EAJS President and Trustee
Professor Elisabeth Hollender (Frankfurt) [website]
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Hollender is member of the Executive Committee and president for the EAJS. She teaches medieval Judaism and a variety of topics in Judaic Studies at the Department of Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt since 2011, having held research and teaching positions at Cologne, Duisburg and Mainz universities, and research fellowships at the Hebrew University Jerusalem and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). She was visiting professor at Graz University.
She holds a PhD in Jewish Studies from Cologne University and a Habilitation from Duisburg University. She specializes in medieval Hebrew poetry and liturgy, and more specifically in Ashkenazic piyyut and its commentaries. In her research, she reconstructs the inner-Jewish cultural transfer with regard to liturgy and piyyut, investigates the potential of liturgy for the reconstruction of medieval Jewish (cultural) history, and uses detailed comparisons to identify individual, regional, and temporal trends. She cooperates with Johannes Niehoff-Panagiotidis in the field of Judeo-Greek texts and with scholars in Georgia in a project on Georgian-Jewish identity narratives. She hopes to embark on a new research project soon that will combine piyyut commentary and digital humanities, making a genre transmitted mainly in manuscript available to a scholarly audience.
Her books include Qedushta‘ot des Simon b. Isaak nach dem Amsterdam Mahsor. Übersetzung und Kommentar (1994), Clavis Commentariorum of Hebrew Liturgical Poetry in Manuscript (2005), Piyyut Commentary in Medieval Ashkenaz (2008), Liturgie und Geschichte. Der Aschkenasische Machsor und jüdische Mobilität im Mittelalter – Ein Methodologischer Versuch (2015), and, with Dagmar Börner Klein, Rabbinische Auslegungen zum Buch Ester (2000). Together with Joachim Yeshaya she edited Exegesis and Poetry in Medieval Karaite and Rabbanite Texts (2016). Together with Annelies Kuyt, she edits Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge – Frankfurt Jewish Studies Bulletin.
Elisabeth Hollender first attended an EAJS congress as graduate student in 1990 (Troyes) and has ever since regarded the European Association of Jewish Studies as important part of her intellectual home, complementing the small departments of Jewish Studies she was and is associated with. International cooperation, inspiration by colleagues from other European countries, and communication among scholars working under partially comparable conditions are among the factors that enable us to advance our research and to develop study programs that will educate the next generation of scholars and teachers in Jewish Studies.
EAJS Secretary and Trustee
Professor Sarah Pearce (Southampton) [website]
Sarah Judith Pearce is Ian Karten Professor of Ancient Jewish Studies at the University of Southampton, where she is based in the Department of History and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, and currently serves as Head of the School of Humanities. She holds a DPhil in Oriental Studies (Jewish Studies) from the University of Oxford, and specializes in the history and literature of the Jews in the ancient world, with a particular interest in the Jews of Egypt and the reception of the Greek Bible. In 2010 she was elected President of the British Association for Jewish Studies and from 2007-2013 was Chair of the Philo Seminar at the Society of Biblical Literature (USA). From 2014-2017 she served as editor of the Journal of Jewish Studies, and is currently associate editor of The Studia Philonica Annual. Her publications include The Land of the Body: Studies in Philo’s Representation of Egypt (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007) and The Words of Moses (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013). She has recently edited a volume of essays on The Image and Its Prohibition in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford: JJS Supplements, 2013). She is currently preparing a commentary on the first known commentary on the Decalogue – the De Decalogo of Philo of Alexandria, to be published in the Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series. Other projects include a co-edited volume entitled Israel in Egypt, and a new monograph history of the Jews of Egypt under Ptolemaic and Roman rule. Sarah first attended EAJS as an early career academic in Toledo (1998) and found it then, as now, a wonderfully welcoming, generous and supportive community of students and scholars. She looks forward to serving the Association as Honorary Secretary over the coming years.
EAJS Treasurer and Trustee
Dr Annelies Kuyt (Frankfurt) [website]
Dr Annelies Kuyt teaches Hebrew, Aramaic as well as multifarious topics at the Department of Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt since 1994, after having held a research and teaching position at the department of Jewish Studies at the University of Amsterdam and a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
She holds a PhD in Jewish Studies from the University of Amsterdam in cooperation with the Freie Universität Berlin and she specializes in early and medieval Jewish mysticism (Hekhalot literature and Haside Ashkenaz) and in Jewish dream interpretation. Her research interests also include Jewish magic.
Annelies Kuyt is the author of The “Descent” of the Chariot. Towards a Description of the Terminology, Place, Function and Nature of the Yeridah in Hekhalot Literature, Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck 1995. She has been a co-editor of several works as well as of the journal Frankfurter Judaistische Beiträge – Frankfurt Jewish Studies Bulletin since 1995, formerly together with Margarete Schlüter, since 2011 with Elisabeth Hollender.
She first attended an EAJS congress as a PhD student in Berlin 1987 and has ever since felt part of the inspiring international community of fellow scholars of the various areas of Jewish Studies. The EAJS provides opportunities for exchanging thoughts on research and study programmes in a friendly and respectful environment.
Former EAJS Secretary and Trustee
Dr François Guesnet (London) [website]
Dr François Guesnet teaches Modern Jewish History in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London since 2008, having held research and teaching positions at Leipzig, Potsdam and Oxford universities, and research fellowships at the Hebrew University Jerusalem and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). He held the Brownstone Visiting Professorship in Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College (New Hampshire) in the autumn of 2017, and short-term teaching positions at Vilnius University (2016) and the Jagiellonian University (Kraków, 2018).
He holds a PhD in Modern History from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg im Breisgau, and specializes in the early modern and 19th century history of Eastern European, and more specifically, Polish Jewry. He is co-chair of the editorial board of Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry. In his research, he looks at Jewish social history in Eastern Europe, the history of Jewish communal institutions and their political culture. He has worked on the history of Jewish-non-Jewish relations and antisemitism, and has developed a passion for investigating the history of the matting of hair.
His book publications include Polnische Juden im 19. Jahrhundert: Lebensbedingungen, Rechtsnormen und Organisation im Wandel (1998), Der Fremde als Nachbar. Polnische Positionen zur jüdischen Präsenz in Polen. Texte seit 1800 (2009), and, with Gwenyth Jones, Antisemitism in an Era of Transition: The Case of Post-Communist Eastern Central Europe (2014). Together with Glenn Dynner he published Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis. Studies in Honor of the 70th Birthday of Professor Antony Polonsky (2015) and most recently the volume Negotiating Religion. Cross-disciplinary perspectives, co-edited with Cécile Laborde and Lois Lee (2017). Among other editorial roles, he is co-editing, with Professor Mark Geller and Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert, the IJS Studies in Judaica, published by Brill Academic Publishers.
As the off-spring of a French-German family, with a specialisation in Eastern European history, and as teacher of modern Jewish history in London, one of the most diverse metropolises on the planet, Dr Guesnet both believes in and enjoys international cooperation. For him, working with the European Association for Jewish Studies is an ideal way to foster further European understanding and integration. He held the role of EAJS Secretary 2014-2018.
Other Executive Committee Members
Professor Edward Dąbrowa (Cracow) [website]
Dr Edward Dąbrowa is Professor of Ancient History at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He was Head of Department of Jewish Studies at the Jagiellonian University (2000 – 2012) and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies (2012 – 2016). He is co-founder of Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia and its former editor-in-chief (2001 – 2016). He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the EAJS since 2010.
His main research fields are: Jewish Studies – the Second Temple Period (especially the Hasmoneans); ancient history – the Near East during the Hellenistic and Roman period, and the Arsacid Iran.
His book publications include: Legio X Fretensis. A Prospographical Study of its Officers (I – III c. A.D.), Stuttgart 1993; The Governors of Roman Syria from Augustus to Septimus Severus, Bonn 1998; The Hasmoneans and their State. A Study in History, Ideology, and the Institutions, Kraków 2010; Studia Graeco-Parthica. Political and Cultural Relations between Greeks and Parthians, Wiesbaden 2011. He is also co-editor (with Hava Tirosh-Samuelson) of The Enduring Legacy of Salo W. Baron, Kraków 2017.
Dr Javier Castaño (Madrid) [website]
Dr Javier Castaño is a tenured scholar in Jewish History in the Department of Jewish and Islamic Studies at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid. He holds a PhD in Medieval History from the University Complutense, and specializes in the study of the Jews in Hispano-medieval societies and the early modern Mediterranean Diaspora, their socio-religious identities and cultural history. He held visiting teaching positions at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and research positions at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), and the University of Oxford. From 2006 to 2015 he has been the editor-in-chief of the journal Sefarad. He published several works on the mobility of the Jews and their cultural characterisation in Hispano-medieval societies, the relations between socio-economic behaviour and religious mentalities, and the objective mechanics of conversion. He has recently edited the book, Una Sefarad inventada, on the controversies of interpretation of Jewish heritage in Spain and Portugal. Currently, he is head of a research project for the edition and analysis of Jewish historical documents and halakhic texts in Hebrew script scattered in libraries and archives throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Ginze Sefarad). He is preparing the paleographical and diplomatic edition of a corpus of medieval historical documents in Hebrew letters from Spain and Portugal.
He became a member of the EAJS at an early stage in his academic career, convinced that the strengthening of the European scholarly interaction and integration would be one of the keys for a better understanding of regional Jewish societies that transcended political and linguistic borders, as well as for the study and safeguarding of their cultural heritage.
Dr Pavel Sládek (Prague) [website]
Pavel Sládek is associate professor at the Hebrew studies program at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where he also earned his Ph.D. He specializes in cultural history of the Jews in Early Modern Europe, especially in Central-Eastern Europe. Areas of particular interest include printed book as a new medium, functions of the paratexts, transformations of reading practices, authorship and transfer of texts, rabbinic literature and the problem of religious authority in Early Modern Judaism. He published several studies on the Maharal of Prague and on David Gans and translated to Czech the books by Joseph M. Davis and Rachel L. Greenblatt. He was a fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies in 2013. He is a co-founder of the Prague Centre for Jewish Studies (2012). His current works in progress include an edition of David Gansʼ Magen David (1612) from the unicum in the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Sixteenth-century editing strategies, based on the paratexts in the Hebrew printed books; the other-side of success: precariousness in the sixteenth-century Hebrew printing; and the Maharal of Prague in the context of the sixteenth-century Jewish thought.
Dr Marzena Zawanowska (Warsaw) [website]
Marzena Zawanowska holds a Ph.D. in Oriental Studies (2008), awarded by the University of Warsaw in cooperation with Tel Aviv University where she conducted her post-doctoral research. She is an Assistant Professor in the Mordechai Anielewicz Center for the Study and Teaching of the History and Culture of Jews in Poland housed in the Institute of History (at the Faculty of History, University of Warsaw) and a Curator of Manuscripts in the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. For many years, she was also affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Cultural Studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and the Department of Hebrew Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw. In 2018 she became a member of the editorial board of Studia Judaica.
Her research interests include medieval Karaite Bible exegesis (especially Karaite, written in Judeo-Arabic), but also the borderlines between Judaism and Islam, as well as the history of Jewish thought and literature. Her authored book on Yefet ben ‘Eli’s Arabic commentary on the Abraham’s cycle appeared in Brill within the series “Karaite Texts and Studies”: The Arabic Translation and Commentary of Yefet ben ʿEli the Karaite on the Abraham Narratives (Genesis 11:10–25:18) (Leiden: Brill, 2012). She was head of a major project in publishing bilingual edition of all Ch. N. Bialik’s (Hebrew and Yiddish) poetry into Polish (2010–2012). Currently, she is conducting a research on the Karaites and Karaism as Portrayed in Medieval Rabbanite Sources.
Professor Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (Paris) [website]
Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (Ph.D. Hebrew University of Jerusalem) is research professor at the faculty for history and philology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL in Paris. His work focuses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Rabbinic Literature. He has always had a foible for combining close reading of sources from very different origins with quantitative approaches. His major current projects are the eRabbinica and Sofer Mahir projects with Hayim Lapin (Maryland) on a digital edition of the Mishnah and digital transcriptions of the major manuscripts of Tannaitic literature with the help of neural networks, Tikkoun Sofrim with Moshe Lavee and Tsvi Kuflik (Haifa) on crowd-sourcing and machine learning applied to automatic manuscript transcriptions, and ThALES, a database of ancient and medieval liturgical Jewish and Christian readings. He participates in the Scripta Qumranica project between Göttingen U, Haifa U, Tel Aviv U, the Göttingen Academy of the Sciences and the Israel Antiquities Authority. All of these projects are possible only through very close collaborations with many colleagues from Europe, Israel and the US.
Dr Simon Mayers (UK) [website]
After studying for a BSc in computation at UMIST and an MSc in artificial intelligence at the University of Essex, Simon spent twelve years working as a business systems consultant (specialising in data warehouse projects) for companies such as Nestle, Boots Healthcare International, Deutsche Bank and Linklaters. Simon then returned to academia, first to pursue a theology diploma at Heythrop College (a Catholic university college – now sadly closed – which specialised in theology and philosophy), followed by an MA in Jewish studies and a PhD in religions and theology at the University of Manchester. Simon is now the Administrator for the European Association for Jewish Studies, a charity whose main objective is the advancement of teaching and research of Jewish studies at European Universities and other places of higher education and learning, and an independent scholar with a general interest in religion and philosophy, and a specialised interest in how Jews and Judaism have been represented in a variety of modern religious discourses. Simon’s PhD examined how Jews were mythologised and stereotyped in a variety of English Catholic discourses during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
As the primary administrator for the European Association for Jewish Studies, Simon reports directly to the EAJS Secretary and the trustees, and is responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the charity. His duties include managing the EAJS finances, ledgers and operating budgets; liaising with accountants and lawyers on auditing and legal matters; administering conference and travel grant programmes; handling the membership administration and communications; managing the association’s IT systems, website and newsflash; preparing progress reports and grant applications to various organisations (such as the Charity Commission and Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe); managing a team of consultants and assistant administrators; and many other day to day tasks required for the efficient running of the charity.