Research Groups

At any given time, three interdisciplinary research groups are hosted at Mandel Scholion, each focusing on a particular field within the Humanities or Jewish Studies. The groups are composed of senior faculty and doctoral students from the Hebrew University; scholars from outside the University are also frequently invited to participate. The groups strive to study their topics with as much breadth and depth as possible, on the basis of the variety of methodological viewpoints that each scholar brings. Such an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary research is generally quite rare in the humanities.

Each group consists of eight members – four senior faculty and four doctoral students. Around each group there is also an additional circle of research assistants, students, and other junior scholars who take part in the group's activity.

At the beginning of each academic year, the Center announces the annual competition for three-year Research Groups. Mandel Scholion’s academic committee chooses the new group in its January meeting. Press here to see sample call for proposal for Research Groups (in Hebrew)

Around February each year, the Center publishes a call for applicants for the four positions of doctoral students who will join the group. Those four positions are open to doctoral students at the Hebrew University whose fields of research are close to that of the group. Press here to see sample call for applicants for PhD students (in Hebrew)


A Question of Identity

‘Who am I?’ and ‘Who are we?’ are the existential, foundational questions in our lives. In our modern world there is no construct more influential than ‘identity’ – whether as individuals or groups.

 The concept of ‘identity’ influences the way individuals define themselves in relation to their contexts, and affects how we sustain relationships within religious and ethnic groups. The recent surge of interest in ‘identity’ in the social sciences and later in thehumanities has given birth to new conceptualizations regarding the formation and development of ‘identity’. Yet ‘identity’ has, for the most part, retained its elusive character. Contradictory views persist regarding the means, or evenpossibility of measuring and describing it. Our research group will place ‘identity’ at the center of our investigation. Weassume that identity is not static but dynamic, developing and changing through interactions.

The main goal of our research group is to study the influence of a variety of historical, social, and political contexts on identity formation of diverse groups in various settings. As we consider these different cases, we will focus more specifically on majority-minority relations and their influence on identity formation of both majority and minority group members. We will also examine how relations between center and periphery, and motherland and diaspora, affect how identity is expressed in these contexts. More specifically our research efforts will focus on the study of the hows,wheres,and whens of identity formation in four different contextual settings: archaeological sites in Classical-Period Galilee;

Second Temple period textual records on Diaspora Judaism; Jews and Christians in Sasanian Persia; andorganizationalglobal sites. These four choices are not accidental. Each one may help us understand different patterns of identity formation given the different social, political, and historical circumstances in these settings

Liturgy and Arts

Liturgy is intrinsically interdisciplinary and comprises musical, dramatic, theatrical and devotional elements of great consequence to believers far and wide. It is both history and theology, purporting to reflect and propagate values that inform individuals and communities alike, playing a vital role in the construction of sacred and lay memory. As a multi-sensory experience, liturgy maintains a dynamic relationship with the surrounding space and its visual components, including art, artifacts and architecture.

The group, comprising four medieval historians, among them a musicologist, two art historians, and during the first year, a specialist on medieval performance - seeks to engage in a comparative and interdisciplinary discourse, in order to contextualize the liturgical practice within the production of medieval cultural memory, and within the symbolic traditions expressed through liturgy and the arts. Our sources include texts, rituals, music, theater and visual media from Western Europe (Christian and Jewish) and the Latin Levant.

Materials for Change

Past Research Groups