The Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities
About the society
Academic Committee
Board Members
Current Fellows
Senior Fellows
Calendar of Events
Martin Buber Society of Fellows Alumni
Call for Application 2014-2015
Contact information

Dr. Roy Wagner

Prof. Yoram Bilu

I completed my studies at the Hebrew University (M.A. in clinical psychology, 1972; Ph.D. in anthropology, 1979) and served as a professor of anthropology and psychology there until my retirement in 2010. Focusing on Israeli society and Jewish traditional culture, my research interests include (1) the anthropology of religion, (2) culture and mental health, (3) the sanctification of space in Israel, and (4) Maghrebi Jewish culture. As a psychological anthropologist, my research perspective has always been Janus-faced, seeking to highlight the interface between the individual level of social actors and the collective level of social norms, cultural symbols and political ideologies. In the domain of religion I studied the renaissance of saint worship among Israelis of Moroccan background, and, more recently, the messianic fervor that seized the Hasidic movement of Chabad-Lubavitch, exploring the cultural tool kit used by the Hasidim to make their absent Rabbi (and designated messiah) present. In the field of culture and mental health (only analytically separated from the former), my research interests include Jewish Moroccan “ethnopsychiatry,” manifestations of spirit possession in various Jewish communities, and culture-sensitive therapy with Jewish ultra-orthodox clients. The third domain aforementioned gave rise to course I will be teaching at the University of Chicago in the Spring Quarter of 2012, “The Sanctification of Space in Contemporary Israel.” The class will explore the myriad ways in which “the idea of the holy” is imprinted on the land in contemporary Israel.

I served as the chair of the department of psychology (1992-4) and the head of the Authority for Doctoral Students, both at Hebrew University, and as the president of the Israeli Anthropological Association (1989-1991). I have been a visiting professor at several American Universities including UC San Diego, Brandeis University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. My recent book is: The Saints’ Impresarios: Dreamers, Healers, and Holy Men in Israel’s Urban Periphery. Brighton, MA: Academic Studies Press (2010).

Dr. Daniella Talmon- Heller

Daniella Talmon- Heller is a senior lecturer at the Department of Middle East Studies of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and currently serves as chair. She is the author of Islamic Piety in Medieval Syria: Mosques, Cemeteries and Sermons under the Zangids and Ayyubids (1146-1260), Leiden: Brill 2007 (accorded the Tel Aviv award for Middle East Studies 2008), co-author (with Nehemia Levtzion and Daphna Ephrat) of the Israel Open University 3-volumes series: Islam – A History (Tel Aviv 1999-2003) and co-editor (with Katia Cytryn-Silverman) of a collected volume: Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of the Muslim Middle East (forthcoming in Brill). Presently she is working on Islamization and the comparative study of rituals.

Dr. Zur Shalev

Zur Shalev completed his studies at Princeton University (history, 2004). Since 2005/6 he teaches at the General History and Land of Israel Studies departments of the University of Haifa. He specialize in early modern European cultural and intellectual history, with particular interest in geographical and religious thought and Oriental scholarship. Currently he works on geographical Hebraism: an attempt to understand the reception of medieval geographical Hebrew texts in early modern Christian Europe. Another project is focused on the tradition of learned travel to the Levant in the 17th and 18th centuries, thereby tracing the real and perceived geographical boundaries of the European Republic of Letters. At the University of Haifa he convenes the Medieval-Renaissance seminar and runs the innovative teaching program Nofei Yeda (Landscapes of Knowledge).

His published research includes Sacred Words and Worlds (Leiden: Brill, 2011); Ptolemy's Geography in the Renaissance, co-edited with Charles Burnett (London: Warburg Institute, 2011); “The Travel Notebooks of John Greaves,” in The Republic of Letters and the Levant, ed. A. Hamilton et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2005), pp. 77-102; "Benjamin of Tudela, Spanish Explorer," Mediterranean Historical Review 25, no. 1 (2010): 17-33.; “Measurer of All Things: John Greaves (1602-1652), the Great Pyramid, and Early Modern Metrology,” Journal of the History of Ideas 63, no. 4 (2002): 555-575.

Prof. Ursula Lehmkuhl

Ursula Lehmkuhl teaches the history of international relations, Atlantic history, the history of the Cold War and migration history. Her research interests include colonial, migration and environmental history, the history of Anglo-American relations during the 19th century, the history of Canadian and American foreign relations 20th century and Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood. She published several books, among them Enemy Images in American History (1997), Pax Anglo-Americana: Machtstrukturelle Grundlagen anglo-amerikanischer Asien- und Fernostpolitik in den 1950er Jahren (1999), Atlantic Communications: The Media in American and German History from the 17th to the 20th Century (2004) and History and Nature: Comparative Approaches to Environmental History (2007). From 2007 to 2010 she served as First Vice President and then Acting President of Freie Universitaet Berlin. She is a member of the Executive Board of the Historical-Cultural Studies Research Center (HKFZ) and the „Forschungszentrum Europa. Strukturen langer Dauer und Gegenwartsprobleme” (FZE), both at the University of Trier. She is the academic director of one of the largest immigrant letter collections in Europe, the Nordamerika-Briefsammlung, situated at the Research Library Gotha in Thuringia. In cooperation with Norbert Finzsch (University of Cologne) she currently directs a DFG-funded research project on settler imperialism in North America and Australia during the first half of the 19th century.


Senior Fellows 2011-2012

Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi

Ishay Rosen-Zvi is a senior lecturer and the Head of the Talmud and Late Antiquity section in the department of Hebrew Culture Studies at Tel-Aviv University, where he teaches Talmudic literature and culture. His main interests are: Midrashic hermeneutics; the formation of the Mishna; Temple rituals in rabbinic literature; and gender and sexuality in late antiquity. Ishay’s book, titled "The Rite that Was Not: Temple, Midrash and Gender in Tractate Sotah," was published in Magness Press (2008) and an english version is forthcoming in the Journal for the Study of Judaism-Supplement Series, Leiden: Brill. A monograph on the history of the "evil inclination" from the Bible to rabbinic literature and early Christianity is forthcoming in University of Pennsylvania Press under the title: "Demonic Desires: YETZER HARA and the Problem of Evil in Late Antiquity ".
Among his publications are: "Bilhah the Temptress: the Testament of Reuben and the 'Birth of Sexuality'", Jewish Quarterly Review 96 (2006), 65-94; "Measure for Measure as a Hermeneutic Tool in Early Rabbinic Literature", Journal of Jewish Studies 57 (2006), pp. 269-286; "Orality, Narrative, Rhetoric: New Directions in Mishnah Research", AJS Review 32 (2008), pp. 235-249; "Can the Homilists Cross the Sea Again? Time and Revelation in Mekhilta Shirata", G. Brooke et al. (eds.), The significance of Sinai: Traditions about Divine Revelations in Judaism and Christianity, Leiden (Brill) 2008, pp. 217-245; "Sexualizing the Evil Inclination: Rabbinic Yetzer and Modern Scholarship", Journal of Jewish Studies 60 (2009), pp. 264-281;

Prof. Yitzhak Hen

Yitzhak Hen is Anna and Sam Lopin Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He is an historian of the early medieval West, specializing in the cultural and religious history of the post-Roman Barbarian kingdoms. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1994, with a dissertation on popular culture in Merovingian Gaul. Subsequently he won the Wolfson post-doctorate prize, as well as Yad-Hanadiv post-doctorate prize for the study of History. He was a fellow in residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) and Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge; since 2008 he is a Life Member of that college. He has published extensively on various issues related to the cultural and religious history of the early Middle Ages; early Christian Western liturgy; and early medieval Latin manuscripts. Among his books: Culture and Religion in Merovingian Gaul, a.d. 481-751 (1995); The Sacramentary of Echternach (1997); The Royal Patronage of Liturgy in Frankish Gaul (2000); The Uses of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (2000, edited with Mathew Innes); The Beginning of Europe, 4 vols. [in Hebrew] (2003, written with Ora Limor]; The Bobbio Missal: Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul (2004, edited with Rob Meens); Roman Barbarians: The Royal Court and Culture in the Early Medieval West (2007); Wilhelm Lavison (1876-1947): Ein jüdisches Forscherleben zwischen wissenschaftlicher Anerkennung und politischem Exil (2010, edited with Matthias Becher). He is currently writing a book on Western Arianism: Politics and Religious Culture in the Early Medieval West (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).


Prof. Christoph Markschies

Since 2004 Prof. Christoph Markschies holds the Chair for Ancient Christianity at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. He studied Theology, Classics and Philosophy at the Universities of Marburg, Munich and Tübingen and in Jerusalem and received his doctoral degree in 1991 and qualified as professor concluding his thesis on „Kirchen- und theologiegeschichtliche Studien zu Antiarianismus und Neunizänismus bei Ambrosius und im lateinischen Westen“ in 1994 in Tübingen. Christoph Markschies’ actual research interest is focused on The body of God and human bodies in late antique Judaism and Christianity and The Passover Haggadah of the Codex Monacensis Hebraeus 200 with a christian prologue in Latin.
He is Author and editor of numrous publications like introductory coursbooks for his area of expertise, e.g. Between Two Worlds. Structures of Early Christianity (1999), Arbeitsbuch Kirchengeschichte (1995), Gnosis. An Introduction. (2003), Das antike Christentum (2006), Antike ohne Ende (2008), Gnosis und Christentum (2009), Does it Make Sense to Speak about a 'Hellenization of Christianity' in Antiquity? Dutch Lectures in Patristics 1 (2011).
Christoph Markschies was president of the Humboldt-Universität between 2006 and 2010, is member of several academies of sciences such as the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities of which he just was elected Vice-President. He was Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Institute for Advanced Studies (1998/1999) and of the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University Jerusalem (1999/2000) as well as Visiting Fellow at the Trinity College, Oxford (2009), at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2011), and Stewart Visiting Research Scholar in the Humanities Council, Programm of Jewish Studies, University of Princeton (2010). He had been awarded Leibniz-Award of the German National Research Council (2001) and has been confered on a Doctor honoris causa by the Lucian-Blaga-University Sibiu (Romania) as well as by the University of Oslo.



Senior Fellows 2010-2011


Prof. Ruth HaCohen (Pinczower)

Prof. Ruth HaCohen (Pinczower) holds the Artur Rubinstein Chair of Musicology at the Hebrew University.  She graduated in musicology and Jewish thought and received her PhD in Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1992).  She is the author of books and articles that explicate the role played by music in shaping and reflecting wide cultural and political contexts and processes.  Her points of departure are historical, aesthetic and semiotic, deploying as well theories from psychoanalyses, anthropology and critical thought.    Her work extends from baroque music to modern one, with a special emphasis on opera, oratorio, and song, dealing also with the relations between Ashkenazi-Jewish and Christian music.
Her recent publications include Tuning the Mind: Connecting Aesthetic Theory to Cognitive Science (Transaction, 2003 [with Ruth Katz]).  Her book, Vocal Fictions of Noise and Harmony: The Music Libel Against the Jews is forthcoming with Yale University Press. She is currently completing the volumes The Voices of the Individual and the Voice of the Many: A Musico-Political Dialogue (Van Leer and Hakibutz Hameuchad, in Hebrew, with Yaron Ezrahi) Ruth HaCohen was the Chair of the Department during 2001-4 and the Head of the PhD Honors Program in the Humanities during 2008-9. She was a visiting scholar as St. John College Oxford, in 1996-7 and a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2004-5 . Since 2008 she is as a Senior Fellow and member of the research group “The Interpretive Imagination: Connections between Religion and Art in Jewish Culture in its Contexts” at Scholion, Interdisciplinary Research Center in Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University.

 Prof. Nikolas Jaspert, Ruhr University, Bochum

Nikolas Jaspert studied Medieval History, Hispanic Philology and Art History at the Free University of Berlin (Germany). He concluded his thesis on “Stift und Stadt. Das Heiliggrabpriorat von Santa Anna und das Regularkanonikerstift Santa Eulàlia del Camp im mittelalterlichen Barcelona, 1145-1423”, in 1995 (published in 1996 by Duncker und Humblot, Berlin); the same year he joined the history department of Berlin’s Free Univerity as an assistant professor. From 1998 to 2005 he was “Akademischer Rat” and “Akademischer Oberrat“ (Lecturer) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Since 2005 he is Professor for Medieval History at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. He is co-editor of the journal “Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung” (ZHF) and member of several advisory boards (“Anuario de Estudios medievales”, “Imago Temporis”, “Aragón en la edad media”, “Medievalismo”). 2008 he was elected Membre correspondent de la secció històrico-arqueològica del Institut d’Estudis Catalans, in 2009 he was admitted to the “Konstanzer Arbeitskreis für Mittelalterliche Geschichte”. His academic work is centred on the history of the Iberian Peninsular, Mediterranean History, the crusades, the military orders and urban history of the high and late middle ages.

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