Research

I define myself as a scholar of rabbinic literature and the broader world of late antique Judaism. Trained in the methodologies of rabbinics as well as liturgical, mystical, and ritual studies in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic, my research incorporates sources from non-elite segments of Jewish society that force us to rethink our understanding of Judaism and Jewish history. While only a tiny proportion of the intellectual production of ancient Jews remains, my research investigates how our understanding of the past changes when we decenter the texts of the rabbis, the historical actors who have occupied the central place in the historiography, and instead include intriguing—albeit neglected—sources of evidence from other Jews. Ultimately, my work demonstrates that when we emphasize popular stories, daily prayers, and ritual practices rather than rabbinic legal texts, Judaism and its development can be reconceived of as a series of conversations, confrontations, and collaborations. The result is a fascinating range of Jewish expressions of religiosity in antiquity, demonstrating that the rabbis were reacting to interests among Jews outside their own ranks. By recovering marginalized voices and centering the experiences of ordinary people in antiquity, my research and teaching contribute to rabbinic studies, Jewish history, women’s history, and religious studies more broadly.

For more on my research on angels, see my Angelology page.

For more on my research on inclusive history, see my Jewess History page.

For more on my research on the spatial context of ritual, see my Placing Ancient Text page.

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