NEJS' Jonathan P. Decter awarded The American Academy for Jewish Research's Salo Baron Prize
The American Academy for Jewish Research (AAJR), the oldest organization of Judaica scholars in North America, has awarded its annual Salo Baron Prize for the best first book in Jewish studies (published in 2007) to Jonathan P. Decter, associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Professor Decter's book, "Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe," was published by Indiana University Press.
In "Iberian Jewish Literature," Decter explores Hebrew prose and poetry in both its Islamic-Arabic context and its Christian-Romance context. His work draws on scholarship in Romance languages and literatures, medieval Hebrew literature, and Arabic studies and is in dialogue with contemporary literary theory and cultural studies. In speaking of the book at the award ceremony in Washington D.C. in December, professor Robert Chazan, a former president of the AAJR, praised the book for its willingness to encompass Hebrew literature from both the Muslim and Christian periods and for its methodological sophistication.
Decter's book grows out of his doctoral dissertation, which he wrote at the Jewish Theological Seminary under the supervision of Professor Raymond Scheindlin.
The Baron Prize honors the memory of the distinguished historian Salo W. Baron, a long-time president of the AAJR, who taught at Columbia University for many decades. It is, according to Professor Todd Endelman, the current president of the AAJR, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a young scholar in Jewish studies in North America. Previous recipients have gone on to stellar careers at major research universities and liberal arts colleges.