Prof. Eric Lawee

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By appointment
Reception Hours

Grants, Honors, Awards

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


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


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

Basic Jewish Studies

1) Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation in the Past and in the Present




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

2001 Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition: Defense, Dissent, and Dialogue. Albany: SUNY Press.


Reviews of Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition

1) Marc Saperstein, Hebrew Studies 43 (2002): 326-28.

2) Steven Bowman, Ha-do’ar, Jan. 4 (2002), pp. 16-17.

3) Stephen D. Benin, Religious Studies Review 28 (2002): 286.

4) Mordechai Ben-Dat, Canadian Jewish News, October 24, 2002, p. 4.

5) Abraham Melamed, Renaissance Quarterly 56 (2003): 484-85.

6) Abraham Gross, AJS Review 27 (2003): 338-40.

7) Adam Shear, The Jewish Quarterly Review 94 (2004): 405-9.

8) Jean-Pierre Rothschild, Revue des יtudes juives 163 (2004): 369-71.

9) James T. Robinson, “Review Essay: Three Recent Books on Isaac Abarbanel/Abravanel

(1437-1508/9), AJS Review 28 (2004): 341-49.


Research Articles

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

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

. 1997 “Isaac Abarbanel’s ‘Stance Toward Tradition’: The Case of ‘Aṭeret Zeqenim.” AJS Review 22:165-98.

. 1997 “The Path to Felicity: Teachings and Tensions in ’Even Shetiyyah of Abraham Ben Judah, Disciple of Hasdai Crescas.” Mediaeval Studies 59:183-223.

. 2000 “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. Pp. 213-47. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

. 2001 “Changing Jewish Attitudes Towards Christian Society: The Case of Spain in the Late Middle Ages.” Ed. Michael Brown. York University Centre for Jewish Studies Annual 3:1-15.

. 2003 “Introducing Scripture: The Accessus Ad Auctores in Medieval Hebrew Exegetical Literature from the 13th to 15th Centuries.” In With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Interpretation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Joseph Goering and Barry Walfish. Pp. 159-179. New York: Oxford University Press.

. 2005 “‘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. Ed. Jay Harris. Pp. 119-60. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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

. 2006 “Graven Images, Astromagical Cherubs, Mosaic Miracles: A Fifteenth-Century Curial-Rabbinic Exchange.” Speculum 81:754-795.

. 2006 “Sefardic Encounters with Rashi: The Case of the Torah Commentary.” Ed. Sara R. Horowitz. York University Centre for Jewish Studies Annual 6:3-11.

. 2007 “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. Ed. Magne Sזbo. in co-operation with Michael Fishbane and Jean Louis Ska. Pp. 190-214. Gצttingen: Vanderhoeck and Ruprecht.

. 2007 “Maimonides in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Case of Rashi’s Resisting Readers.” In Maimonides After 800 Years: Essays on Maimonides and His Influence. Ed. Jay M. Harris. Pp. 183-206. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Center for Jewish Studies.

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

. 2008 “Ha-rambam be-mizraḥ ha-tikhon: qore’av ha-mistayyegim shel rashi.” In Ha-rambam - shamranut, meqoriyut, mehafkhanut. Ed. Aviezer Ravitsky. 2 vols. 2::595-618. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar.

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

. 2009 “Biyografiyah ‘inṭeleqṭu’alit shel Yiṣḥaq ’Abarbanel le-‘or ketavav ha-porṭugaliyim. In Yahadut portugal be-moked: meḥqarim ‘al yehudim vi-yehudim be-seter. Ed. Yom-Tov Assis and Moises Orfali. Pp. 103-126. Jerusalem: Magnes.

. 2010 “Embarrassment and Re-Embracement of a Midrash on Genesis 2.” In Vixens Disturbing Vineyards: The Embarrassment and Embracement of Scriptures (A Festschrift Honoring Harry Fox Le’Veit Yoreh). Ed. Aubrey Glazer. Pp. 192-207. Boston: Academic Studies Press.

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

. 2010 “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 Thought, Literature and Exegesis. Ed. Ephraim Kanarfogel and Moshe Sokolow. Pp. 401-430. Jersey City, NJ: Ktav.

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

. 2012 “Aaron Aboulrabi: Maverick Exegete from Aragonese Sicily.” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 9:131-161. 


 'אֶפִּיגוֹן נועז:  ר' אלעזר אשכנזי בן ר' נתן הבבלי ופירושו לתורה "צפנת פענח"', בתוך: אסופה ליוסף: קובץ מחקרים שי ליוסף הקר, בעריכת י. בן-נאה ואחרים, ירושלים תשע"ד, עמ' 170 – 186.


2014 “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.

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

          "Biblical Scholarship in Late Medieval Ashkenaz: The Turn to Rashi Supercommentary." Hebrew Union College Annual  86:  265-303.


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


"Ethical Themes in Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentaries: An Opportunity in the University Classroom.” Journal of Jewish Ethics 3 (2017): 28-62 (Response: Julia Watts Belser, Strange Texts and Unexpected Pairings: Reflections on Pedagogy in Conversation with Eric Lawee
in JJE 3 (2017): 63-67.

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

"A Genre Is Born: Genesis, Dynamics, and Role of Hebrew Exegetical Supercommentaries.” Revue des Études Juives 176 (2017), pp. 295–332.


(עם דורון פורטי). "'ספר השגות' על פירוש רש"י לתורה המיוחס לראב"ד", קבץ על יד כו (תשע"ח), עמ' 77–134.


"'אומת אדום העדינה': גישות יהודיות משתנות לתרבות נוצרי בספרד בשלהי ימי הביניים", בתוך: Jewish Studies Internet Journal 14 (2018), pp. 1-21.


Servant of Solomon”: Sensitivity to Language and Context in Moses Ibn Gabbai’s Supercommentary on Rashi’s Commentary on the Torah

 “The Best of Snakes …”: A Polemical Midrash in the Rashi Supercommentary Tradition










Encyclopedias / Reference Works


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

. Abarbanel, Isaac -- 1:36-37.

Arama, Isaac -- 1:618-19.

Aboulrabi, Aaron -- 1:148-49.

Bestiality (Judaism) – 3:939-941

Eleazar Ashkenazi ben Natan Ha-Bavli - 7:608-609.

Hans Jonas - 14:602–603 (2017)


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

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


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.


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



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

. Jean-Christophe Attias, Isaac Abravanel: La mיmoire et l’espיrance. Journal of Jewish Studies 47 (1996): 175-77.

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

. Abraham Gross, R. Yosef ben ’Avraham Hayyun: manhig qehilat lisbon vi-ysirato [Rabbi Joseph ben Abraham Hayyun: Leader of the Lisbon Community and his Literary Work]

. Abraham Gross, Iberian Jewry from Twilight to Dawn: The World of Rabbi Abraham Saba. Journal of Jewish Studies 47 (1996): 171-75.

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

. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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.