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News and Announcements: Job Announcements

Call for Applications: Postdoctoral Position, Jewish Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Tuesday, January 22, 2019   (0 Comments)

Contract duration: 48 months, fixed term

Starting date: 1 July or as soon as possible thereafter

Location: Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Institut für Judaistik, FU Berlin

Hours per week: Full time

Salary/Grade: TV-L 13

Reference code: WiMi/2019/13056401/1

The Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at Freie Universität Berlin invites applications for a postdoctoral research position in Jewish Studies within the framework of Emmy Noether Junior Research Group “Patterns of Knowledge Circulation: The Transmission and Reception of Jewish Esoteric Knowledge in Early Modern East-Central Europe,” founded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The project will provide a systematic digital catalogue and quantitative analysis of Jewish texts commonly deemed esoteric produced and in circulation in East-Central Europe from 1500 to 1750.

In the processes of circulation of kabbalistic knowledge, East-Central Europe played a crucial yet still understudied role. The prevalent scholarly claim that Jewish mystical or kabbalistic thought in early modern East-Central Europe was peripheral to the study of the history of kabbalah goes counter to a large corpus of extant Ashkenazi kabbalistic texts in print and in manuscript form. The project aims to explore this corpus and understand the role of kabbalistic texts and their producers in early modern East-Central European transfer of both practical and theoretical forms of knowledge.

The project is seeking a candidate with expertise in Jewish history and/or Jewish thought to fill in the post of research associate (postdoctoral). A preference will be given to candidates who express interest in examining intersections between a variety of Jewish esoteric literatures and practices and natural sciences in the context of early modern East-Central Europe. Research focus may include, but is not limited to, the corpus of manuals of practical kabbalah, how-to books and recipe compilations, occasional pamphlets and calendars as well as other relevant textual formats of early modern Ashkenazi provenance.

Academic environment: Research associates can also pursue independent research and seek further academic qualifications. The Berlin-Brandenburg area offers an exceptional and internationally renowned research and training environment in the field of Jewish Studies. Moreover, the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge supports an extensive network of Berlin-based historians of science and, more broadly, of knowledge. The Dahlem Research School (DRS) of the Freie Universität Berlin provides further opportunities for interdisciplinary training.

Job description: The work of postdoctoral researcher includes the following duties:

  • Independent library and archival research on handwritten and printed texts of early modern East-Central European (Ashkenazi) provenance pertinent to the project theme
  • Preparation of a monograph based on the project-related as well as research papers for dissemination (publication)
  • Preparation of data for project database; analysing data and results
  • Joint-preparation of an international conference and other collaborative research events
  • Contribution to the project website and public engagement work of the project
  • Presence at the FU Berlin campus during working hours


  • PhD in Jewish studies or a relevant field


  • Knowledge of one or more of relevant fields, such as Jewish manuscript cultures, history of kabbalistic and/or Jewish magical literatures, history of early modern science and knowledge
  • Experience of working with manuscript and archival material
  • Excellent command of English and Hebrew; command of one or more of the following languages will be an advantage: Yiddish, German, Latin, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to work well both collaboratively and independently
  • High motivation and excellent organisation skills
  • IT skills and experience of working with databases
  • Publication record

Application documents should include:

  • a cover letter
  • curriculum vitae
  • a research proposal related to the project theme (max. 1800 words)
  • a writing sample (max. one article or a chapter of dissertation)
  • copies of degree certificate(s) including transcripts of records

Two recommendation letters must be submitted directly by the referees to Dr Agata Paluch ( by the deadline for applications. Please submit all the application documents, quoting the reference code WiMi/2019/13056401/1, as one pdf file by email to or by post to:

Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften
Institut für Judaistik
Frau Dr. Agata Paluch
Fabeckstr. 23-25
14195 Berlin (Dahlem)

The deadline for applications is 1st March 2019. For informal enquiries and further information about the position, please contact Dr Agata Paluch at Applicants should be prepared to reside in the Berlin area. We especially encourage international applications. As Freie Universität Berlin aims to increase the number of female researchers, it expressly encourages women to apply. Applications from suitable candidates with severe disabilities will receive preferential treatment.

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