JTS Scholar Receives Prestigious Ryskamp Fellowship

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

February 18, 2010, New York, NY

Eitan FDr. Eitan Fishbane, assistant professor in the Department of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has been awarded a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship through the American Council of Learned Societies, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The full-year fellowship—one of the most generous grants in the humanities—awards recipients a $64,000 stipend as well as research funds and summer support. These funds replace a large portion of the winner’s salary (the remainder is funded by the fellow’s home institution) and enable scholars to devote their full attention to research and writing. Just twelve awards were granted from among 190 eligible applicants across all fields in the humanities, making the Ryskamp Fellowship one of the most selective competitions in the American academy. Dr. Fishbane plans to spend the year working on a new book project tentatively titled Mystical Drama and Narrative Form: The Literary Craft of the Zohar.

"I am both deeply honored and humbled by my selection for this extraordinary fellowship,” says Fishbane. “A scholar's dream, the Ryskamp award will enable me to make major advances in my current book project during the year of support. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in a program that has such a tremendous impact on the growth of the humanities and social sciences."

Dr. Fishbane's research focuses on the nature of mystical experience, theories of selfhood in kabbalistic thought, and the intersection of literature and religion in the study of mysticism. His first book, the critically acclaimed As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist, was published in June 2009 by Stanford University Press and received a grant from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation. Dr. Fishbane's scholarship has also been published in several academic journals, including the Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Jewish Quarterly Review, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Journal of Religion. Theological essays have appeared in Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility; CJ: Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism; and the forthcoming volume, Jewish Theology in Our Time (edited by Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Jewish Lights Publishing). Dr. Fishbane is also the coeditor of two forthcoming books: Jewish Renaissance and Revival in America (with Jonathan Sarna), to be published by University Press of New England in 2011, and Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life (with Lawrence Fine and Or Rose), to be published by Jewish Lights in 2010.

Dr. Fishbane is a frequent scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at congregations across North America and is actively involved in continuing education and enrichment for rabbis in the field. The recipient of many honors and awards, Dr. Fishbane holds a BA, summa cum laude, and a PhD from Brandeis University. In recognition of his doctoral dissertation, the Brandeis Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies awarded him the Nahum and Anne Glatzer Prize for Outstanding Achievement. Dr. Fishbane has also received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.