Boyarin, Daniel 1946-
Boyarin, Daniel 1946-
Born December 6, 1946, in Asbury Park, NJ; married, 1967; children: two. Education: Goddard College, B.A., 1968; Jewish Theological Seminary, Master Hebrew Lit., 1971; Columbia University, M.A., 1972; Jewish Theological Seminary, Ph.D., 1975.
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY, teaching staff member, beginning 1973, assistant professor, 1975-81; Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er Sheva, Israel, senior lecturer, 1978-87, associate professor, 1985; Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, fellow at Institute for Advanced Studies, 1979-80; Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, senior lecturer, 1983-90, associate professor, 1986; University of California, Berkeley, professor, 1990—, Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Chair. Yale University, New Haven, CT, visiting associate professor, 1984-85; Yeshiva University, visiting professor, 1985, 1988; has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School and Pontifical Gregorian University. Memorial Foundation in Jewish Studies, project evaluator, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99; Center for Hermeneutical Studies, codirector, 1992-96. Has been an evaluator of projects for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Member of advisory boards, including for the Center for Gender and Sexuality, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies.
Dov Sadan Prize, Tel Aviv University, 1979; Rosenthal Prize in Talmudic Research, Hebrew University, 1986; Crompton-Noll Award, Modern Language Association, 1995, for best essay in gay and lesbian studies; Jewish Cultural Achievement in Scholarship Award, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2002; grants and fellowships from institutions, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Machon Ben Zwi, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, American Philosophical Society, Dartmouth University, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Leo Baeck Institute.
The Loss of Final Consonants in Babylonian Jewish Aramaic (BJA) (bound with On the Origin of the Heder-Hadar Alternation in Hebrew, by Richard Steiner and The Position of the Declined Kl in Syriac, by Iddo Avinery), Undena Publications (Malibu, CA), 1976.
Ha-'Iyun ha-Sefaradi: le-farshanut ha-Talmud shel megorshe Sefarad, Mekhon Ben-Tsevi le-hiekier kiehilot Yisra'el ba-Mizrahi (Jerusalem, Israel), 1989.
Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1990.
Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1993.
A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1994.
Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
(With Jonathan Boyarin) Jews and Other Differences: The New Jewish Cultural Studies, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.
Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1999.
Atiarah le-Hiayim: mehikiarim ba-sifrut ha-Talmudit vieha-rabanit li-khevod Profesor Hiayim Zalman Dimitrovski, Hotsa'at sefarim 'a. sh. Y.L. Magnes (Jerusalem, Israel), 2000.
(With Jonathan Boyarin) Powers of Diaspora: Two Essays on the Relevance of Jewish Culture, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.
Sparks of the Logos: Essays in Rabbinic Hermeneutics, Brill (Boston, MA), 2003.
Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.
Contributor to books, including The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology, 2001; Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages, 2003; and The Idea of Biblical Interpretation: Essays in Honor of James L. Kugel, 2003. Contributor of scholarly articles to periodicals, including Journal of Rabbinic Judaism and Representations. Series editor, with Chana Kronfeld, of "Contraversions: Cricial Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society," University of California Press. Member of editorial boards, including Journal of the History of Sexuality, Theory and Critique, and Jewish Quarterly Review.
Professor and Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin is a prolific author who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel. After earning his B.A. at Goddard College in 1968, Boyarin attended the Jewish Theological Seminary, from which he received his master's degree in Hebrew literature in 1971. Boyarin then earned an M.A. from Columbia University in 1972, returning to the Jewish Theological Seminary for his Ph.D., which was awarded in 1975. Boyarin began his career at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America as a member of the teaching staff and then as an assistant professor. After working at institutions such as Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Hebrew University, and Yale University, Boyarin joined the University of California at Berkeley in 1990. Here he became the Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Chair. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School and the Pontifical Gregorian University, and he has worked on editorial boards and advisory boards for several journals and institutions.
Throughout his career, Boyarin has received numerous awards, including the Dov Sadan Prize from Tel Aviv University and the Jewish Cultural Achievement in Scholarship Award. He has also received grants and fellowships from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Having written or cowritten a number of books (some in English and some in Hebrew), Boyarin has also contributed to periodicals and books such as The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology and Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages. Additionally, Boyarin has been the series editor, with Chana Kronfeld, of "Contraversions: Cricial Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society."
Several of Boyarin's books have been widely reviewed, including Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture, which was published in 1993. Carnal Israel examines several ancient or Talmudic sources to ascertain the Jewish view of female roles and female sexuality. According to prominent feminist critic Alicia Ostriker in the Women's Review of Books, the book "represents Christian and Jewish solutions to the tensions of gender as complementary trade-offs. Where the Christian Fathers theoretically grant females equal spirituality before God (provided they reject their sexuality), the Jewish ones affirm female sexuality on earth (provided it submits to male dominion)." Ostriker then quipped: "Might we order one from column A and one from column B?" Concluding her review of the volume, Ostriker stated: "I find Boyarin's stance appealing, his fusion of Talmudic scholarship with postmodern literary theory brilliant, his arguments convincing."
Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man was published in 1997, and it also addresses Judaic views on sexuality. Reviewing rabbinical and Talmudic writings, Boyarin attempts to define Judaic law regarding masculinity. Boyarin also references the work of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and a Jew. Like his previous volume on religion and sexuality, Unheroic Conduct was met with critical acclaim. Indeed, Irene Javors, reviewing the book in the Lambda Book Report, called Unheroic Conduct "a scholarship tour de force." Javors concluded her review by stating that the book is "recommended to anyone concerned with issues of diversity, multiculturalism, assimilation, and identity," adding that "Boyarin has written a book that is both particular and universal in its scope."
Discussing the finer points of Boyarin's arguments in Unheroic Conduct, Commentary contributor Hillel Halkin stated: "In his thinking, [Boyarin] executes the intellectual equivalent of a balletic split, which ends with one leg pointing toward religious Orthodoxy (of which he is an avowed practitioner) and the other toward a militant identification with radical feminism and ‘gay, lesbian, and bisexual Jews (and the Queer Nation as a whole).’" Identifying Boyarin as a member of the "new Jewish scholars," Halkin felt that Boyarin is "the best and most radical" of the group. Halkin added that "besides being well-read and intellectually agile, Boyarin can be an amusing provocateur." Yaron Peleg, writing in Jewish Social Studies, had a different interpretation of Boyarin's arguments. According to Peleg, "One of Boyarin's most suggestive claims is that early Zionism involved a gender revolution that called for European Jews to shed their perceived effeminate characteristics and become more masculine as part of the creation of a renewed Jewish nation in Palestine." Peleg went on to comment that "Boyarin contends that the Zionists' fight against popular anti-Semitic characterizations included an aggressive heterosexualizing agenda that sought to sever the alleged ties between Jewishness, effeminacy, and, ultimately, homosexuality by tying together Jewish national and sexual normalization." Thus, Peleg traced the change in Jewish views of sexuality as a change that coincided with an agenda intent on the goal of accomplishing statehood for Israel.
Some of Boyarin's later works include Queer Theory and the Jewish Question, and Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, published in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In the former volume, which Boyarin edited, he offers yet another scholarly exploration of sexuality. However, in this text, Boyarin examines the topic from a cultural, rather than a religious point of view. According to Shofar critic Karma Lochrie, "The project of this book is both a very expansive and timely one of examining the analogical thinking in Western culture that renders interchangeable the terms of Jew and woman, Jew and queer, and queer and Jew." Discussing the book's overall approach, Lochrie noted that "although the volume is primarily concerned with post-nineteenth-century articulations of Jews, queers, and women in terms of each other, a few essays on premodern anti-Semitism suggest this analogous thinking has a long history." Overall, Lochrie found that Queer Theory and the Jewish Question "addresses in thoughtful and engaging ways the intersection of Jewishness and the queer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, June 10, 2003, review of Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man, p. 51.
American Anthropologist, March 1, 1998, Abraham D. Lavender, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 215.
Choice, January 1, 1994, S.T. Katz, review of Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture, p. 805; November 1, 1997, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 570; November 1, 2000, Ra Boisclair, review of Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism, p. 549; July 1, 2004, D.N. Mager, review of Queer Theory and the Jewish Question; January 1, 2005, G.M. Smith, review of Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, p. 869.
Christian Century, May 24, 1995, David A. de Silva, review of A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity, p. 581.
Chronicle of Higher Education, November 22, 2002, "Authors Pull Their Titles from Stanford U. Press after a Popular Editor Is Laid Off."
Church History, December 1, 2002, J. Patout Burns, review of Dying for God, p. 865.
Commentary, June 1, 1995, Jay M. Harris, review of A Radical Jew, p. 57; February 1, 1998, Hillel Halkin, "Feminizing Jewish Studies," review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 39.
Commonweal, October 21, 2005, "What If," p. 31.
Contemporary Sociology, November 1, 1997, Michael S. Kimmel, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 674.
Criticism, January 1, 1999, Judith R. Baskin, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 124.
Cross Currents, January 1, 2007, "A Footnote on Jesus," p. 22; January 1, 2007, "Further Footnotes on Judaism, Yoder and Boyarin," p. 36; January 1, 2007, "Further Footnotes on Paul, Yoder, and Boyarin," p. 60.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August 1, 2001, Brian E. Daley, review of Dying for God, p. 65.
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, June 1, 2000, "Jews, Queers, and Other Symptons," p. 321; September 1, 2005, "Queer Euro-American Jews," p. 476.
History of Religions, November 1, 2002, A.J. Droge, review of Dying for God, p. 175.
Interpretation, April 1, 2006, Ishay Rosen-Zvi, review of Border Lines, p. 222.
Jewish Social Studies, September 22, 2006, Yaron Peleg, "Heroic Conduct: Homoeroticism and the Creation of Modern, Jewish Masculinities," review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 31.
Journal of Biblical Literature, December 22, 1996, Neil Elliott, review of A Radical Jew, p. 752.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January 1, 2006, Timothy Edwards, review of Border Lines, p. 97.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, June 22, 2001, Shmuel Shepkaru, review of Dying for God, p. 111.
Journal of International Women's Studies, June 1, 2005, "Maps of Women's Goings and Stayings," p. 163.
Journal of Social History, June 22, 1998, Hannah S. Decker, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 1003.
Journal of the American Academy of Religion, December 1, 1999, Esther Fuchs, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 870; December 1, 2001, Vincent L. Wimbush, review of Dying for God, p. 912.
Journal of Theological Studies, October 1, 2005, Alexander Samely, review of Sparks of the Logos: Essays in Rabbinic Hermeneutics, p. 642; April 1, 2006, James D.G. Dunn, review of Border Lines, p. 229.
Lambda Book Report, December 1, 1997, Irene Javors, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 27.
Library Journal, June 1, 1997, Frederic Krome, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 120.
Modern Theology, January 1, 1996, Stephen Fowl, review of A Radical Jew, p. 131; April 1, 1998, "Figural Reading and the Fashioning of Christian Identity in Boyarin, Auerbach and Frei," p. 181; July 1, 2001, Robin Darling Young, review of Dying for God, p. 393.
National Catholic Reporter, February 17, 1995, Mark Chimel, review of A Radical Jew, p. 16.
New Statesman, January 16, 1998, Claire Rayner, review of Unheroic Conduct, p. 46.
Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2000, review of Dying for God, p. 10; February 1, 2004, review of Sparks of the Logos, p. 19; May 1, 2004, Daniel Boyarin, review of Queer Theory and the Jewish Question, p. 132.
Religion, March 1, 2006, Jacob Neusner, review of Border Lines, p. 50.
Shofar, September 22, 2005, Karma Lochrie, review of Queer Theory and the Jewish Question, p. 146; January 1, 2006, Joshua Kulp, review of Border Lines, p. 148.
Theological Studies, December 1, 1996, Anthony J. Saldarini, review of A Radical Jew, p. 738.
Theology Today, July 1, 1995, Beverly Roberts Gaventa, review of A Radical Jew, p. 290.
Tikkun, January 1, 1996, Michael Lerner, "Orthodoxy and Assassination: A Roundtable Discussion."
Women's Review of Books, April 1, 1994, Alicia Ostriker, review of Carnal Israel, p. 12.
University of California, Berkeley Web site,http://ls.berkeley.edu/ (May 29, 2008), faculty profile of Daniel Boyarin.