Dr. Richard Kalmin, Theodore R. Racoosin Chair of Rabbinic Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), has been awarded a fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities to pursue research on the subject of "Contextualizing Late Antique Rabbinic Narratives in Their Mesopotamian, Eastern Roman, and Persian Cultural Contexts."
"I am extremely proud that Richard Kalmin, long a distinguished member of the JTS faculty, has been awarded one of the most prestigious fellowships in the academic world," said JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen. "We all look forward to reading the fruits of his research, which will shed new light on the Rabbis who laid the foundation for the Jewish tradition that JTS carries forward."
"The fellowship will give me a year of uninterrupted time to research and write about the place of the Babylonian Talmud in the context of the cultures surrounding it—specifically, the surprising degree to which it actually participated in the culture of the eastern Mediterranean and the Roman East, although it was long thought to have been sealed off from the Roman world," said Dr. Kalmin.
"I am enormously grateful to have received this fellowship, certainly because of the luxury of a year of continuous research and writing it will afford me. It is gratifying to receive recognition that my work is not just of significance to Jewish Studies (itself of great importance), but is also solidly situated in the larger study of the Humanities."
Dr. Kalmin has taught at JTS since 1982. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on the interpretation of rabbinic stories, ancient Jewish history, and the development of rabbinic literature, and has lectured throughout Europe, Israel, and the United States. His books include the award-winning Jewish Babylonia Between Persia and Roman Palestine; Jewish Culture and Society Under the Christian Roman Empire (coeditor); The Sage in Jewish Society of Late Antiquity; Sages, Stories, Authors, and Editors in Rabbinic Babylonia; and The Redaction of the Babylonian Talmud: Amoraic or Saboraic?
The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent government agency founded in 1965, supports the humanities by awarding grants to cultural institutions and individual scholars in order to advance research and teaching, as well as to preserve important cultural and educational resources.