JTS Scholar Wins Prestigious Book Award

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

April 20, 2007, New York, NY

Dr. Beth Berkowitz, Assistant Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary, has been awarded the 2006 Baron Book Prize for her book Execution and Invention: Death Penalty Discourse in Early Rabbinic and Christian Cultures (Oxford University Press 2006).

Presented by the American Academy for Jewish Research, the Baron Book Prize recognizes the author of an outstanding first book in Jewish studies that makes a significant contribution to the field. All winners must have received their doctorates within the past seven years.

Execution and Invention argues that the ancient Rabbis augment their own authority through their laws of capital punishment. This argument runs counter to the commonly held position that the Rabbis opposed capital punishment and did everything they could to abolish it.

Dr. Berkowitz specializes in rabbinic literature, Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity, ritual studies, theories and methods in the study of religion, and cultural criticism. Dr. Berkowitz received a bachelor of arts, master of philosophy, and doctorate in religious studies from Columbia University. In addition, she holds a master of arts from University of Chicago Divinity School. She was a post-doctoral fellow in the Program of Judaic Studies in the Religious Studies Department at Yale University from 2001 to 2003.

Dr. Berkowitz has taught at Columbia University and Yale University. Currently, she is working on a book titled Anxieties of Identity in Jewish Reading: Leviticus 18:3 and the Laws of the Gentiles.

Editors/Reporters: To schedule an interview with Dr. Berkowitz or for further information, please contact Sherry Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678–8953 or email.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world–class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

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