History of the Jews in medieval Europe; History of Jewish culture; Jewish-Christian relations; Jewish mysticism & pietism; The Jews & Islam
Ivan Marcus received his BA from Yale University, his MA from Columbia University, and his MHL and PhD from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is Frederick P. Rose Professor of Jewish History, Professor of History and of Religious Studies, and Chair of Yale’s Program in Judaic Studies. He teaches Jewish history from late antiquity through the early modern period. He has offered courses on the history of Jews in Muslim Lands, Jewish-Christian relations, and the Jews in medieval and early modern Europe and the Muslim Mediterranean. His specializations include the history of Jewish-Christian representations of each other, and the history of childhood and other life cycle rites of passage.
Before joining the Yale faculty in the fall of 1994, he was Professor of Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was Provost from 1991 to 1994. He has also taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Princeton where he serves on the Advisory Council of the Department of Religion.
He has written Piety and Society: The Jewish Pietists of Medieval Germany (E. J. Brill, 1981), which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award, Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Culture and Acculturation in Medieval Europe, which was published by Yale University Press in 1996. A paperback edition and a Hebrew edition appeared in 1998. The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times (University of Washington Press, 2004) in paperback and cloth editions. It is based on the 1998 Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures. His most recent book is “Sefer Hasidim and the Ashkenazic Book in Medieval Europe” (UPenn, 2018). Composed in Germany in the early thirteenth century by Judah ben Samuel he-hasid, Sefer Hasidim, or “Book of the Pietists,” is a compendium of religious instruction that portrays the everyday life of Jews as they lived together with and apart from Christians in towns such as Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Regensburg.
In addition to writing numerous articles and book chapters, he as written a long essay, “A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Early Culture of Ashkenaz,” that appeared in Cultures of the Jews: A New History, edited by David Biale (Schocken Books, 2002). He has also edited the following works: A Facsimile Edition of Sefer Hasidim, MS Parma H 3280; The Religious and Social Ideas of German-Jewish Pietism (Hebrew); Medieval Jewish Civilization, A Multi-Disciplinary Curriculum, Bibliographies, and Selected Syllabi. He also co-edits Texts and Studies in medieval and early Modern Judaism for J. C. B. Mohr in Tübingen with Peter Schaefer.
He has received numerous fellowships, most recently a research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Guggenheim Fellowship, both in 1999. He is a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is Chair of the Publications Committee of the Yale Judaica Series, published by Yale University Press.