Prof. Eric Lawee

By appointment
Reception Hours
Research Categories

    Grants, Honors, Awards

    Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah: Canonization and Resistance in the Reception of a Jewish Classic. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. 478 pages.  Winner, National Jewish Book Award 2019, in the category of Scholarship.

    Judges' remarks and reviews:

    The Israel Science Foundation: Jewish Scriptural Exegesis in Late Medieval Byzantium: An Unwritten Chapter in Hebrew Biblical Scholarship, 2019-2023

    The Israel Science Foundation: The Reception of Rashi's Torah Commentary and Rashi's Resisting Readers, 2014-2017

    Keren Beit Shalom, 2014-2016, 2018

    Lady Davis Trust Visiting Fellowship, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 2010-11.

    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant, 2007-2009.

    Amado Foundation for Sephardic Studies Research Grant, 2003

    Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition: Defense, Dissent, and Dialogue. Albany: SUNY Press.

    1) Winner, Canadian Jewish Book Award, Biblical and Rabbinic Scholarship, 2001;

    2) Finalist, National Jewish Book Award (in the category: Scholarship), USA 2001;

    3) Koret Foundation Publication Subsidy, 2000

    Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize, Medieval Academy of America, 1997. (For a “first article in the field of medieval studies judged to be of outstanding quality.”)

    Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Research Grant, 1997.

    Yad Hanadiv / Baracha Foundation Visiting Fellowship in Jewish Studies, The Hebrew University, 1996.


    1) medieval Jewish biblical interpretation

    2) medieval and early modern Jewish thought

    3) reception of Rashi’s Torah commentary

    4) Isaac Abarbanel

    5) Tri-religous Spain in the Middle Ages


    Selected Courses:


    1) Midrashic Interpretation in the Eyes of the Generations

    2) The Reception of Rashi's Torah Commentary over the Ages

    3) Moral Issues in Jewish Biblical Commentaries

    4) Biblical Scholarship of Isaac Abarbanel

    5) Maimonides and HIs Succesors


    1) Jewish Biblical Interpretation over the Ages

    2) Topics in Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation

    3) The Book of Exodus in Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation

    4) Rashi and Ramban

    5) Challenge and Opportunity: Jewish Biblical Interpretation in the Middle Ages

    Basic Jewish Studies

    1) Contemporary Issues in Jewish Biblical Commentaries





    Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah: Canonization and Resistance in the Reception of a Jewish Classic. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. 478 pages.

    Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition: Defense, Dissent, and Dialogue. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001.  320 pages.


    Studies in Bible and Exegesis XI: Presented to Yaakov Kaduri (co-editors: M. Avioz and Y. Ofer). Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2020.



    “How Would He Not Protest God’s Putting to Death the Righteous Child?”:

    Maimonides, His Interlocutors, and Eleazar Ashkenazi Read the Akedah. Review of Rabbinic Judaism. 2023.

    “Imprecise Hyperboles” and A “Noble Ruse”: Antediluvian Longevity and the Patriarchal Narratives of Moses in Eleazar Ashkenazi’s Revealer of Secrets,” AJS Review. 2023.



    “Medieval Representations of Abraham: Mockery as a Vehicle of Rational Enlightenment in Eleazar Ashkenazi ben Natan Ha-Bavli’s Revealer of Secrets.” Jewish Quarterly Review 112 (2022): 697–730.

     “Manuscript Marginalia in a Fourteenth-Century Torah Commentary and the History of Jewish Reading: Ephraim ben Shabbetai on Eleazar Ashkenazi’s Revealer of Secrets.” Jewish History 36 (2022): 231–263.

    "קשריו של אדם הראשון עם בעלי החיים: יסודות ימי ביניימים, תהודות מהעת החדשה", בתוך: זכרה לאהרן: קובץ מחקרים במקרא ובפרשנותו – ספר זיכרון לפרופ' אהרן מונדשיין, בעריכת מלכת שנוולד, חולון תשפ"ב, עמ' 222–239.


    “Scholarship in the Last Three Decades on Jewish Religion and Thought from the Seventh to the Seventeenth Century: Changing Paradigms, New Perspectives, Future Prospects,” in Premodern Jewish Studies: A Handbook, ed. C. Ehrlich and S. Horowitz (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2022): 275–92.



     “Eleazar Ashkenazi on the Longevity of the Ancients,” Tradition 54 (2021): 1-12.

    “Servant of Solomon”: Sensitivity to Language and Context in Moses Gabbai’s Supercommentary on Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah, in Ve-'Ed Ya'aleh: Essays in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies Presented to Edward L. Greenstein. Ed. P. Machinist et al. Leiden: Brill, 2021. Vol. 2, pp. 1047-1064.

    “‘The Best of Snakes …’: A Polemical Midrash in the Rashi Supercommentary Tradition,” in Polemical and Exegetical Polarities in Medieval Jewish Culture: Studies in Honour of Daniel J. Lasker. Ed. Ehud Krinis, et al. De Gruyter: Berlin and Boston, 2021, pp. 317–46.

    “Pregnant Contradictions: Inconsistencies in Rashi’s Account of Esau’s and Jacob’s Religious and Moral Development in the Rashi Supercommentary Tradition.” Reading the Bible in the Pre-Modern World: Interpretation, Performance and Image, ed. C. Goodblatt and H. Kreisel (Beer Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press, 2021), 175–222.


    “Limitations of a Prophet: Isaac Abarbanel on the Human Element in the Prophecies of Jeremiah – Between Medievalism and Humanist Exegesis.” Shnaton: An Annual for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern 26 (2020): 365–401 (Hebrew).


    “Yaakov Kaduri: Teacher and Scholar” (with Hindy Najman and Ishay Rosen-Zvi). Studies in Bible and Exegesis 11 (2020): 11–17 (Hebrew).


    “‘The Refined People of Edom’: Evolving Jewish Attitudes Towards Christian Society in Late Medieval Spain” (Hebrew). Jewish Studies Internet Journal 14 (2018): 1–21 (Hebrew).

    “‘Book of Strictures’ Ascribed to R. Abraham ben David on Rashi’s Torah Commentary: Introduction and Edition” (Hebrew; co-author Doron Forte). Kovetz al Yad 26 (2018): 77–134 (Hebrew).


    “A Genre Is Born: Genesis, Dynamics, and Role of Hebrew Exegetical Supercommentaries.” Revue des études juives 176 (2017): 295–332.

     “Exegesis and Appropriation: Reading Rashi in Late Medieval Spain.” Harvard Theological Review 110 (2017): 495–520.

    “Ethical Themes in Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentaries: An Opportunity in the University Classroom.” Journal of Jewish Ethics 3 (2017): 28–62.


    “The Supercommentator As Thinker: Examples from the Ashkenazic Rashi Supercommentary Tradition.” Journal of Jewish Studies 67 (2016): 340–62.


    “Biblical Scholarship in Late Medieval Ashkenaz: The Turn to Rashi Supercommentary.” Hebrew Union College Annual 86 (2015): 265–303.

    “Hans Jonas and Classical Jewish Texts: New Dimensions.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 23 (2015): 75–125.


    “The Omnisignificant Imperative in Rashi Supercommentary in Late Medieval Spain.” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 10 (Between Edom and Kedar Studies in Memory of Yom Tov Assis) (2014): 169–92.


    “Aaron Aboulrabi: Maverick Exegete from Aragonese Sicily.” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 9 (2013): 131–161.

    “Audacious Epigone: R. Eleazar Ashkenazi ben R. Natan Ha-bavli and His Torah Commentary ‘Sofnat Pane’ah’” (Hebrew), in ’Asufah le-Yosef: Koveṣ meḥqarim shai le-Yosef Hacker, 170–86. Ed. Yaron Ben-Na’eh et al. Jerusalem: Mercaz Zalman Shazar, 2013.


    “Sephardic Intellectuals:  Challenges and Creativity (1391 – 1492),” in The Jew in Medieval Iberia 1000-1500, 350–391. Ed. Jonathan Ray. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2012. 


    “The Sins of the Fauna in Midrash, Rashi, and Their Medieval Interlocutors.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 17 (2010): 56–98. 

    “Words Unfitly Spoken:  Late Medieval Criticism of the Role of Midrash in Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah,” in Between Rashi and Maimonides: Themes in Medieval Jewish Law, Thought and Culture, 401–430. Ed. Ephraim Kanarfogel and Moshe Sokolow. Garden City, NJ: Ktav, 2010.

    “Embarrassment and Re-Embracement of a Midrash on Genesis 2,” Vixens Disturbing Vineyards: The Embarrassment and Embracement of Scriptures - A Festschrift Honoring Harry Fox Le’Veit Yoreh, 192–207. Ed. Tzemah Yoreh, et al. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010.


    “Abarbanel in Italy: The Critique of the Kabbalist Elijah Hayyim Genazzano.” Jewish History 23 (2009): 223–53. 

    Isaac Abarbanel’s Intellectual Biography in Light of His Portuguese Writings” (Hebrew), in Yahadut portugal be-moked: mehqarim ‘al yehudim vi-yehudim be-seter (Portuguese Jewry at the Stake: Studies on Jews and Crypto-Jews), 103–26. Ed. Yom-Tov Assis and Moises Orfali. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2009.


    “Maimonides in the Eastern Mediterranean: Rashi’s Resisting Readers” (Hebrew), in Ha-rambam – shamranut, meqoriyut, mehafkhanut (Maimonides: Conservatism, Originality, Revolution), 2:595–618.  Ed. Aveizer Ravitzky. Jerusalem:  Zalman Shazar, 2008.

    “Isaac Abarbanel: From Medieval to Renaissance Jewish Biblical Scholarship,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation. Vol. 2. From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (1300 – 1800), 190–214. Ed. Magne Saebø.  Gottingen: Vanderhoeck and Ruprecht, 2008.


    “The Reception of Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah in Spain:  The Case of Adam’s Mating with the Animals.” Jewish Quarterly Review 97 (2007): 33–66. 


     “From Sefarad to Ashkenaz:  A Case Study in the Rashi Supercommentary Tradition.” AJS Review 30 (2006): 393–425. 

     “Graven Images, Astromagical Cherubs, Mosaic Miracles: A Fifteenth-Century Curial-Rabbinic Exchange.”  Speculum 81 (2006): 754–95. 


    “‘The Good We Accept and the Bad We Do Not’:  Aspects of Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance towards Maimonides.”  In Be’erot Yitzhak: Studies in Memory of Isadore Twersky, 119–60. Ed. Jay M. Harris. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.


    “Introducing Scripture:  The Accessus ad auctores in Hebrew Exegetical Literature from the Thirteenth through the Fifteenth Centuries.” In With Reverence for the Word:  Medieval Scriptural Interpretation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, 157–79. Ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Joseph Goering, and Barry Walfish. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.


    “The Messianism of Isaac Abarbanel, ‘father of the [Jewish] messianic movements of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’.”  In Millenarianism and Messianism in Early Modern European Culture: Jewish Messianism in the Early Modern World. Ed. Richard H. Popkin and Matthew Goldish, 1–39. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.


    “Isaac Abarbanel’s Intellectual Achievement and Literary Legacy in Modern Scholarship:  A Retrospective and Opportunity.”  In Studies in Medieval Jewish History and Literature III. Ed. Isadore Twersky and Jay M. Harris, 213–47. Cambridge: Harvard University Center for Jewish Studies, 2000.


    “The Path to Felicity:  Teachings and Tensions in ‘Even shetiyyah of Abraham ben Judah, Disciple of Hasdai Crescas.” Mediaeval Studies 59 (1997): 183–223.

    “Isaac Abarbanel’s ‘Stance Towards Tradition’:  the Case of ‘Ateret Zeqenim.” AJS Review 22 (1997): 165–98.


    “The ‘Ways of Midrash’ in the Biblical Commentaries of Isaac Abarbanel.” Hebrew Union College Annual 67 (1996): 107–42.

    “Don Isaac Abarbanel:  Who Wrote the Books of the Bible?” Tradition 30 (1996): 65–73. 


    “‘Israel has No Messiah’ in Late Medieval Spain.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 5 (1995): 245–79.

    “On the Threshold of the Renaissance:  New Methods and Sensibilities in the Biblical Commentaries of Isaac Abarbanel.” Viator 26 (1995): 283–319.



    Encyclopedias / Reference Works

    Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2009 – )


    1. Abarbanel, Isaac – 1, cols. 36–37 (2009).
    2. Aboulrabi, Aaron – 1, cols. 148–49 (2009).
    3. Arama, Isaac –  2, cols. 618–19 (2009).
    4. Bestiality (Judaism) – 3, cols. 939–941 (2010).
    5. Eleazar Ashkenazi ben Nathan Ha-Bavli – 7, cols. 608–9 (2013).

          6)  Hans Jonas – 14, cols. 601–603

           7) Noble of the Children of Israel. Forthcoming.


    “The Abravanel Family.”  Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture.  Ed. Judith Baskin.  New York:  Cambridge University Press, 2011.  P. 3. 


    Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd edition. Volume 1. Detroit: Thomson-Gale, 2007.


    • Abrabanel, Isaac. Pp. 276–79.
    • Abraham ben Judah Leon. P. 304.
    • Abulrabi, Aaron. Pp. 345–46. 


    “Abravanel, Isaac,” in Reader’s Guide to Judaism. Ed. Michael Terry, 2–3. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000.


    “Abravanel, Isaac,” in Encyclopedia of the Renaissance. 6 vols. Ed. Paul F. Grendler, 1:1–2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999.




    Mordechai Z. Cohen, Rashi, Biblical Interpretation, and Latin Learning in Medieval Europe: A New Perspective on an Exegetical Revolution. In Speculum 97 (2022): 1175-1176.

     A. Hughes and J. Robinson, eds., Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Its Literary Forms. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019. Published on H-Judaic (March, 2020).


    “The Secrets of the Efod” (Review of The Secret Faith of Maestre Honoratus: Profayt Duran and Jewish Identity in Late Medieval Iberia by Maud Kozodoy), The Jewish Review of Books, Summer 2016, pp. 17–18.


    David Berger, Cultures in Collision and Conversation: Essays in the Intellectual History of the JewsJournal of Modern Jewish Studies 12 (2013):550–52. 


    Naomi Grunhaus, The Challenge of Received Tradition: Dilemmas of Interpretation in Radak's Biblical Commentaries. Hebrew Studies 54 (2013): 431–33.


    Cedric Cohen Skalli, Isaac Abravanel: Letters. AJS Review 33 (2009): 176–78.


    Mark Meyerson, A Fifteenth Century Renaissance in Spain. AJS Review 30 (2006): 201–3.


    David B. Ruderman and Giuseppe Veltri, eds., Cultural Intermediaries: Jewish Intellectuals in Early Modern Europe.  Renaissance Quarterly 58 (2005): 215–16.


    Alfredo Borodowski, Isaac Abravanel on Miracles, Creation, Prophecy, and Evil. Renaissance Quarterly 57 (2004): 650–51.


    Menachem Kellner, Commentary on the Song of Songs of Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides). Hebrew Studies 40 (1999): 339–43.


    Elias Lipiner, Two Portuguese Exiles in Castile. Zion 64 (1999): 109–12 (in Hebrew). 


    Menachem Cohen, ed., Miqra’ot gedolot ha-keter:  sefer yehoshua’ - sefer shofetim [Mikra’ot Gedolot ‘Haketer’:  Joshua – Judges]. Journal of Jewish Studies 48 (1997): 148–49.


    Roland Goetschel, Isaac Abravanel:  conseiller des princes et philosophe. Journal of Jewish Studies 48 (1997): 170–71.


    Abraham Gross, R. Yosef ben ’Avraham Hayyun:  manhig qehilat lisbon vi-ysirato [Rabbi Joseph ben Abraham Hayyun:  Leader of the Lisbon Community and his Literary Work] and idem, Iberian Jewry from Twilight to Dawn:  The World of Rabbi Abraham Saba. Journal of Jewish Studies 47 (1996): 171–75.


    Jean-Christophe Attias, Isaac AbravanelLa mémoire et l’espérance. Journal of Jewish Studies 47 (1996): 175–77.


    Barry Walfish, ed., The Frank Talmage Memorial Volume. Journal of Jewish Studies 46 (1995): 314–15.


    Popular Scholarship

    “The Times an Life of Isaac Abarbanel: Leader of Spanish Jewry During the 1492 Expulsion.”  The Sephardi Report 4 (2010; printed in 2012): 15–18.


    “Isaac Abarbanel: 500 Years of Memories,” Canadian Jewish News, March 6, 2008, A9.


    Rashi in Spain: The Case of the Torah Commentary,” Canadian Jewish News, December 22, 2005, B12–B14.


    “Maimonides and His Islamic World.”  Canadian Jewish News, September 15, 2004, B13–B17.



    Last Updated Date : 08/02/2023