The Katz Center announces the 2021–2022 fellows, on the theme Rethinking Premodern Jewish Legal Cultures

It is with tremendous excitement that we announce the incoming fellows for the 2021–2022 academic year, focusing on the theme of Rethinking Premodern Jewish Legal Cultures. These scholars bring expertise in law, drawing on a range of methodologies and evidence bases, and covering space and time from ancient Mesopotamia though medieval Sefarad and early modern Germany. Chosen from a particularly competitive pool of applicants, the incoming fellows hail from Israel, Western Europe, Brazil, Canada, and the US.

Katz Center Fellow Britt Tevis on “Mythical Jewish Arsonists” and Anti-Jewish Discrimination in U.S. History

Steven P. Weitzman (SPW): You are one of the few Katz Center fellows in my time as director who combines training in history and the law (although we will have several next year in a year focused on Jews and the law). Can you tell us a bit about what led you to the study of legal history, intellectually and/or personally?

Laws on Walls between the Rabbis and Rome

The Roman Empire left many things to the West, from marble columns to an ineffectual Senate, the names of days and months, and a certain martial ideal of masculinity. Perhaps the most important imperial export, and one of pointed import for the birth of Judaism, was the law. Roman law was a marvel, and Rome was committed to both the fact and the idea of legal justice as a central component of their successful ruling strategy. But in a world lit only by fire, how did people get their laws?