Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature
Phone: 898-6038 Office: 710 Williams Hall E-mail:
David Stern is Moritz and Josephine Berg Professor of Classical Hebrew Literature at the University of Pennsylvania where he served for many years as Director of the Jewish Studies Program at Penn. Educated at Columbia College (B.A. 1972 and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1980), Stern was a Junior Fellow in Harvard's Society of Fellows, and has taught at Princeton University, The University of Judaism in Los Angeles, the Hebrew University, and the University of Washington. He has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research.
Stern's fields of specialization are classical Jewish literature and religion and the history of the Jewish book. He has written widely on midrash (the Biblical commentaries of the Rabbis), and is the author of eight books including Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature (Harvard University Press); Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature (Yale University Press), and Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (Northwestern University Press). His essays and reviews on modern Jewish literature and culture have appeared in The New Republic, Commentary, The New York Times Book Review and Tikkun. He was also a founding editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History.
He is currently working on a book entitled "The Jewish Library: Four Jewish Classics and the Jewish Experience" which traces the history of the physical forms of the Talmud, the Rabbinic Bible, the Prayerbook, and the Passover Haggadah, and the ways in which those forms have shaped the meaning and significance of these classic Jewish books. In 2007 he curated the critically acclaimed exhibit, "Chosen: Philadelphia's Great Hebraica," at the Rosenbach Library & Museum in Philadelphia.
Stern is married to Kathryn Hellerstein, a poet, scholar and translator of Yiddish literature who also teaches Yiddish at Penn, and is the father of two children. He and his family live in Philadelphia.
NELC 252: Themes in Jewish Tradition
NELC 156: Great Books of Judaism
HEBR 257: Studies in Rabbinic Literature
HEBR 258: Studies in Medieval Hebrew Literature
HEBR 357: Classical Midrash & Aggadah
HEBR 358: Siddur and Piyyut
NELC 356: Ancient Interpretation of the Bible