Shulamit Shinnar

Assistant Professor of Religion
Shulamit Shinnar

Contact Information

Religions of Western Antiquity
Office Location
M07 Dodd Hall
Resume / CV


Shulamit Shinnar (Ph.D. 2019, Columbia University) is a scholar of Jewish culture and textual traditions. She specializes in the study of ancient Judaism and rabbinic literature situated within the broader cultures and religions of the ancient Mediterranean world. Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing on questions from the history of science and medicine, medical anthropology, post-colonial theory, the study of gender and sexuality, and disability studies. 

Her research focuses on how rabbinic conceptions of the body, health, and illness shaped how the ancient rabbis envisioned religious community and constructed communal identity. She is currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled “The Best of Doctors Go to Hell: Rabbinic Medical Culture in Late Antiquity.” Focusing on medicine as a site of cultural encounter, identity formation, and knowledge production, the book explores how ancient rabbis living between the first and sixth centuries CE framed the experience of illness and the challenges of seeking healing in the ancient world. This project has been supported by multiple fellowships, including the Simon and Ethel Flegg Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University (2022-2023) and the Columbia University Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Core Curriculum (2019-2022). Her manuscript was selected for the ReMeDHe (Religion, Medicine, Disability and Health Working Group) 2020 First Book Workshop.

Her teaching spans religions of the ancient Mediterranean, Jewish Studies, and comparative courses on religion and gender, sexuality, medicine, disability, the body, literature, and theater.


  • “The Experiments of Cleopatra: Foreign, Gendered, and Empirical Medical Knowledge in the Babylonian Talmud.” In Defining Jewish Medicine: Transfer of Medical Knowledge in Jewish Cultures and Traditions, edited by Lennart Lehmhaus, 213–241. Wiesbaden: Harrasovitz, 2021.
  •  “Miscarriage – Judaism.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (EBR) Online, ed. Barry Dov Walfish. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021.


  • (Upcoming) “Rabbinic Compulsory Able-Bodiedness: Queer Disability Studies and Rabbinic Accommodations for the Sick.” Association for Jewish Studies. Dec 2023.
  • (Upcoming) “Casting Dinah as Job’s Wife: Theodicy and Sexual Assault in Ancient Jewish Thought.” Society for Biblical Literature. Nov 2023.
  • “The Animalization of Illness in Rabbinic Literature: Models of Illness and Rabbinic Subjectivity.” Association for Jewish Studies. Dec 2022.
  • “Counting Cases: Plague in Ancient Rabbinic Literature.” Society of Biblical Literature. Nov 2022.
  • “Rabbis who were Blind: Exploring the Representation of Blindness in Rabbinic Literature.” Association for Jewish Studies. Dec 2021.
  • “The Embedded Body: Environmental Models of Illness in Rabbinic Literature.” The Study of Judaism Unit. American Academy of Religion. Nov 2021.
  • “Intercultural Encounters in the Birthing Room: Portraits of Midwives in Rabbinic Literature.” Association for Jewish Studies. Virtual: Dec 2020. 


FALL 2023
  • REL3171: Topic in Ethics: Illness, Trauma, and Disability
  • REL3171: Topic in Ethics: Religion, Literature, and the Self
spring 2024
  • REL3171: Topics in Ethics (Honors)
  • REL3607: The Jewish Tradition