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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute


Several scholars within the Parkes Institute work in the field of ancient Jewish Studies.

These scholars have specialist interests in the following areas: the interpretation and reception of the Hebrew Bible (including the Septuagint, Targums and Midrash); Jewish literature of the Second Temple period (Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus and Pseudepigrapha); Jewish-Christian relations (especially as reflected in patristic and rabbinic texts); Rabbinic literature (from the Mishnah to the midrashim of the early medieval period); Jewish manuscripts and magical texts from late antiquity to the early medieval world.

The Parkes Library has rich resources for the study of Judaism in the ancient world, building on the foundations of the personal libraries of Claude Montefiore and James Parkes, and these are constantly updated and augmented to reflect the state of current research in this field.

Our team is made up of the following people: Professor Sarah Pearce (traditions of the Bible in the Second Temple period, with special focus on Philo, Josephus and the Greek Bible); Dr Helen Spurling (rabbinic interpretations of the Hebrew Bible and translation and editing of rabbinic texts, with particular interests in apocalypticism and Jewish-Christian relations); Dr Dan Levene (Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac language in late antiquity, specializing in magical texts and metal related technology in Jewish literary sources ranging from antiquity to the middle ages).

Sarah Pearce

My research interests are primarily in the reception and interpretation of traditions of the Bible in antiquity, and their place in the culture and society of Jews in the Hellenistic world and the early Roman Empire. My current research focuses on the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, and the ways in which his work as an interpreter of the Greek Bible opens up new perspectives on the world of first-century Alexandria and its Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

Helen Spurling

My research centres on the interpretation of midrashic literature, with particular reference to Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish history from biblical times to Late Antiquity, and Jewish apocalypticism. I am particularly interested in the reception of biblical motifs and concepts and their relevance to understanding the relationship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity.

Dan Levene

As a Semitist who specialises in Aramaic dialects and Hebrew my interests are focused on primary sources of a textual nature and specifically on editing manuscripts and Jewish Aramaic magical texts from late antiquity and the middle ages.

Alliance Israelite Universelle H178
The Land of the Body
The Book of Genesis in Late Antiquity
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