Then and Now
Jewish History

The Meaning of “Torah”: A Report from the Enoch Seminar

A couple of months ago I attended a meeting of the Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy.  The conference, which included an extraordinary range of scholars, grappled with the meaning of the word and concept of “Torah” from the biblical period through Late Antiquity.  There were a mix of session topics and formats and I have...

Telling the Story of the Holocaust in Germany. Or Not.

It must be a daunting task to memorialize the Holocaust. The fact is, there is no real way to do this right. No matter how good your representation, in whatever medium, you know that you will face harsh, withering criticism. There is simply no way around this. The Holocaust is too raw and has too...

Using Video in Religious Studies Classes

A few years back I tried to incorporate video clips into my teaching.  Below is a link to a brief account I recently published in AJS Perspectives on this experiment. What are ways that you find most useful to incorporate sound, images, or other nontextual media into your Jewish Studies classrooms?  

Who Read the Bible in Antiquity?

A video of the lecture that I gave at Trinity University on “Who Read the Bible in Antiquity” to kick off their Lennox Seminar.  Meeting faculty colleagues there and interacting with the students in the seminar were both a lot of fun for me, although I wish that someone told me that my collar was...

There Was a Temple on the Temple Mount

I have many friends who find the New York Times’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be “anti-Israel.”  By this, I think that they mean that given a (surprisingly large) number of possible narratives through which to present a news story, the Times often picks one that lies somewhere within the Palestinian spectrum.  I never...

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religion

For the last several years I have worked as a co-editor on The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religion, “the first comprehensive single-volume reference work offering authoritative coverage of ancient religions in the Mediterranean world.”  It is now available for pre-order, with publication scheduled for December 15, 2015.  While I have my own skepticism about the...

The Ein Gedi Scroll: What We Could Potentially, Maybe Learn

A bit over a month ago the Israel Antiquities Authority announced a stunning achievement: a burnt scroll found in excavations of the ancient synagogue of Ein Gedi in 1970 has been partially deciphered using micro-CT technology.  It turns out to contain at least the beginning of the book of Leviticus and, after the Dead Sea...

American Historical Association

I will be participating in a roundtable on “Jewish History/General History: Rethinking the Divide” at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Monday, January 5, 11 AM – 1 PM.  In this paper I will reflect on historical turn in the study of Jews in antiquity from history to “rabbinics” (some thoughts about that...

Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine Presentation

This is an exciting time for the “Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine” project.  This online project seeks to collect and make accessible all of the published inscriptions from the region from the Persian period through the early seventh century CE.  We have been spending much time changing our data to make it “EpiDoc conformant” (a data standard...

Interview on How the Bible Became Holy

Reform Judaism Magazine has printed an interview with me about my book in their latest edition.  An online version can be found here.

Jewish Time in Early Nineteenth Century America

A new article of mine just appeared in the American Jewish Archives Journal. Abstract: Jewish Time in Early-Nineteenth-Century America: 1–29 In 1806, a clerk in Newport, Rhode Island, by the name of Moses Lopez published the first free-standing Jewish calendar in the Americas. In this article, Satlow investigates both the historical context in which this...

The Self and Science

Several years ago I wrote an article, “‘And on the Earth You Shall Sleep’”: Talmud Torah and Rabbinic Asceticism” (Journal of Religion 83 [2003]: 204-225).  In that article, I compared rabbinic “asceticism” (which I broadly define as a set of self-disciplinary practices and training of the self) to similar techniques employed by contemporary Greco-Roman philosophers...