Research Fellowships – Rabbinic Literature

Rabbinic Literature Research Fellowship: Talmudic Heroines

The Rabbinic Literature Fellow will assist Gila Fine in her research on the women of the Talmud, through guided exploration into rabbinic literature, ancient myth, medieval folktale, and modern fiction and film. The fellow will learn to apply the principles of archetypal analysis to the reading of rabbinic literature, and will research parallel archetypes, tropes, and motifs in literatures throughout history and across cultures.

Talmudic Heroines
The Talmudic Heroines course explores the stories of the six named women of the Babylonian Talmud: Yalta, Homa, Marta, Heruta, Bruria, and Imma Shalom. Each of these characters appears, at first reading, to embody an anti-feminist archetype, a derisive caricature of a bad woman. Yet a careful analysis reveals there is a lot more to these tales than initially meets the eye; that the heroines are far more complex than they first seem; and that the Talmud has rather surprising – so as not to say proto-feminist – views of marriage, childbirth, female subjectivity, and sex. In presenting us with archetypes that systematically break down, the Talmud imparts profound moral teachings about how to read the characters of a text and, ultimately, how to regard the characters in our lives.

Fellowship Structure
The fellowship comprises two stages: First, the fellow will be charged with tracing the course’s anti-feminist archetypes in world literature, culling relevant examples, quotes, and images. A detailed description of each archetype, and a list of possible examples to research, will be provided to this end (though additional contributions on the part of the fellow are more than welcome). Weekly meetings will be devoted to reviewing research findings.
After completing the first stage of the project, the fellow will be asked to review drafts of articles based on course material and suggest edits and revisions. These, too, will be discussed in weekly meetings. Additional (though far more specific) research assignments may accompany this stage as well.

Skills of the Research Fellows

  • Proven research skills
  • Outstanding writing/editing ability
  • An avid interest in literature and literary analysis
  • An ability to work in methodical and organized fashion
  • Participation, or past participation, in the Talmudic Heroines course (offered this year on Sun/Tues 2:30-5pm, fall semester)
  • Editing experience – a plus
  • Familiarity with the classics of Western literature – a plus
  • Literary degree – a plus

Specific Fellowship Requirements

  • 5 hours/week including weekly meeting with the faculty advisor
  • Participation, or past participation, in the Talmudic Heroines course (offered this year on Sun/Tues 2:30-5pm, fall semester)

Fellowship Timeframe

The fellowship will be completed during the 2021-22 academic year:
September – January: Research archetypes, create summaries of relevant examples, collate archetype quotes and images
February – May: Review article drafts
Throughout: Complete discrete research assignments

All fellows will receive a guaranteed living expense grant ranging from $300-$500/month (exact amount determined by financial need) AND receive highly subsidized Year Program tuition: $3,000 discount for those not eligible for Masa Israel Journey funding, and $2,000 discount for those eligible for Masa funding.

A letter of recommendation from a supervisor who can speak to the candidate’s relevant community experience and potential growth and contributions through the fellowship is required. This may be one of the two letters of recommendation required for the YP application, or an additional recommendation. The letter must be submitted along with the Fellowship Application and the Pardes Year Program application.