Jewish Engagements

Much of Jewish culture and history has been informed by the relationship Jews had with members of other religious communities. This series publishes monographs and article collections on all aspects of Jewish culture but most especially encourages contributions which focus on Jewish religious, social, literary, scientific, and artistic relations with non-Jews from late antiquity to the early modern period.

The series encompasses not only Western Europe, but also Byzantium, the Caucasus, Russia, the Middle East, and the Persianate world, all regions of Asia, Africa, especially Ethiopia, and the Americas. In addition, the series is open to works which address instances of invented or adopted Jewish identity, or imagined Jews.

Jewish Engagements

Geographical Scope


Chronological Scope

200–1800 CE

Titles Published

Available as hardback and PDF ebook and, in some cases, as Open Access and in paperback. Click on heading above for current list.

Editorial Contact

Claire Hopkins

Editorial Board

Alexandra F. C. Cuffel (series editor)

Alexandra Cuffel is professor of Jewish Religion in Past and Present Times at the Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr University Bochum. She received several fellowships, among them a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2007, the Women’s Studies in Religion Fellowship from Harvard Divinity School in 2006, and a fellowship from the Dorot Foundation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1996.

Her research focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims during the Middle Ages, specifically on the intersections of religious polemic, medical theories and gender both in Western Europe and the Middle East. Further research interests are shared saints’ cults and festivals in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean and “racial” attitudes in the Middle Ages. She is currently working on a monograph on shared saints and festivals among Jews, Christians and Muslims in the medieval Mediterranean, and, in conjunction with Prof. Dr. Adam Knobler a study of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim imaginings about the ten lost tribes in conjunction with the development of expectations of the Messiah and an anti-Messiah from the early Middle Ages to the nineteenth century.

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Margot Behrend Valles

Margot Behrend Valles is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Letters. Her dissertation, “Judaizing Romance and Romanticizing Judaization,” examines the way that medieval romances (including those about King Arthur) were adapted into Hebrew and Yiddish in the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Part of her dissertation, and her current research, also deals with the way that romantic ideas about Judaism have influenced the interpretation of secular, translated literature in Jewish languages.  She continues to explore the relationship between adaptation/translation and conceptions of Jewishness. Her courses include IAH 207: “Humor in 20th Century Jewish Literatures, Cultures, Identities.”

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Katrin Kogman-Appel

Born in Austria in 1958, Prof. Dr. Katrin Kogman-Appel is a Full Professor, Vice-Dean and holder of the Evelyn Metz Memorial Research Chair at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel. After completing her studies and PhD in Vienna, Katrin Kogman-Appel originally moved to Israel in the 1980s, working at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After interludes at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, and the Universidad Hebraica, Mexico, she returned in 1996, initially as a lecturer at Ben-Gurion University. Katrin Kogman-Appel has also been a visiting researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University, USA. She sits on the board of various journals, including Ars Judaica, und is a member of the European Association of Jewish Studies and the Medieval Academy of America. In November 2015 she took up her position as a Humboldt Professor at the University of Münster.

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Rebecca Lesses

For the 2014-2015 academic year I was on a research leave at the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany. This was a very rich year, both in terms of my scholarship, what I learned from colleagues at the Center for Religious Studies, and my own personal experience living as a Jew in Germany. My project for the year was called Angels’ Tongues and Witches’ Curses: Jewish Women and Ritual Power in the Ancient World. Since my return in the fall of 2015 I have continued to work on it and in November of 2016 I will be presenting a paper at the Society of Biblical Literature conference on women, early Jewish mysticism, and Gnosticism.

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