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Dr Holger Zellentin

Dr Holger Zellentin

Lecturer in Classical Rabbinic Judaism

Holger Zellentin is accepting applications for PhD students.


Having joined the faculty in 2017, Dr. Zellentin has previously taught at the University of Nottingham, at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Graduate Theological Union, and at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. He holds a PhD from Princeton University (Religions of Late Antiquity, 2007) and has been awarded a 2014 Philip Leverhulme Prize. Dr. Zellentin has been a mid-career fellow of the British Academy and held an Early Career Fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).

Research Interests

Dr. Zellentin's research interests include Rabbinics (literary approaches to Talmud and Midrash), Qur'an (nascent Islam in its Jewish and Christian context), religions of Late Antiquity (Hellenistic Judaism, Jesus and Judaism, heresy and identity) and comparative legal history (Judaism, Christianity, and early Islam). He is currently completing a manuscript on the ways in which the Qur'an responds to Jewish and Christian Biblical traditions, titled Law and Literature from the Bible to the Qurʾān (with Oxford University Press). Among the results of further recent projects are a double issue on the topic of The Talmud and Christianity: Rabbinic Judaism after Constantine, to appear as Jewish Studies Quarterly 25.3 and 4 (2018) (co-edited Michal Bar-Asher Siegal and Daniel Weiss) and an edited volume on the ways in which early Islam positions itself vis-à-vis previous traditions, titled The Qurʾān’s Reformation of Judaism and Christianity: Return to the Origins (Routledge Studies in the Quran; New York: Routledge, forthcoming).

Research Supervision

Dr. Zellentin is welcoming applications for PhD and MPhil students interested in Rabbinic Judaism, the Qur'an, and Late Antique religion, law, or identity. 

Other Professional Activities

Having a keen interest in public engagement, Dr. Zellentin has created or substantially contributed to a number of relevant projects in the UK, Germany and France, including the following:

The Qur’an between Judaism and Christianity, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), FutureLearn, click here.

 “Koran erklärt” (“Qur’an explained”), public lecture material produced for Deutschlandfunk (German National Public Radio), click here.

Jésus et l’Islam/Jesus und der Islam, a documentary directed by Gérard Mordillat et Jérôme Prieur, Strasbourg: Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne (ARTE), click here.

Key Publications


The Qurʾān’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013).

Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 139; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011).

 Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, 119; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), co-edited with Eduard Iricinschi.


Journal articles and book chapters:

“Typology and the Transfiguration of Rabbi Aqiva (Pesiqta de Rav Kahana 4:7 and Bavli Menahot 29b),” in Jewish Studies Quarterly 25.3 (2018), forthcoming.

 “Judaeo-Christian Legal Culture and the Qurʾān: The Case of Ritual Slaughter and the Consumption of Animal Blood,” in Francisco del Río Sánchez, Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 117-159.

 “Trialogical Anthropology: The Qurʾān on Adam and Iblis in View of Rabbinic and Christian Discourse,” in Rüdiger Braun and Hüseyin Çiçek (eds.), The Quest for Humanity – Contemporary Approaches to Human Dignity in the Context of the Qurʾānic Anthropology (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017), 54-125.

 “Purity and the West: Christianity, Secularism and the Impurity of Ritual” (with Daniel Weiss), in D. Weiss, S. Schnall, and R. Duschinsky (eds.), Purity and Danger Now: New Perspectives (Abingdon: Francis and Tayler, 2016), 181-204.

 “Aḥbār and Ruhbān: Religious Leaders in the Qurʾān in Dialogue with Christian and Jewish Literature,” in Qurʾānic Studies Today, edited by A. Neuwirth and M. Sells (Routledge Studies in the Qurʾān; New York: Routledge, 2016), 258-89.

“Jewish Dreams Between Roman Palestine and Sasanian Babylonia: Cultural and Geographic Borders in Rabbinic Discourse (yMa‘aser Sheni 4.8-9 55b-c and bBerakhot 56a-b),” in Annette Weissenrieder (ed.), Borders: Terms, Performances and Ideologies (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 419-57.

ʾaḥbār und ruhbān: Religiöse Leitfiguren im Koran in Dialog mit christlicher und rabbinischer Literatur,” in Nora Schmidt, Nora K. Schmid and Angelika Neuwirth (eds.), Episteme in Bewegung. Beiträge zu einer transdisziplinären Wissensgeschichte (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016), 125-65.

“The Rabbis on (the Christianization of) the Imperial Cult: Mishna and Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah 3.1 (42b, 54 - 42c, 61),” in Catherine Hezser (ed.), Jewish Art in its Late Antique Context (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), 319-55.

 “Artapanus,” Edition, Translation, and Commentary” in: Brill’s New Jacoby (Leiden: Brill, 2013), click here.

“Jesus and the Tradition of the Elders: Originalism and Traditionalism in Early Judean Legal Theory,” in L. Jenott et al. (eds.), Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine H. Pagels (Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2013), 379-403.

 “Jerusalem Fell After Betar: The Christian Josephus and Rabbinic Memory,” in Raʿanan Boustan et al. (eds.), Envisioning Judaism: Studies in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, 2013), Volume I, 319-67.

“The End of Jewish Egypt- Artapanus’s Second Exodus,” in Gregg Gardner and Kevin Osterloh (eds.), Antiquity in Antiquity, Jewish and Christian Pasts in the Greco-Roman World, (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck) 2009, 27-73.

“Margin of Error: Women, Law, and Christianity in Bavli Shabbat 116a–b,” in: Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin (eds.), Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 339-363.

“Making Selves and Marking Others: Identity and Late Antique Heresiologies,” (with Eduard Iricinschi), in: Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin (eds.), Making Selves and Marking Others: Heresy and Self-Definition in Late Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 1-27.

“Rabbanizing Jesus, Christianizing the Son of David: The Bavli’s Approach to the Secondary Messiah Traditions,” in Rivka Ulmer (ed.), Discussing Cultural Influences: Text, Context, Non-Text in Rabbinic Judaism (New York: University Press of America, 2007), 99-128.

“How Plutarch Gained his Place in the Tosefta,” in Zutot: Perspectives on Jewish Culture 4 (2004): 19-28.


Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.