Judith R. Baskin
Philip H. Knight Professor in Humanities
Associate Dean, Humanities
Judith R. Baskin, Philip H. Knight Professor of Humanities, is Associate Dean for Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Baskin served as President of the Association for Jewish Studies from 2004 to the end of 2006. A recipient of the Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1976, she taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1976-88, and at the University at Albany, SUNY, where she was Chair of the Department of Judaic Studies from 1988 to 2000. Dr. Baskin, who has been at the University of Oregon since 2000, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, in 2012.
Dr. Baskin is the author of Midrashic Women: Formations of the Feminine in Rabbinic Literature (2002) and Pharaoh's Counsellors: Job, Jethro and Balaam in Rabbinic and Patristic Tradition (1983). Her most recent edited volumes are The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture (2011) and The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (2010), co-edited with Kenneth Seeskin and a 2011 National Jewish Book Award winner. Other edited volumes include Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, now in its second edition (1998), and Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing (1994). Professor Baskin is currently writing a feminist commentary on Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmud.
Office Address: 114 Friendly Hall, 1245 University of Oregon
Office hours: Contact College of Arts and Sciences at (541) 346-3902
Frederick S. Colby
Religious Studies Advisor
Ph.D., 2002, Duke; M.A., 1995, University of Chicago; B.A., 1991, Haverford College (2008)
Professor Colby specializes in Arabic narratives on a central story in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the night journey (isra) and ascension (mi'raj). Through his close examination of Arabic manuscripts stored in Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, and in other major repositories throughout the world, his research explores the early formation and development of a popular strand of Islamic ascension literature attributed to Muhammad's cousin and companion, Ibn 'Abbas. Dr. Colby is the author of Narrating Muhammad's Night Journey: Tracing the Development of the Ibn 'Abbas Ascension Discourse (SUNY, 2008). He also edited and translated a collection of early Sufi sayings about Muhammad's ascension collected by Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Sulami entitled The Subtleties of the Ascension (Fons Vitae, 2006). He is co-editor of a collection of interdisciplinary essays about Muhammad's night journey and ascension, The Prophet's Ascension: Cross-Cultural Encounters with the Islamic Mi'raj Tales (Indiana, 2009).
Office Address: 333 SC
Office hours: Fridays 12:30pm-2:30pm
Daniel K. Falk - Ancient Judaism and Biblical Studies
Ph.D., 1996, Cambridge; M.A., 1992, Regent; B.A., 1987, Providence. (1998)
Professor Falk's interests lie in the history and literature of ancient Judaism and the beginnings of Christianity, especially the development of prayer and liturgy, interpretation of scripture, and the formation of religious communities. His research focuses particularly on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which he is involved in translating and reconstructing. He is the author of Daily, Sabbath, and Festival Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Brill, 1998) and Parabiblical Texts: Strategies for Extending the Scriptures in the Dead Sea Scrolls (T&T Clark/Continuum, 2007). He is co-editor of several other books: Sapiential, Liturgical and Poetical Texts from Qumran (Brill, 2000) and a 3-volume series on the history of penitential prayer entitled Seeking the Favor of God (SBL/Brill, 2006, 2007, 2008). Among numerous articles on the Dead Sea Scrolls, he published the official editions of two manuscripts from Qumran, "4QWorks of God" and "4QCommunal Confession," (in Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 29; Oxford University Press, 1999).
Member, The International Team of Editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Editorial Board of the International Organization for Qumran Studies, Editorial Board of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament; the Society of Biblical Literature; Canadian Society of Biblical Studies.
Office Address: 349 SC
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30pm-3:30pm
Deborah A. Green - Hebrew Language & Literature
Greenberg Associate Professor
Ph.D., 2003, University of Chicago; M.A., 1997, University of Chicago; B.A., 1984, Brandeis University.
Professor Green's interests lie in the history, literature, and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, particularly as it was adopted and interpreted by Jews from the Second Temple through Byzantine periods.
Her book, The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature (Penn State University Press) investigates rabbinic interpretation (midrash) of perfume and incense. She is particularly interested in the images of aromatics in the Hebrew Bible and how, in the course of interpretation, the early rabbis inscribe their own daily experience with aromatics upon the interpretations. In her latest project, Professor Green focuses on dangerous and liminal spaces in the Bible and ancient Jewish literature. She is principally interested in the intersection of women and such environments as the garden, the courtyard, and the rooftop - and how the valences of these narratives from biblical literature as well as everyday experience of these spaces are echoed and change in Hellenistic and early rabbinic literature.
Professor Green is also the co-editor of two books, Commemorating the Dead: Texts and Artifacts in Context (Walter de Gruyter, 2008) and Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination: Essays in honor of Michael Fishbane (Oxford University Press, 2009).
Office Address: 352 SC
Office hours: On sabbatical 2013-14
David Hollenberg - Arabic Language & Literature
Ph.D., 2006, University of Pennsylvania
David Hollenberg’s research interests include the relationship between canon and community, scholasticism and manuscript culture, and sectarianism in Islam. His book project, Beyond the Qur’an: The Ismaili Exegesis of Ja’far ibn Mansur al-Yaman, explores the role of allegoresis in the formation and maintenance of early Isma'ilism. Drawing from theories of esotericism and cognition, he argues that through ta’wil (allegoresis), the early Ismaili missionaries demonstrated that their Imam alone could strip the external husk from all manner of sources and show the initiates reality in its pure, unmediated form, an imaginal world to which they alone had access. Dr. Hollenberg is also editing a critical edition of Ja’far ibn Mansur al-Yaman’s Ta’wil surat al-nisa’.
Professor Hollenberg is the founder of the Yemen Manuscripts Digitization Initiative (ymdi.uoregon.edu). YMDI is devoted to preserving the manuscripts of Yemen, the largest number of unexplored Arabic manuscripts in the world. This collection is threatened by the uncertain social and political conditions in Yemen. Under his direction,YMDI recently received a $330,000 National Endowment for the Humanitites/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft grant on behalf of Princeton University Library and Free University, Berlin, to digitize and disseminate 267 codices in private libraries in Yemen and from the collections at Princeton University Library and the Staadtsbibliothek, Berlin.
His previous publications include “The curious objects of early Ismaili ta'wil: eclecticism as an interpretive strategy,” in The study of Shi'i Islam: the state of the field, issues of methodology and recent developments Edited by Gurdofarid Miskinzoda (I.B. Tauris in conjunction with the Institute of Ismaili Studies) (forthcoming), “Neoplatonism in early Fatimid doctrine: a critical edition and translation of the prologue of the Kitāb al-fatarāt wa-l-qirānāt (The Book of Periods and Conjunctions),” Le Muséon, July, 2009, and “Disrobing Judges with Veiled Truths: An early Ismaili Torah interpretation (ta’wil) in service of the Fatimid mission,” Religion (April, 2004). He is currently co-editing The Manuscripts of Yemen for the Brill "Islamic Manuscripts and Books" series with Dr. Sabine Schmidtke of Free Unviersity and Dr. Christopher Rauch of the Staadtsbibliothek.
Office Address: 338 SC
Office hours: By Appointment Only, Not teaching Winter 2014
Stephen J. Shoemaker - History of Christianity
Stephen Shoemaker (Ph.D. '97, Duke University) teaches courses on the Christian traditions. His primary interests lie in the ancient and early medieval Christian traditions, and more specifically in early Byzantine and Near Eastern Christianity. His research focuses on early devotion to the Virgin Mary, Christian apocryphal literature, and the relations between Near Eastern Christianity and formative Islam.
He is the author of a number of studies on early Christian traditions about Mary (especially in apocrypha), including The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption (Oxford University Press, 2002), a study of the earliest traditions of the end of Mary's life that combines archaeological, liturgical, and literary evidence. This volume also includes critical translations of many of the earliest narratives of Mary's Dormition and Assumption, made from Ethiopic, Syriac, Georgian, Coptic, and Greek. Prof. Shoemaker has recently completed a series of articles on the earliest Life of the Virgin, which survives only in a Georgian translation. He is presently working on two monographs, one investigating the conflicting reports regarding the date of Muhammad's death in Christian and Islamic sources and another on the veneration of the Virgin Mary in the ancient church. He is also preparing a new critical edition of the early Syriac Dormition narratives.
Prof. Shoemaker has been awarded research fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Office Address: 348 SC
Office hours: On sabbatical 2013-14
Mark T. Unno - East Asian Religions, Japanese Buddhism
Ph.D., 1994, Stanford; M.A., 1991, Stanford; B.A. Oberlin, 1987. (2000)
Professor Unno's interests lie in Medieval Japanese Buddhism, specifically in the relation between intellectual history and social practices. He also researches and has published in the areas of modern Japanese religious thought, comparative religion, and Buddhism and psychotherpay. He is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light, an study and translation of the medieval Japanese ritual practice of the Mantra of Light. He is also the translator of Hayao Kawai, The Buddhist Priest Myoe-A Life of Dreams (Lapis Press, 1992) and author of over a dozen articles in English and Japanese including: "Questions in the Making - A Review Essay on Zen Buddhist Ethics in the Context of Buddhist and Comparative Ethics," Journal of Religious Ethics (Fall 1999); "Myoe Koben and the Komyo Shingon dosha kanjinki: The Ritual of Sand and the Mantra of Light," study and translation, in Re-visioning "Kamakura" Buddhism, edited by Richard Payne (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998); and "Divine Madness-Exploring the Boundaries of Modern Japanese Religion," Zen Buddhism Today 10.
Member, Executive Board, Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies; Editorial Board, Journal of Religious Ethics; former Executive Board member, ASIANetwork. Member, Association for Asian Studies, American Academy of Religion, Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies.
Office Address: 334 SC
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-1:00pm
Adjunct and Visiting Faculty
Federica Francesconi - Visiting Assistant Professor
Ph.D., 2007, University of Haifa; M.A., 1998, University of Bologna; B.A., 1998, University of Bologna.
Federica Francesconi specializes in the cultural and social history of Jews in early modern Europe, paying special attention to Italian Jewish culture. She is currently developing her dissertation into a book, The Wealth of Silver: The Journey of the Modenese Jews from the Renaissance to Emancipation (1598-1814). Francesconi has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Oxford. She has just co-edited a special issue of the Journal Jewish History, entitled Tradition and Transformation in Eighteenth-Century Europe: Jewish Integration in Comparative Perspective.
Office Address: 354 SC
Office hours: TBA
Veena Howard - Adjunct Instructor
Office Address: TBA
Office hours: Not teaching Winter 2014
David Reis - Courtesy Assistant Professor and Adjunct Instructor
Ph.D., 1999, Claremont Graduate University; M.A., 1998, Claremont Graduate University; M.A., 1993, Creighton University; B.A., 1990, Santa Clara University
David Reis specializes in the study of the social and cultural dimensions of the ancient Mediterranean world, particularly the history of early Christianity. Professor Reis’s research has been published in a variety of journals, including Studia Patristica, the Journal of Early Christian Studies, The Bible and Critical Theory, and Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. He has also contributed to Harvard University’s Pluralism Project and was a Research Fellow with both the Institute of Antiquity and Christianity’s “Mimesis in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature” project and the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion.
Office Address: 332 SC
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-1:30pm