ABOUT THE CENTRE
The Centre acts as a focus for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester and draws in staff from other higher education institutions in the region. It is home to a number of outstanding academics in the fields of Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic Judaism, Jewish Thought, Holocaust Studies, ancient, medieval and modern Jewish History, Film Studies, Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations, and Israel Studies. The Centre also enjoys the participation of a number of distinguished Honorary Research Fellows, and attracts research students from around the world on a wide variety of PhD topics. Catch up on our most recent activities via the news blog and/or subscribe to the emailing list.
The Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester is one of the leading institutions of its kind in Europe.
We offer several undergraduate degree programmes within the Dept of Middle Eastern Studies and the Dept of Religions and Theology that include Jewish Studies of one sort or another, including the flagship BA(Hons) in Hebrew and Israel Studies. There is a wide variety of Jewish studies related courses at undergraduate level.
We offer an MA in Jewish Studies. There is a wide variety of Jewish studies related courses at postgraduate level.
We offer expert supervision and specialist resources for PhDs in the area of Jewish Studies.
Current major research projects which are externally-funded include Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide (European Research Council), Jewish Engagement with Darwinism (Leverhulme), Cosmopolitanism and the Jews (AHRC), Anti-Semitism and National Identity in Hungarian film (Leverhulme), and Moses Gaster: Eclectic Collector (British Academy). Previous major projects include Typology of Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature in Antiquity (AHRC), the Rylands Cairo Genizah Project (AHRC), the Agunah Research Unit (Leverhulme and other funders), the Manchester Refugees project (Association of Jewish Refugees), and Jewish Built Heritage (AHRC).
The John Rylands University Library is a treasure house of books on Jewish religion, culture, society and history. In particular, its collection of Hebrew manuscripts (many of which once belonged to Moses Gaster) is surpassed in the UK only by Oxford, the British Library and Cambridge. The Centre also boasts the Bill Williams Library for Modern Jewish Studies.
Manchester has one of the finest Jewish museums, the Manchester Jewish Museum, packed with archival material awaiting the attention of researchers, including extensive oral testimony and photographic collections.
The University of Manchester has a long and distinguished record in the research and teaching of Jewish Studies, boasting such eminent scholars as Alexander Altmann, James Barr, Edward Ullendorff and Meir Wallenstein. The Centre for Jewish Studies was established when the existing provision was strengthened by the creation of the Alliance Chair in Modern Jewish Studies. In 1997, Professor Bernard Jackson was appointed to the Chair, and became Co-Director of the Centre, with Professor Philip Alexander. In 2009 Professor Jackson retired and was succeeded as co-director by Professor Alexander Samely. In 2011 Professor Alexander retired and was succeeded as co-director by Professor Daniel Langton.
The University has long-established links with the local Jewish community, which dates back to the 1780s and is by far the largest in the UK outside London. Over the years numerous Jewish scholars have taught at the University. Chaim Weizmann lectured on chemistry at the University of Manchester. Weizmann's contemporary, the eminent philosopher Samuel Alexander, introduced him to Balfour. Sir Lewis Namier, one of the greatest of modern English historians, was active in assisting Weizmann in the Zionist movement.