Professor of Jewish History
Director, Crown Family Center for
Jewish and Israel Studies
David Shyovitz is Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Northwestern University and the Director of NU's Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies.
His research and publications focus on pre-modern Jewish cultural and intellectual history, with a particular emphasis on the history of halakhah, the development of Jewish theology, and the dynamics of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations. He is the author of A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz, which was awarded the John Nicholas Brown Prize by the Medieval Academy of America, and of the forthcoming "O Beastly Jew!" Jews, Animals, and Jewish Animals in the Middle Ages.
David received his BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and studied for two years at Yeshivat Har Etzion. He has been a visiting fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and lectures extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel.
David, his wife Adina, and their four children live in Evanston, IL.
A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)
"O Beastly Jew!" Jews, Animals, and Jewish Animals in the Middle Ages (book manuscript in progress)
"Did Judah the Pious "Author" Sefer Hasidim?" Jewish History 34, 1-2 (2021)
“Unearthing the ‘Children of Cain’: Between Human, Animal, and Demon in Medieval Jewish Culture,” in Monsters and Monstrosity in Jewish History: From the Middle Ages to Modernity, ed. Iris Idelson-Shein and Christian Weise (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 157-86.
“‘You Have Saved Me from the Judgment of Gehenna’: The Origins of Mourner’s Kaddish in Medieval Ashkenaz,” AJS Review 39, 1 (2015): 49-73.
“Beauty and the Bestiary: Animals, Wonder, and Polemic in Medieval Ashkenaz,” in The Jewish-Christian Encounter in Medieval Preaching, ed. Jonathan Adams and Jussi Hanska (London: Routledge, 2015), 215-39.
“Christians and Jews in the Twelfth Century Werewolf Renaissance,” Journal of the History of Ideas 75, 4 (2014): 521-43.
Scholar in Residence
David Shyovitz is an award-winning teacher who has taught at dozens of synagogues, churches, interfaith gatherings, community events, and adult education programs. David has also led study tours to historic Jewish sites in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. He is available for Scholar in Residence weekends, lectures, book talks, and more.
For more information or to discuss availability, please be in touch.
Sample Lecture Topics:
Between Isaac and Ishmael : Jews and Muslims in Historical Perspective
Has There Ever Been a "Judeo-Christian" Tradition? A Brief History of an Uneasy Alliance
What is Antisemitism? Historical, Political, and Personal Perspectives
Do Jews Believe in Hell? Reading a Medieval Jewish Ghost Story
A Brief History of Teva: God and the Natural World in the Jewish Tradition
Spreading Secrets: Philosophy, Mysticism, and the Quest for the Hidden Meaning of Judaism
Jerusalem on the Rhine: The Jewish Martyrs of the First Crusade
Lost and Found: The Ten Lost Tribes in the Jewish Imagination
Can God's Existence be Rationally Proven? Medieval and Modern Philosophical Approaches
Enoch and Azazel: Angels and Demons in Jewish Belief and Practice
The Pious Werewolf: Confronting Monstrosity in Medieval Jewish Thought
Body and Soul: Penitence and Personhood in the Jewish Tradition
The Two Headed Man: Monstrosity, Humanity, and Halakhah
"And the Glory of God Rested on Mt. Sinai": Visualizing Revelation in Jewish Thought and Worship
Jewish and Israel Studies in the Modern University: Schism or Symbiosis?
"Dr. David Shyovitz is an outstanding presenter, who blends scholarship and sensibility to engage a diverse audience. His sophistication and erudition are only matched by his approachability and humility, making him an ideal choice of someone who can challenge and enrich scholars and laypeople alike. He marshals a dazzling array of fascinating historical sources to create imaginative talks that explore unique historical elements from multiple perspectives. Dr. Shyovitz has lectured for our organization in multiple venues as our participants have always sought more opportunities to learn from him. His thoughtfulness inspires curiosity beyond the conclusion of his presentation. I would recommend him highly to any one seeking a thought-provoking scholar to enhance their educational programming."
- Rabbi Reuven Brand
Dean, Midwest Center for Jewish Learning
Bobins Family Chair in Community Jewish Scholarship,
Yeshiva University Torah Mitzion Kollel of Chicago
"Professor David Shyovitz has served as Scholar-in-Residence for our annual Rabbinic Mission, which brings the Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform rabbis of the Chicago community to Europe and Israel each year. The single most attractive feature of the Rabbinic Mission is the scholarship, teaching, and personality of Professor Shyovitz. He has led and taught several dozen rabbis as they have explored Jewish history in Paris, the Rhineland (Worms, Mainz, Speyer, Frankfurt), Spain (Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Toledo). It goes without saying that as a scholar he is at the top of his field – the history of pre-modern Jewry. At the same time, as a teacher he is peerless. He has the capacity to present the great ideas and patterns of medieval general and Jewish history in a manner accessible to both the scholar and the neophyte. His personal style is inviting, engaging, and compelling. He is a delightful and accommodating teacher who makes himself and his knowledge accessible. In addition, he is possessed of a wonderful sense of humor and an amazing capacity to hear and respond to questions and comments from a host of diverse perspectives."
- Rabbi Yechiel Poupko
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago