Professor AJ Berkovitz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ancient Judaism at HUC/New York, has been selected for the 2021 CRINT Essay Prize in Early Jewish and Christian Studies for his essay entitled “Psalm 45 Between Abraham and Jesus: A Palestinian Rabbinic Polemic and its Shelf Life.” The Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum (CRINT) Foundation invites essays illuminating how Jews and Christians shared and/or developed their own traditions and identities during the first six centuries CE.
Dr. Berkovitz explains, “The essay is about the creation of a tradition. It focuses on ways in which Jews and Christians interacted with one another over the Bible, specifically Psalm 45. As Christians began to read Jesus into the text, rabbinic Jews responded by taking the imagery they found compelling but redirected the persona to Abraham. Over time, however, as the heat of polemic died down, other rabbis began to simply assume that the Psalm was about Abraham and build ever-novel non-polemical interpretations upon the foundations of what once developed in the crucible of polemic.”
The essay was approved for publication, and its release is forthcoming. It was also accepted for publication by the Association of Jewish Studies Review, the leading journal of the foremost American organization of academic Jewish Studies.
Dr. Berkovitz is a scholar of Jewish Antiquity. His research spans Jewish texts, traditions, and history from the creation of the Hebrew Bible until the rise of Islam. He received his Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University and BA and MA in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University. He has edited several scholarly volumes and penned articles that appeared in both academic and popular publications. He was a Starr Fellow at Harvard as well as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. His interests outside of scholarship include cooking, finance, and reading historical fiction/epic fantasy.