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Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Cohen

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Rabbi Mordechai Z. Cohen is professor of Bible and associate dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies of Yeshiva University. He has written a number of seminal studies in both Hebrew and English on Jewish biblical interpretation (parshanut ha-miqra) in its cultural settings, particularly its interface with Arabic poetics, Muslim jurisprudence and modern literary approaches to the Bible. Recognized as a leading authority in this field, he lectures regularly at academic conferences in the United States, Europe and Israel.

His first book, “Three Approaches to Biblical Metaphor: From Abraham Ibn Ezra and Maimonides to David Kimhi,” was published by Brill Academic Press in 2003 and was re-issued in a second edition in 2008. His second book, “Opening the Gates of Interpretation: Maimonides’ Biblical Exegesis in Light of His Geonic-Andalusian Heritage and Muslim Milieu,” will be published by Brill in 2010.

Rabbi Cohen graduated from Yeshiva College in 1987, was ordained at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1990 and received his PhD at Revel in 1994.

Sample Titles

  • Jonah’s Struggle with God: Literary Perspectives
  • New trends in the study of the History of Biblical Interpretation
  • From New Heart to Broken Heart: Penitence (Teshuva) in Psalm 51
  • Tehillim (Psalms) As Poetry
  • Maimonides and Moses Ibn Ezra: How Arabic Poetics and Muslim Jurisprudence
  • Illuminate Sacred Hebrew Text
  • Joy With Tears: Celebrating the Return to Zion in Psalm 126
  • Bible and Literary Criticism: In Memory of Nehama Leibowitz
  • Spirit and Soul: What Makes Hebrew the Sacred Tongue
  • Kedusha, Perishut, Ve-‘Achdut: Separation and Unity in Holiness
  • Malbim’s Reaction to the Literary Method in Biblical Exegesis
  • Nahmanides’ Commentary and Thought, nine-lecture series
  • Literary Perceptions in Medieval Biblical Commentaries
  • Literary Artistry in the Book of Jonah
  • Literary Artistry and the Theology of Hesed in the Book of Ruth, two-lecture series
  • What Does Maimonides Really Say About Peshuto Shel Miqra
  • Biblical Interpretation Between Cultures: New Scholarship on the Traditional Commentators; eight-lecture series
  • New Approaches to Parshanut ha-Miqra (Biblical interpretation) in modern scholarship
  • Jewish Traditions of Biblical Interpretation in Their Muslim and Christian Contexts; five-lecture series
  • Sa`adia Gaon, Moses Ibn Ezra and Maimonides: The Use of Arabic Learning in the Analysis of Biblical Metaphor
  • Rabbi Isaac Swift Memorial Lecture: Literary Approaches to the Bible and Modern Orthodoxy
  • The Great Torah Commentators in their Cultural Contexts
  • Benefits and Dangers of a Literary Approach to the Torah
  • Jerusalem: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives
  • Nahmanides on the Torah’s Literary Structure
  • Job: Responses to Human Suffering
  • Psychology of Biblical Personalities
  • Psalms: Divine or Human?
  • Psalms: Content, Style and Message
  • Minor Prophets: Genres and Meaning
  • Biblical Narratives Related to the High Holy Days
  • The Literary Foundation of Nehama Leibowitz’s Biblical Scholarship
  • Jerusalem: Dream and Reality in Psalm 126
  • Psalm 27: Faith and Doubt
  • The Saga of Jonah
  • Psalms and Prayer
  • Narrative Art in Ruth

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