My research focuses on the literature, law, and social history of the rabbinic movement. In particular, I am interested in how rabbinic food regulations enact and maintain distinct identities. I have just published a new book entitled Rabbinic Drinking: What Beverages Teach Us About Rabbinic Literature (University of California Press, 2020) and a co-edited volume entitled Feasting and Fasting: The History and Ethics of Jewish Food (New York University Press, 2019).
Jean and Samuel Frankel Chair in Rabbinic Literature.
I am a PhD Candidate in Religion at Columbia University, working primarily with the texts and traditions of ancient Judaism within the western Mediterranean context. My current project, entitled Rabbis and Money: on the Logics of Giving in Palestinian Rabbinic Literature, examines the discursive repertoire of transactional giving in rabbinic literature, with particular attention to charity, patronage, donations, and tithes.
Research My book, The Dangerous Duty of Rebuke: Leviticus 19:17 in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation (Brill, 2018), examines the ways in which religious leaders within early Jewish and Christian communities conceived of the obligation to rebuke their fellows based upon the biblical verse: “Do not hate your kinsfolk in your heart, rebuke your fellow but do not incur sin” (Leviticus 19:17). Analyzing texts from the Bible through the Talmud and late midrashim as well as early Christian monastic writings, I expose a shift from asking how to rebuke in the Second Temple period, to whether one can rebuke in early rabbinic texts, to whether one should rebuke in later rabbinic and monastic sources. My next project, tentatively titled Propaganda, Deception, and Censorship: The Rabbinic Production of Knowledge, explores the manifold ways through which the rabbis of late antiquity fabricate history and law. Drawing upon insights from propaganda studies, trauma and postcolonial theory, as well as rhetorical criticism, this project examines rabbinic literature as a microcosm for understanding the partisan construction and dissemination of knowledge in the ancient world.
I am a Ph.D. student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Religious Studies at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology, specializing in New Testament/Christian origins and biblical interpretation. My current research interests include Luke-Acts, early Jewish/Christian identity, and early Rabbinic/Christian scriptural interpretation.
Michail Kitsos is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan specializing in the History of Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity. Kitsos also has an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in Jewish Studies with a major in Rabbinics from Gratz College, Philadelphia, and an MA in Biblical Archaeology from the School of Theology, Department of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His BA is in Theology with a major in the Interpretation of the Old and the New Testament and Patristics from the School of Theology, Department of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research examines intersectionality, particularly, the crossing of religious and societal boundaries and identity formation of religious groups in late antiquity and the early Byzantine period in the Mediterranean world. Specifically, by comparing Greek and Syriac anti-Jewish multivocal texts known as Adversus or Contra Iudaeos dialogues and Rabbinic multivocal narratives between rabbis and “others, Kitsos explores the mechanisms that create and reinforce the binary of “us” and “them” between religious communities and how this binary affects the process of self-representation on the part of the outsider group or “other.” His work examines the rhetorical use and function of the image of the “other” by both Christians and Rabbis in dialogical literature within its historical context, and it helps to understand the birth, formation, and diffusion of stereotypes—a process evident in late antiquity that still occurs today. His research languages include Classical, Hellenistic/Koinē, Ecclesiastical, and Medieval Greek; Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin; Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew; Palestinian and Babylonian Aramaic; Syriac and Coptic.
Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He earned his BS in Chemistry and Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh, and his MPH and Doctorate of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Paull’s career as an environmental toxicologist and scientific expert in the field of occupational and environmental health spans over thirty years (1976 – 2008).
Since that time, Dr. Paull has devoted himself to his passion for Jewish genealogical research and writing. His first book, entitled: “A Noble Heritage: The History and Legacy of the Polonsky and Paull Family in America,” traces his family’s ancestry over a millennium of history, and discovers their lost rabbinical heritage dating back to Rashi (1040–1105). His book was recently featured on the PBS website, “Finding your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”
Dr. Paull is very active in the field of genetic genealogy, and has conducted numerous pioneering autosomal and Y-DNA research studies in which he has identified the unique genetic signature of many of Eastern Europe’s most renowned rabbis and tzaddiks (the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev, Rabbi Raphael of Bershad, Rabbi Yehuda Kahana of Sighet, the Shpoler Zeida), rabbinical lineages (Katzenellenbogen, Polonsky, Rappaport-Cohen, Shapiro) and Chassidic dynasties (Twersky, Wertheim-Giterman).
In addition to his Jewish genealogical research studies, Dr. Paull recently published a Y-DNA research study on the patrilineal lineage of John Hart, the 13th Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one of America’s Founding Fathers.
Dr. Paull’s many genealogy-related book chapters, research articles, and publications have surpassed 30,000 views, placing him in the top one percent of all researchers on Academia.edu. He is a highly sought-after speaker, and he has presented talks on his pioneering Jewish genealogical research studies to many genealogical societies, and International Jewish genealogy conferences across the world.
More in-depth information regarding Dr. Paull’s books, and related genealogy and family history projects, may also be found on his website: https://www.ANobleHeritage.com; and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ANobleHeritage. Research questions may be directed to Dr. Paull at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 2015-2019 I served as Professor of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Exegesis at the School of Jewish Theology, University of Potsdam and at the Abraham Geiger and Zacharias Frankel Rabbinical Colleges. My primary research area is early biblical interpretation, particularly in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other areas of interest are discourse analysis, history of scholarship, and contemporary socio-cultural applications of Biblical scholarship.
I am a practical ethicist who examines questions of sexual, biomedical, and environmental ethics through a Jewish lens. My dissertation used Mishnaic ritual purity discourse as a model for a Jewish ethics of sex and public health. My current project, which expands upon many of the core themes in my dissertation, examines the moral and textual implications of treating sex as one species of social interaction among many. I’ve also written about the ethics of genetically engineered crops, the tensions between autonomy and community in Jewish and feminist thought, the duty to vaccinate, and the ways practical ethicists deploy classical rabbinic texts. I teach courses among many of these same lines. I have taught or am in the process of developing courses on Jewish sexual ethics, Jewish bodies and bioethics, purity in the Abrahamic traditions, argumentation in Jewish traditions, and comparative religious environmental ethics, as well as introductions to Judaism and to religious studies. I make a concerted effort to diversify my syllabi in all these areas, with substantial representation from scholars who are women, LGBTQIA+, people of color, disabled, or otherwise marginalized. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Jewish Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, I was a visiting instructor in Religion and Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. I received my Ph.D from the University of Virginia in 2017. In my copious free time, I enjoy drawing and painting (the header image is my own work), horseback riding, cooking overly complicated meals, and sharpening my ever-growing collection of kitchen knives. I live with my wife, Sarah, and my cat, Faintly Macabre.