—thanks to two visionaries, two universities and a host of generous donors. Today, as the Center for Jewish Studies celebrates its golden anniversary, it has become a world-renowned interdisciplinary program offering an undergraduate certificate in Jewish Studies and supporting master’s and doctoral candidates across Duke. Looking… read more about For 50 Years, the Center for Jewish Studies Has Delivered Interdisciplinary Insight »

This originally appeared at:  It is widely recognized in scholarly circles that there was a flourishing of interest in traditional Jewish life in Eastern Europe among German speakers in the early twentieth century. Martin Buber gave lectures on Chassidism, Franz Kafka attended the Yiddish Theater, and Arnold Zweig and Alfred Döblin wrote quasi-ethnographic accounts of traditional Jews in the towns and shtetls of… read more about Translators on Books That Should Be Translated: Soma Morgenstern’s "Der Sohn des verlorenen Sohnes" (1935) »

This article originally appeared as a guest post on "The Bart Ehrman Blog: The History & Literature of Early Christianity."  September 23, 2021   An important book on understanding the Bible recently appeared: The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christian Read the Same Stories Differently, by Marc Zvi Brettler and Amy-Jill Levine.  I have asked both authors to provide a guest post or two, and here is the first.  Marc Brettler has long been a… read more about Christian Stereotypes of “the God of the Old Testament.” Marcion is Alive and Well and Well and What To Do About It. »

EXTENDED Call for Applications Duke University Joseph Shatzmiller Fellowship in Jewish Studies  North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar Due Date: September 5, 2021 The North Carolina Jewish Studies Seminar invites applications for graduate fellows interested in participating in the life of the seminar. Named after Joseph Shatzmiller, an eminent Duke University Jewish historian and a longtime member of the seminar, these fellowships offer an opportunity to learn more about a… read more about Shatzmiller Fellowship Deadline EXTENDED! »

Judaism, Religion, and Law: From the Roman Empire to Modern Israel   Have you ever heard Judaism described as “legalistic,” or wondered why the New Testament distinguishes “the letter of the law” from “the spirit of the law”?  In this course, we will investigate the concept of “Jewish law” from the ancient Roman empire to the modern state of Israel. What makes a legal text “Jewish,” and how did Judaism become indelibly associated with law? And what role does law play in determining religious identity in diverse… read more about Fall 2021 First Year Seminar: Judaism, Religion, and Law: From the Roman Empire to Modern Israel »

Statement of Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Violence We are stunned by the anti-Asian mass shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families who have suffered from this senseless act. This is not an isolated incident and comes out of the current-day repetition of long-standing racist sentiments targeting various minority communities fueled by political rhetoric. Since March 2020, the former U.S. president and his allies have relentlessly scapegoated people of Asian… read more about Statement of Solidarity Against Anti-Asian Violence »

The Duke Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce the establishment of The Ostad Fellows in Jewish Studies, made possible by a generous gift from Michael and Alonna Ostad, P’22 & P'24. Ostad Fellowships will be awarded for undergraduate research in Jewish Studies; and preference will be given to proposals that focus on Jewish-Muslim relations and/ or women in Sephardic Judaism.  Other proposals in Jewish Studies will be considered depending on available funds. Students will be required to submit: a… read more about The Ostad Fellowship in Jewish Studies »

As part of its event series tgiFHI, the Franklin Humanities Institute is conducting interviews with its faculty speakers in order to familiarize broader audiences with the diversity of research approaches in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences at Duke University. Dr. Laura Lieber is Professor of Religious Studies, Classical Studies, German Studies, and Divinity, and director of the Duke Center for Jewish Studies. In this edited and condensed interview, she describes why she's interested in the… read more about Meet Your Humanities Faculty: Laura Lieber »

We are delighted to welcome Sarah Baker to the Hebrew Language program in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.  Professor Baker has a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (with a specialty in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East) from the University of Texas at Austin, where she taught both Biblical and Modern Hebrew for several years and received the student-nominated Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Award. She has developed a variety of innovative Biblical Hebrew curricula (in-person and online… read more about Sarah Baker joins the Hebrew Language Program! »

After receiving his BA in Middle East studies and political economy in 2006 from Evergreen in Olympia, WA, Eli Sperling pursued an MA in contemporary Middle Eastern history at Tel Aviv University (2010). He has traveled and conducted research extensively throughout the Middle East, spending significant periods of time in Israel, Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula and received his PhD from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in September 2019. From 2012-2020, Eli served as the Senior Academic Research Coordinator at Emory… read more about Eli Sperling joins the Center as the AMES Post-Doc »

The Duke University Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce that Dr. Pratima Gopalakrishnan will join the Duke Center for Jewish Studies in the Fall 2020 as the Perilman Post-Doctoral Fellow.  Dr. Gopalakrishnan is a historian of Near Eastern Jewish communities in the first millennium CE, with particular interests in topics that include free and unfree labor, sexuality, and economic history. Currently a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at University of Pennsylvania, she will receive her… read more about Pratima Gopalakrishnan joins the Duke Center for Jewish Studies  »

Last week’s killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani has raised a number of legal and strategic questions for which there seem to be no consensus, including among Duke faculty. Charles J. Dunlap Jr., a professor of the practice of law and executive director of the law school’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, said President Donald Trump’s directive to kill Soleimani was “lawful self-defense” as authorized by the United Nations Charter, not an unlawful assassination. “Because Soleimani was engaged in… read more about Killing of Iranian Commander Raises Legal, Strategic Questions »

Shore Undergraduate Research Fellows, Andrew Carlins (’21) and Grant Besner (’19), have created an exciting project focusing on podcasts that share untold stories in Israel.  Their website, Is(That)Raeli? explores Israeli culture through these voices.  Besner and Carlins spent 10 weeks interviewing Israelis from all walks of life, from an Eritrean asylum seeker to the American-Israeli former spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces, painting a much more nuanced, much more human portrait of a… read more about Shore Scholars Give Voice to Untold Israeli Stories »

Tamar Rachkovsky, Perilman Fellow at the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, screens her documentary "Home in E Major" in it's world premier at the Edinburg International Film Festival, Sunday, June 23, 2019. Observing the everyday routines and dramatic upheavals of a cross-generational and multicultural shared house, Rachkovsky turns a story about her own move from Jerusalem to Durham, North Carolina, into a powerful and moving reflection on emotional bonds, mutual care, ageing and death. As the connection between the young… read more about Tamar Rachkovsky to screen "Home in E Major" at Edinburgh Film Fest »

The Duke Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Grace Kessler Overbeke as our Perilman Postdoctoral Fellow for 2019-20. Dr. Overbeke works at the intersection of Jewish Studies and Theatre Studies.  She recently completed her dissertation on the life and work of Jean Carroll, the first Jewish female stand-up comedian—“the real Mrs. Maisel.”  This project developed out of her interests in female Jewish comedians and autobiographical performance among marginalized… read more about Duke Center for Jewish Studies welcomes Grace Overbeke  »

Ben Ferencz, the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, joins his son, renowned international lawyer Don Ferencz, and Michael Scharf, dean of Case Western School of Law, to consider the future of international law and the International Criminal Court at Duke University of January 31, 2018.   View the full video here.          read more about Full Video: Ben Ferencz, Nuremberg Prosecutor, Speaks at Duke University »

"Ben Ferencz, the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, advocated for 'law, not war' to a crowd of several hundred packed into Sanford Fleishman Commons and other adjoining rooms Wednesday.  "At 27 years old, Ferencz became the chief prosecutor for the U.S. Army at the Einsatzgruppen trial—his first case—which tried 22 defendants for the murder of more than a million people. Deemed 'the biggest murder trial in history' by the Associated Press, the trial resulted in the conviction of all the defendants.… read more about Ben Ferencz, Last Living Nuremburg Prosecutor, Comes to Duke »

See full article at Duke Chronicle.  "Students in the first-year seminar, named Values in Action, partnered with the Philanthropy Lab, a national philanthropic organization, to present a combined $101,000 in grant funding to a variety of organizations Monday. President Vincent Price, speaking before the students at the presentation, said that he believes philanthropy is ingrained into the culture at the school.   “Virtually everything that is done at this University day in and day out—every course… read more about Jewish Studies Students distribute $101,000 in grants for Philanthropy Lab »