Katja Vehlow

I have taught Religious and Jewish Studies at the University of South Carolina, Columbia since 2008. I grew up in southern Germany on the border to France. After studies in Germany, the UK, and Israel, I received my doctoral degree from New York University and was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Jewish Studies Program and the Institute for Research and the Humanities at the UW-Madison.

My book, Dorot 'Olam (Generation of the Ages) is a first critical edition and translation of three texts composed in the 1160s by the Iberian Jewish historian and philosopher Abraham ibn Daud. Together with a fourth and far better known section, Sefer ha-Qabbalah (Book of Tradition), and read alongside his philosophical treatise, this is one of the most influential and innovative historical works in medieval Hebrew literature. Dorot 'Olam asserts the superiority of rabbinic Judaism and stresses the central role of Iberia for the Jewish past, present, and future. I demonstrate that Ibn Daud's narrative provided a compelling vision of the past. It was a vision that invited readers to connect in new ways with material they might have encountered elsewhere that still left room to discover ideas that they were unlikely to find elsewhere. Over centuries, Jews and Christians enjoyed reading and rewriting the work's lively accounts of the Second Temple period, the Bar Kokhba revolt, early church history, and Jewish learning and life in Andalusia and the Kingdom of Castile.

After many years of focusing on this edition, a monumental task given the work's comprehensive nature, I am thrilled to turn my attention to new projects that are connected to ways in which medieval Jews have negotiated the places and identities of their communities. I am particularly interested in inter-religious polemics, historiography, and in gender issues.

At Carolina, I regularly teach upper-level courses in Jewish History I, Jews and Race, Holy Women and as well as introductory courses to Judaism, World Religions, and the Hebrew Bible.