David M. Stern

Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature




David Stern is the Ruth Meltzer Professor of Classical Hebrew in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department, and former Director of the Jewish Studies Program. His field of specialization is classical Jewish literature and religion. He has written widely on midrash (the Biblical commentaries of the Rabbis), and is the author of several books including Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature (Harvard University Press); Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature (Yale University Press), and Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (Northwestern University Press). His essays and reviews on modern Jewish literature and culture have appeared in The New Republic, Commentary, The New York Times Book Review and Tikkun. He is also an editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History. He is currently working on a book entitled "Through the Pages of the Past: Four Jewish Classics and the Jewish Experience" which traces the history of the physical forms of the Talmud, the Rabbinic Bible, the Prayerbook, and the Passover Haggadah, and the ways in which those forms have shaped the meaning and significance of these classic Jewish books.


B.A., Columbia University (1972); Ph.D., Harvard University (1980)


Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Aramaic

Research Interests:

Biblical, Midrashic and Rabbinic Literature

Overseas Research Experience:


  • NELC 252: Themes in Jewish Tradition
  • NELC 156: Great Books of Judaism
  • HEBR 257: Studies in Rabbinic Literature
  • HEBR 258: Studies in Medieval Hebrew Literature
  • HEBR 357: Classical Midrash & Aggadah
  • HEBR 358: Siddur and Piyyut
  • NELC 356: Ancient Interpretation of the Bible