Naftali Cohn, PhD
Professor, Religions and Cultures
Chair, Religions and Cultures
Naftali Cohn’s research focuses on Jewish Ritual. In his earlier work, he draws out the rhetorical force of literary choices made in the late-second century text, the Mishnah, in describing how ritual used to be performed in the Jerusalem Temple. His work on the Mishnah more widely explores the relationship between narrative, memory, ritual and gender and the self-construction of the rabbinic authors as authoritative legal figures. Currently he is preparing a book manuscript on the understanding of ritual in this ancient text as interpreted through the lenses of ritual theory, affect theory,and intersectional feminism. In addition, he is beginning a SSHRC-funded research project on the representation of Jewish ritual in recent film and television.He also continues to work on a smaller project on engaging Equity, Diversity,Inclusion, and Decolonizing insights into the pedagogy of the field of religious studies.
PhD (University of Pennsylvania)
Ritual, Ritual Theory, Jewish Ritual in Film and Television, Intersectional Feminist Interpretation, Narrative Theory, Ancient Jewish Texts, Mishnah, Cultural History, Textual Interpretation
Current Graduate Classes
Current Undergraduate Classes
“Heresiology in the Third Century Mishnah: Arguments for Rabbinic Legal Authority and the Complications of a Simple Concept.” Harvard Theological Review 108 (2015): 508–529.
"Domestic Women: Constructing and Deconstructing a Gender Stereotype in the Mishnah." In From Antiquity to the Postmodern World: Contemporary Jewish Studies in Canada, edited by Daniel Maoz and Andrea Gondos, 38-61. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.
"When Women Confer with Rabbis: On Male Authority and Female Agency in the Mishnah." Journal of Textual Reasoning, 6,2 (March 2011) online journal
"Rabbis as Jurists: On the Representation of Past and Present Legal Institutions in the Mishnah." Journal of Jewish Studies, 60.2 (Fall 2009): 245-263.