Early Judaism and Rabbinics 


The title and program of this unit are purposefully generic and refer to a timeframe during which Jewish society and thought developed and changed fundamentally: the second through the sixth century CE. The Hebrew Bible continued to be central to the Jews in this period, through its study and application, and a classical rabbinic literature was created in this period, including new genres, around the interpretation of the Bible and in response to it. The unit aims to provide a venue for cutting edge scholarship undertaken in the history of early Judaism in Europe and beyond. Currently, there is no such venue within the EABS. Our goal is to organize at least two sessions each year, one with an open call, and one that follows a specific theme. These calls will respond to the scholarly topics that we perceive or wish to stimulate, but they could also serve the discussion of critical recent publications.



Early Judaism, Rabbinic Literature, Entangled History, Biblical Reception, Material Culture, History of Ideas


Current Term:



Monika Amsler

University of Bern

Geoffrey Herman
École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

Synagogue Life and Rabbinic Texts

From the beginning of the discovery in the early twentieth century of an ever-growing number of late antique synagogues in Palestine and throughout the Greco-Roman Diaspora, the interest of scholars has been drawn to the relationship between the material and epigraphic archaeological evidence, and the contemporary rabbinic literature. Numerous explicit and implied references in rabbinic literature point indeed to the synagogue in its various capacities. These developments have been accompanied by innovative scholarship on the Jewish literary genres generally associated with the synagogue culture, including public prayer, liturgical poetry, and homiletical midrash.

We are interested in papers that combine these different strands and engage with the place of the synagogue in different Jewish communities of Late Antiquity with possible foci on synagogue life, ritual and educational practices associated with the synagogue, leadership, archival functions, art and decoration, architecture, and the interaction between the Rabbis and the synagogues.