CFP - BAJS Conference 2012, ‘The Jews and the Sciences’

This is the final call for papers for the annual conference of the British Association of Jewish Studies, which will take place at UCL, London, from 27-29 June 2012. An earlier call for papers was issued in October. The deadline for submission of proposals is 3 January 2012.

The conference theme will be ‘The Jews and the Sciences’. The term ‘science’ is open to interpretation because of the wide range of meanings it has been given in different cultures and in different periods of history. Even today, ‘science’ (or its counterpart in other languages) means different things in Britain and in other parts of Europe. For the purposes of this conference, ‘science’ will be taken in its widest sense. In ancient and medieval contexts, for example, it may include the disciplines of magic, astrology, and alchemy. For all periods of history, it may include philosophy, linguistics, literary theory, sociology, psychology, and all other human sciences.

In short, ‘science’ will be taken to mean any form of knowledge or study that is not culture-specific to Jews or to Judaism. It will be viewed at once as an intellectual activity (the science itself, involving study, research, discovery, dissemination), a cultural phenomenon (related to other aspects of culture such as language, religion, etc.), and an aspect of social history. Science is a context in which Jews have shared a common culture with their wider society.

The theme of ‘The Jews and the Sciences’ can be approached, therefore, in several ways. Participants may present papers, for example, on the contribution of Jews and Judaism to the sciences, or conversely, on the contribution of science to Jewish culture, literature, and Judaism. They may consider Jewish attitudes to science, the historical involvement of Jews in scientific inquiry, the production of scientific literature for Jewish audiences and in Jewish languages, or the historical and contemporary impact of sciences on Jewish culture and Jewish society.

The BAJS 2012 conference will take place consecutively after another conference at UCL on the more narrow theme of ‘Time, astronomy, and calendars in Jewish tradition’, from Monday 25th — Wednesday 27th June 2012. This conference will be hosted by the UCL AHRC-funded research project ‘Medieval Monographs on the Jewish Calendar’ and by the Institute of Jewish Studies. It will be open to the public, and we would like to encourage BAJS Conference participants to attend this conference too. The keynote lecture, delivered by Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute, London) will be shared by both conferences on Wednesday evening, 27th June. Scholars who have so far agreed to participate at the AHRC-IJS conference include Jonathan Ben-Dov (Haifa), Elisheva Carlebach (Columbia), Tzvi Langermann (Bar-Ilan), Reimund Leicht (Hebrew University), Raymond Mercier (Cambridge), Marina Rustow (Johns Hopkins), and Shlomo Sela (Bar-Ilan), as well as research staff of the Jewish calendar projects at UCL.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 3 January 2012. This call for papers for the BAJS Conference 2012 is being issued at an earlier date than usual, because the forthcoming Olympic Games in London (July 2012) make it necessary for our conference to be planned well in advance. Conference Registration Form.

As usual, papers and panels on aspects of Jewish Studies that are not related to the conference theme will also be welcome.

Please send proposals for individual papers (including title and a short, max. 300-word abstract) and
panels to the President, Sacha Stern ( We look forward to your submissions.

Although the conference is open to all who are interested in an academic approach to Jewish Studies, anyone wishing to present a paper who is not a member of BAJS will ordinarily be expected to join by the time of the conference. Membership is open to anyone with a serious academic interest to Jewish studies. For membership enquiries and applications, please write to the BAJS Secretary, Lars Fischer, and see BAJS Website:

27 June 2012 - 29 June 2012
27 Jun 2012
29 Jun 2012