Skip to main content
Doctor Helen Spurling

Doctor Helen Spurling

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish-Muslim relations
  • Interpretation of midrashic literature
  • Apocalyptic, eschatology and messianism

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Helen

Email: h.spurling@soton.ac.uk

Tel: +44 23 8059 5566

Address: B65, Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, SO17 1BF (View in Google Maps)

Research

Research interests

  • Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish-Muslim relations
  • Interpretation of midrashic literature
  • Apocalyptic, eschatology and messianism
  • Reception history of the Bible
  • Jewish history from biblical times to Late Antiquity

Current research

My research centres on the interpretation of midrashic literature, with particular reference to Jewish-Christian relations, Jewish-Muslim relations, Jewish history from biblical times to Late Antiquity, and eschatology and apocalypticism.

I currently work on a project examining Jewish apocalyptic literature from the seventh and eighth centuries. This period was a critical time for the development of Judaism because of the impact of political events, including the rise of Islam. The aim of this research is to examine the relationship between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the seventh and eighth centuries, and to expand knowledge of Jewish history and attitudes to events at this significant period of religious history. The focus of study is Jewish apocalyptic literature, namely, Sefer ZerubbabelSefer EliyyahuOtot ha-Mashia, Pirqe MashiaNistarot Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai and Pirqe de Rabbi Eliezer. Many debates highlighted in these texts, such as over the status of the Temple Mount, have a significant legacy for today, and understanding the diverse perspectives they present is of primary importance for knowledge of this crucial era of religious development.

Another major research interest is Jewish biblical interpretation during Late Antiquity. A recent research project looked at ‘The Exegetical Encounter between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity’, which investigated the relationship between Jewish and Christian exegesis of the book of Genesis. I analysed rabbinic interpretations of the book of Genesis throughout Late Antiquity, which were studied comparatively with exegesis of Genesis from Church Fathers of the eastern tradition.

Back to top