Jonathan Milgram

Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics

Department: Talmud and Rabbinics

Phone: (212) 678-8979


Office Hours: By Appointment


BA, The Jewish Theological Seminary; BA, Columbia University; MA and Rabbinical Ordination, Yeshiva University; PhD, Bar-Ilan University

Dr. Milgram is associate professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary.

He holds two bachelor’s degrees: one in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and the other in Talmud from JTS. He earned his master’s degree in Talmud and his rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University, and his doctorate in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Dr. Milgram has been visiting assistant professor at Hunter College and has lectured in New York City at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, as well as at other universities in this country and abroad. From 2000 to 2003, while writing his dissertation for Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Milgram served as the Sam and Vivienne Cohen Lecturer in Jewish Studies, a joint appointment at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and the London School for Jewish Studies (formerly Jews’ College).

From 1997 to 2003, Dr. Milgram served as coordinator of JTS’s Saul Lieberman Institute for Talmudic Research, and in 2005 he was assistant editor for Talmud and Rabbinics for the Encyclopedia Judaica, second edition. Dr. Milgram is also the former assistant rabbi of Manhattan’s prestigious Park East Synagogue and a trained cantorial soloist who has led High Holiday services in different synagogues in this country and abroad.

He completed a book on rabbinic inheritance law in comparative context, titled From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in Its Legal and Social Contexts (Mohr Siebeck, 2016), which came out in a second edition with additional material (Academic Studies Press, 2019). In it, Dr. Milgram engages the multiple strands of traditions in tannaitic literature (Mishnah, Tosefta, and Midrash Halakhah) and compares them with ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman inheritance practices. In addition, he discusses the social and economic contexts of tannaitic Palestine and their relationship to tannaitic legal innovation. In addition, he recently edited Ha-kol Kol Yaakov: The Joel Roth Jubilee Volume (Brill, 2021), together with Robert A. Harris.

Dr. Milgram is currently working on a monograph length study of pidyon haben, redemption of the firstborn son and a critical commentary to Bekhorot, chapter VIII (in Hebrew), which will appear in the Babylonian Talmud commentary series of the Society for the Interpretation of Talmud in Israel.



Read some of Dr. Milgram’s publications

  • “The Mishnah and Ancient Near Eastern Law,” in What is the Mishnah, edited by Shaye J. D. Cohen and David Stern, Harvard University Press (Jewish Law and Culture series), 2022, 23-46.
  • “Tractate Temurah and the Methodology of Talmud Text Criticism.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 142:2 (2022), 455-464.
  • “Commentary, Responsa and Codes Literature,” Judaism, series: Religionen der Menschheit, edited by Michael Tilly and Burton Visotzky, Kolhammer, Berlin, 2021, 173-204.
  • “Min hamizrach hakadum vead laMishnah: hilkhot hayerusah shel hatannaim beheksheran hamishpati vehachevrati,” (im teguvah levikort sefarim meet Dr. Yair Furstenberg),  Shenaton Hamishpat Haivri 30 (2019-2020), 129-181.
  • From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in Its Legal and Social Contexts. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2016.
  • “The Talmudic Hermeneutics of Medieval Halakhic Decision-Making: ‘Compound Ambiguities’ and the Reading Practices of the Rishonim.” Journal of Jewish Studies 65, no. 1 (Spring 2014), 88–112.
  • Mishnah Baba Batra 8:5: The Transformation of the Firstborn Son from Family Leader to Family Member.” In Talmuda de-Eretz Israel: Archaeology and the Rabbis in Late Antique Palestine, edited by Steven Fine and Aaron J. Koller, 19–28. Boston: De Gruyter, 2014.   
  • “Prolegomenon to a New Study of Rabbinic Inheritance Law, on the Fiftieth Anniversary of Reuven Yaron’s Gifts in Contemplation of Death.” Jewish Law Association Studies 23 (2012), 181–92.
  • Then and Now: A Summary of Developments in the Field of Talmudic Literature Through Contributions to the First and Second Editions of the Encyclopaedia Judaica.” Currents in Biblical Research 11, no. 1 (October 2012): 126–40.
  • Review of Essays on Halakhah in the New Testament, by Bernard Jackson. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73, no. 2 (April 2011): 431–33.
  • “Methodological Musings on the Study of ‘Kelalei Pesak: ‘Hilkheta ke-Rav be-Issurei ve-khi-Shemuel be-Dinei,’ ” Journal of Jewish Studies 61, no. 2 (Autumn 2010), 278–90.
  • Iyun u-Vikoret be-Shitat Francus: Al Hagdarat ha-Munach ‘Pagum li-Kehunah’ ba-Talmud ha-Bavli ve-ha-Gormim le-Machloket Rishonim ba-Nose,” in Tiferet Le-Yisrael: Jubilee Volume in Honor of Israel Francus, edited by Joel Roth, Menahem Schmelzer, and Yaacov Francus, 35–41. New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary, 2010.
  • Dugmah Mi-perush Bikorti le-perek Yesh Bekhor (Perek Chet de-Masechet Bekhorot): Sugyat ‘Met Ha-ben be-Tokh Sheloshim,’ Bekhorot 49a,” in The Wisdom of Batsheva: The Dr. Beth Samuels Memorial Volume, edited by Barry Wimpfheimer, 21–45. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing, 2009.


Dr. Milgram’s research interests include ancient Jewish law in comparative context, Talmud criticism, and medieval Jewish law. His doctoral dissertation, a critical commentary to the eighth chapter of Tractate Bekhorot, will be included in the Talmud commentary series published by the Society for the Interpretation of the Talmud in Israel. His publications include studies on rabbinic judicial principles, talmudic terminology, rabbinic law in comparative context, and the hermeneutics of medieval halakhic decision making.