Dr. Gwynn Kessler

Dr. Kessler received her Ph.D. in Rabbinics, with a specialization in midrash, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. She has taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her research focuses on rabbinic interpretation of Scripture, or midrash, and more specifically on rabbinic theology and rabbinic constructions of gender and identity. She is also interested in the broader field of Religious Studies, and in exploring the place(s) of Jewish interpretation and Judaism within this larger discourse. Finally, her work is situated within, and suffused with, postmodern, feminist, and queer theoretical approaches. Dr. Kessler’s book, Conceiving Israel: The Fetus in Rabbinic Narratives (UPenn Press, July 2009), explores rabbinic traditions about the fetus for the purpose of examining rabbinic constructions of gender, ethnicity, and theology. Her other publications include: “Parashat Vayera: Looking Back to Look Forward” in Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (NYU Press, forthcoming 2009); “‘Famous’ Fetuses in Rabbinic Narratives” in Imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion, and Culture (Oxford University Press: 2009); “Bodies in Motion: Preliminary Notes on Queer Theory and Rabbinic Literature” in Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourse (Brill: 2006); “Let’s Cross That Body When We Get To It: Gender and Ethnicity in Rabbinic Literature” (JAAR 73/2: 329-359).


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