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Prof. Ephraim Kanarfogel Wins AJS Jordan Schnitzer Book Award

kanarfogel-bookDr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law at Yeshiva University, is the recipient of the Association of Jewish Studies’ (AJS) 2013 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the fields of Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity for his latest book, The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz (Wayne State University Press, 2012). According to the AJS, the prize “recognizes and promotes outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies and honor scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: rigorous research, theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and excellent writing.”

“This is probably the most prestigious award offered in the field of academic Jewish Studies in the United States,” said Professor David Berger, Dean of YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. 

“The Association for Jewish Studies is the central organization of Judaica scholars in North America, and it has a significant global membership as well.  The Jordan Schnitzer Awards are granted in specified fields on a three-year rotation, which means that Prof. Kanarfogel’s book was deemed the best in this category over a three-year period.  His study, which will undoubtedly become a standard work, reflects both a stunning degree of erudition and a creative reassessment of the full range of cultural activity in Ashkenaz during the full sweep of the Middle Ages.”

In his book, Kanarfogel demonstrates the wide intellectual activity of the medieval Tosafist scholars--not just as Talmudists and legalists, but also as biblical commentators, mystics, liturgists and philosophers.

The AJS Prize Committee wrote that Kanarfogel’s book is a “a much-needed and long-awaited synthesis of an enormous amount of technical scholarship and first-hand renderings of published and unpublished texts,” which will be “the ‘go-to’ book for students of medieval Judaism in the German and French-speaking lands of Christian Europe.”

The award comes with a monetary prize of $5,000, will be presented at a reception at the AJS conference in Boston on Dec. 15.

Earlier this year, Kanarfogel’s work also won the prestigious 2013 Goren-Goldstein Book Award from the International Center for Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University.