Daniel Boyarin
Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture
Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Rhetoric
(510) 642-8356

Research Expertise and Interest

Talmud, rhetoric, Christianity, genealogy of, invention of Judaism


Daniel Boyarin received his Ph.D from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His current interests are the Talmud, the rhetoric of interpretation, the politics of rhetoric/philosophy in antiquity, rethinking philological practice on the basis of Wittgenstein, Bakhtin, and Benjamin and arguing against the use of modern abstractions in the study of ancient cultures. The argument of this current work is that when categories such as "religion" or "Judaism" are applied to ancient cultures that know these abstractions not, more is obscured than revealed by research. The work includes investigation of the genealogy of these abstractions themselves. As part of this project, I am developing some methodological notions (together with a colleague, Prof. Carlin Barton) for revising procedures in philology growing out of the Witgensteinian insistence that meaning is usage and usage alone.

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