Talya Fishman

[image of Prof. Fishman]
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Contact Information
Office Address: 
706 Williams Hall
215 898 5837
215 573 6026
Email Address: 
Office Hours: 
Thursdays, 1:30 - 3 PM & by appointment

B.A., Wesleyan University (1976)
M.A., Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1979)
Ph.D., Harvard University (1986)

Research and Teaching Interests: 
  • Exertionary Mental Practices of the Middle Ages
  • "Packaging" of Medieval Legal Cultures
  • Formation and Reformation of Medieval Jewish Subcultures
Selected Publications: 

Becoming the People of the Talmud: Oral Torah as Written Tradition in Medieval Jewish Cultures, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/14852.html

  • Winner of the Nahum M. Sarna Award for Scholarship, Jewish Book Council, 2012.


Shaking the Pillars of Exile: "Voice of a Fool"'s Early Modern Jewish Critique of Rabbinic Culture, (Stanford University Press, 1997). http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=2628

"Claims About Mishna in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon: Islamic Theology and Jewish History", in David Freidenreich and Miriam Goldstein, eds., Border Crossings: Interreligious Interaction and the Exchange of Ideas in the Islamic Middle Ages, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), pp. 65-77; 184-192.

"On the Emergence and Disappearance of Rhineland Pietism", Festschrift in Honor of Professor Menahem Schmelzer, Evelyn Cohen, Emile Schrijver, editors. (Forthcoming)

"Guarding Oral Transmission: Within and Between Cultures", Oral Tradition, Volume 25, Number 1, March, 2010.

"Changing Jewish Discourse About Christianity: The Efforts of Rabbi Leone Modena", in David Malkiel, ed., The Lion Shall Roar: Leone Modena and His World, (Magnes Press: Jerusalem, 2002), pp. 159-194.

"Forging Jewish Memory: Besamim Rosh and the Invention of Pre-Emancipation Jewish Culture", in E. Carlebach, J. Efron, D. Myers, eds., Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, (Brandeis University Press, 1998), pp. 70-88.

“The Rhineland Pietists’ Sacralization of Oral Torah”, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 96 (2006), pp. 9-16.

"Rhineland Pietist Approaches to Prayer and the Textualization of Rabbinic Culture in Medieval Northern Europe", Jewish Studies Quarterly, vol. 11 (2004), pp. 313-331.

"The Penitential System of Hasidei Ashkenaz and the Problem of Cultural Boundaries", Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, vol. 8, (1999), 201-229.

"New Light on the Dating and Provenance of Kol Sakhal's Timeless Critique of Rabbinic Authority and Tradition", Tarbiz 59 (1990): l7l-l90 [Hebrew].

Work in Progress: 

Sensing Torah: A Medieval Jewish Guide to the Cultivation of Religious Experience

Formation and Re-Formation of Jewish Subcultural Identities in Medieval Europe. Co-editor, with Javier Castaño and Ephraim Kanarfogel

"Jewish Reassessments of Christian Theology in Early Modern Europe", [ to be published in The Reception of the Religious Other in Intercultural Exchange, 16th-18th Centuries, ed. Giovanni Tarantino, (Leiden: Brill, 2012)]

"The Genealogical Mapping of Medieval Jewish Subcultures: Reconsidering the Two-Center Theory"


Recent Courses: 
  • Spirit and Law
  • Intro to Jewish Mysticism
  • Packaging Jewish Knowledge
  • Rabbinic Writers on Rabbinic Culture
  • The Religious "Other"
  • Themes in Medieval Jewish Culture
Curriculum vitae: 
Shaking the Pillars of Exile
[image of book]
Becoming the People of the Talmud