Faculty Member Participates in Talmudic Philology Workshop

Professor Jonathan Milgram, associate professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at JTS, and several JTS graduates and students recently participated in a workshop at Vanderbilt University on Talmudic Philology and Classical Philology. The theme of the workshop was “Text-Critical Methods in Classical Studies and Jewish Studies,” and Talmudic philologists from all over the country came together to discuss innovations in textual study.

The word philology literally means “love of the word,” but in universities over the last 200 years it has come to mean the academic disciplines that study the production of texts and how texts use, incorporate, and rework earlier sources.

“Talmudic Philology applies academic textual analysis to rabbinic texts and has been critical in the training of Talmud students and scholars at JTS since the days of Solomon Schechter,” Milgram said. “Methods developed at JTS remain central to the curriculum of academic Talmud study in universities all over the world.”

During this pathbreaking workshop, Talmudists discussed the benefits and limits of applying classical philology to the study of rabbinic texts. Workshop participants included Professor Phillip Lieberman (RS and KGS 2002), Dr. Yedida Eisenstat (KGS 2012); Dr. Isabella Reinhardt, Professor Richard Janko, and Professor Cynthia Damon—as well as Dr. Noah Bickart (KGS, 2015) and JTS’s Professor Milgram.