Dr. David Levine, Associate Professor of Talmud and Halachah, has been granted tenure at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).
In making this announcement, Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR President, said, “Dr. David Levine’s qualities as a teacher and scholar have earned him his outstanding reputation among colleagues and students alike. The College-Institute is indeed fortunate to have a person of his intellect and talents on our faculty, where he can contribute to a culture of learning and teaching for Liberal Judaism in North America, Israel, and beyond.”
Dr. Levine was born in New York and his family immigrated to Israel in 1971. He was ordained at the Seminary of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem in 1989, earned his Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1998, his M.A. in Talmud from the Hebrew University in 1991, his M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1990, and his B.A. in Jewish History and Talmud from the Hebrew University in 1986. At the Hebrew University, he held the Golda Meir Fellowship, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Doctoral Scholarship, Avraham Yehudah Urbach Award, and Warburg Scholarship.
Dr. Levine first joined the HUC-JIR/Jerusalem faculty as a part-time Lecturer in Talmud in 2000. He also taught Talmud, Jewish history, and Rabbinics at several other institutions, including the Hebrew University, Seminary of Judaic Studies (Schechter Institute) in Jerusalem, and Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. At HUC-JIR, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Talmud in 2006.
He views Talmudic rabbis and their religion as one expression among several in Jewish culture during the first centuries CE. This view challenges historical interpretation to assess the rabbis, their religion, and norms as part of a more varied context and to trace the emergence and development of this later-to-be-influential strand of Judaism in a more complex setting. He also wishes to suggest that Talmudic historiography should carefully attempt to reclaim Talmudic biography as a necessary ‘building block’ in early rabbinic studies. This aspect of modern Talmudic scholarship has come under attack and has been flagged as naïve and critically irresponsible during the past thirty years. It is necessary to put forward a model which will seriously take into account this critique of the past generation of scholarship while substantiating some of the still-prevalent biographical assumptions in scholarly discourse.