Mordechai Cohen is Associate Dean and Professor of Bible at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Director of the Chinese-Jewish Conversation at Yeshiva University. Cohen has published five volumes on Jewish Bible interpretation in its Muslim and Christian contexts. Over the past four years, he has been teaching in China and exploring the dynamics of Chinese commentary on the classical Confucian texts—and parallels to developments in scriptural interpretation. This led to the establishment of the Chinese-Jewish conversation, which investigates these two traditions comparatively on topics ranging from archaeology, history and philosophy to environmental protection. See the link below.
Research related to commentary
Cohen’s research focuses on scriptural commentary from a comparative perspective. His recent volumes, Rashi, Biblical Interpretation and Latin Learning in Medieval Europe (2021), and The Rule of Peshat (2020) are the product of his work while directing an international research group at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies in 2010/11 on Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptural interpretation. Cohen edited the group’s collective volume Interpreting Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam (2016) with Adele Berlin. Cohen’s earlier volumes, Three Approaches to Biblical Metaphor (2003) and Opening the Gates of Interpretation (2011), show how Jewish thinkers drew upon Arabic poetics and Muslim jurisprudence to interpret the Bible.
Publications related to commentary
“Jewish Bible Exegesis in Muslim Lands in the Middle Ages,” in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 5, ed. Phil Lieberman, 701–727. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
“Rashi’s Literary Outlook as Reflected in his Conception of the Biblical Narrator: His use of the term ha-meshorer (“the poet”) and its impact in the northern French peshat school,” Jewish Studies Internet Journal 18 (2020): 1–42.
“Conceptions of Authorship in Early Jewish Cultures,” in The Cambridge Handbook of Literary Authorship, ed. Ingo Berensmeyer, Gert Buelens, and Marysa Demoor, 81–97. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
“A New Perspective on Rashi of Troyes in Light of Bruno the Carthusian: Exploring Jewish and Christian Bible interpretation in eleventh-century Northern France,” Viator 48,1 (2017): 39–86.
“Nahmanides’ Four Senses of Scriptural Signification: Jewish and Christian Contexts,” in Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Transmission in Thirteenth-Century Jewish Cultures, ed. Elisheva Baumgarten, Ruth Mazo Karras, and Katelyn Mesler, 38–58. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.
走进犹太文化 (Introduction to Jewish culture), an ongoing series of online essays about Jewish beliefs, customs, history etc. published in Chinese at https://cjcyu.org/blog/
Rashi, Biblical Interpretation, and Latin Learning in Medieval Europe: A New Perspective on an Exegetical Revolution. 307pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
The Rule of Peshat: Jewish Constructions of the Plain Sense of Scripture and Their Christian and Muslim Contexts, 900–1270. 405pp. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020.
Interpreting Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Overlapping Inquiries, ed. with Adele Berlin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 381pp., 15 plates.
Opening the Gates of Interpretation: Maimonides’ Biblical Hermeneutics in Light of His Geonic-Andalusian Heritage and Muslim Milieu. 550pp. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2011.