Rachel Neis, an associate professor appointed in History and Judaic Studies, holds the Jean and Samuel Frankel Chair in Rabbinics. Neis obtained a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from Harvard University, a Masters in Religious Studies from Boston University, and a law degree from the London School of Economics. Her first book The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2013) won the Salon Baron Prize for best first book in Jewish Studies and an honorable mention for the Jordan Schnitzer Award for books published in Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity in 2010-2013. The Sense of Sight offers a cultural history of vision focusing on late antique rabbis, other Jews, and other minorities living under Roman and Sassanian rule in Palestine and Mesopotamia respectively.
Neis’s current research projects encompass ancient Jewish visual and material culture, minority spatial rituals in antiquity, comparative ancient law and legal theory, and ancient science. Neis offers a variety of courses, including: Talmud; ancient Jewish history; law and spirit in early Judaism and Christianity; Jewish visual culture (from ancient mosaics to Jew-hop videos); ancient law; body, gender, and ritual in Jewish culture; and more recently spatiality in antiquity.