Prof. William Kolbrener

Prof. William Kolbrener
Conference hours: 

Fields of interest

Seventeenth Century Literature, History, Theology

John Milton

Creative Non Fiction

Early Modern Feminism

Mary Astell

Rabbinic Epistemology and Hermeneutics






Ph.D. (with distinction), Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 1988-1993


M. Phil., Columbia University, 1986-1988


M.A., First Class Degree in English Language and Literature, University College, Oxford, 1983-1985


B.A., Columbia College, New York, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1979-1983




Chair, Department of English, Bar Ilan University, 2012 - present


Associate Professor, Department of English, Bar Ilan University, Israel, 1993-2008


Visiting Professor, Department of English, University of California, Los Angeles, 1997




Fellow, Atid Institute, Jerusalem, 2010-2011


Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, Award (for article on the topic of early modern women for 2004)


Fellow, Israel Science Foundation, 1998-2000


Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, 1998


Fellow, Einstein Forum, Potsdam, Germany, 1997


James Holly Hanford Award, Milton Society of America, 1993


Lady Davis Fellowship, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1991-1993


President’s Fellowship, Columbia University, 1991-1992


Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellowship, ColumbiaUniversity 1991


Mellon Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 1990-1991


Marjorie Hope Nicolson Fellowship, Columbia University, 1988-1990


Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 1986-1988






The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition (Indiana University Press, forthcoming in 2016)

Open Minded Torah: Of Irony, Fundamentalism and Love (Continuum, 2011)

Milton’s Warring Angels: A Study of Critical Engagements, Cambridge University Press, 1996

Athens to Jerusalem: Truth, Interpretation and Pluralism in Jewish Law (in progress)


Languages of Counter-Enlightenment in Britain: History, Authority, Gender (in progress)


Edited Collections:


Mary Astell: Gender, Reason, Faith, Ashgate (2007)




‘Reception,’ Cambridge Companion to John Milton (forthcoming, Cambridge)


Recto Ratio and Discordia Concors in Milton and Hobbes,’ (forthcoming, Milton Quarterly)


‘Milton and Israel’ – ‘Introduction’ to translation of Areopagitica in Hebrew (forthcoming, Shalem)


‘On Abandoning Aristotle: Love in Psychoanalysis and Jewish Philosophy,’ Answering a Question with A Question (forthcoming Academic Studies Press)


‘Slander and Conversation in Mary Astell,’ Women in Early Modern Britain (forthcoming, Ashgate)


‘Milton on a Diet: Eating in Paradise Lost,’ Reading Paradise Lost, Modern Language Association (Cambridge, 2012)


‘An Ambivalent Life,’ Religion and Culture (Yeshiva University 2012)


‘The Poverty of Context: Cambridge School History and the New Milton Criticism,’ The New Milton Criticism (Cambridge, 2012)


‘Jacob’s Scar,’ Abraham’s Tent, Urim, 2012


‘How to Read How to Read the Bible’ (JQR, 2011)


‘Death of Moses Revisited: Repetition and Creative Memory in Freud and the Rabbis,’ American Imago (2011)


‘The Canonized Mary Astell: Gender, Canon, Context,’ Woman Editing, Editing Women, Cambridge Scholars Press (2009).


‘Love of God in the Age of the Philosophers: Mary Astell, Occasionalism, and the Metaphysicals,’ Religious Cultures in the Early Modern Period: Tradition, Authority, Heterodoxy, Ben Gurion University Press (2007)


‘Newton in Jerusalem,’ Azure 30 (August 2007).


‘Dreading to Engage Her’: The Critical Reception of Mary Astell, Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith, Ashgate, (2007)


‘Astell’s ‘Design of Friendship’ in Letters and A Serious Proposal,’ Mary Astell: Reason, Gender, Faith, Ashgate (2007)


Into the Whirlwind: The Persistence of the Dialectic in the Works of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Tradition (2007)


‘Elaborating Differences: Milton in the Postmodern Classroom,’ Teaching Milton’s Shorter Poetry and Prose, Modern Language Association Publications (2007)


Discordia Concors,’ Common Knowledge 11.1 (2005), pp. 111-121.


 ‘Chiseled from All Sides: Dispute in the Rabbinic Tradition,’ American Jewish Studies Review  28.2 (2004), pp. 273-297.


 ‘‘Forc’d into an Interest’: High Church Politics and Feminine Agency in the Works of Mary Astell,’ 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 10 (2004), pp. 3-31.


 ‘Gendering the Modern: Mary Astell’s Feminist Historiography,’ Eighteenth  Century: Theory and Interpretation, 44.1 (2004), pp. 1-24.


‘‘The Charge of Socinianism’: Charles Leslie’s High Church Defense of ‘True Religion,’’ Journal of the Historical Society, 3.1 (2003), pp. 1-25.


‘The Hermeneutics of Mourning: Multiplicity and Authority in Jewish Law,’ College Literature 30.4 (2003), pp. 114-139.


‘Milton and the Jacobites: Strategies of Historiography and Literary Appropriation,’  Clio: A Journal of Literature and History  32.2 (2003), pp. 153-176.


‘‘Commonwealth Fictions’ and ‘Inspiration Fraud’: Milton and the Eikon Basilike after 1689,  Milton Studies 37 (1999), pp. 166-197.


‘Milton’s Bestial Hebraism: A Re-appraisal,’ Judaism 185 (1998), pp. 115-120.


‘‘Man to Man’: Self-Fashioning in Jonson’s ‘To William Pembroke,’’ Texas Studies in Language and Literature 39 (1997), pp. 284-295.


‘‘In a Narrow and to Him a Dark Chamber’: Milton Unabridged,’ Common Knowledge 4.3 (1995), pp. 72-96.


‘Towards a Genuine Jewish Philosophy: Halakhic Mind’s New Philosophy of Religion,’ Tradition 30.3 (1996), pp. 21-43; reprinted in The Philosophy of R. Joseph Soloveitchik, Ktav, 1996.


‘Science as Meta-Discourse,’ Kolbrener-Montag Exchange, Tradition 31.3 (1997), pp. 90-94.


‘‘No Elsewhere’: Fish, Soloveitchik and the Unavoidability of Interpretation,’ Journal of  Literature and Theology 10.2 (1996), pp. 171-190.


 ‘‘Plainly Partial’: The Liberal Areopagitica,’ English Literary History 60.1 (1993), pp. 57-78.




Mishkan T’fila: A Reform Siddur, Commentary (31 December 2007).


‘Imperfect Sense,’ Modern Philology 101.3 (2004), pp. 446-452 .


Barbara Shapiro, A Culture of FactCommon Knowledge 8:1 (2002): pp. 205-206.


John Rogers, Matter of Revolution, Common Knowledge 7.1 (1998), p. 152.


Gustav Mahler, Symphone No. 5, Common Knowledge 6.3 (1997), p. 145.


Stanley Fish, There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, Common Knowledge 6.3 (1997), p. 148.


Religion and Culture in Renaissance England, eds. Claire McEachern and Debora Shuger, Common Knowledge 7.3 (1998), pp. 171-172.


Jason Rosenblatt, Torah and Law in Paradise Lost, Common Knowledge 4.2 (1995), p. 52


Patrick Joyce, Visions of the People, Common Knowledge 3.2 (1994), p. 152.


Perry Anderson, A Zone of Engagement, Common Knowledge 2.2 (1993),

p. 162


From Persecution to Toleration, ed. Ole Peter Grell, Common Knowledge 2.2 (1993), p. 163.


Nancy S. Streuver, Theory as Practice, Common Knowledge 2.1 (1993),

p. 126.


Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community, Common Knowledge 1.2 (1992), p.131.


Chronotypes: The Construction of Time, eds. John Bender et al., Common Knowledge 1.2 (1992), p.131.


Zachary Sayre Shiffman, On the Threshold of Modernity, Common Knowledge 1.3 (1992), p. 160.


Victor Magagna, Communities of Grain, Common Knowledge 1.3 (1992), pp. 161.



Classical Backgrounds to English and American Literature

Renaissance and Early Modern English Literature


Metaphysical Poets

Creative Non Fiction