Professor emerita

Professor Emeritus Susan Handelman

Professor Emeritus
Professor emerita
    Fields of Interest

    rhetoric,  Jewish rhetoric, visual rhetoric

    performance studies

    graphic narrative

    pedagogy, critical theory and the teaching of literature

    literary criticism and jewish thought




    Ph.D. 1979             State University of New York at Buffalo - English


    M.A.  1977             State University of New York at Buffalo - English

              1973             Centro Linguistico Dante Alighieri, Florence, Italy

              1972             Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College


    B.A.   1971      Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts - English

    (magna cum laude)




    2012   Finalist, Silver Medal, Jewish National  Book Award for Make Yourself a            Teacher :Rabbinic Tales of Mentors and Disciples

    1988 Winner of 24th Translation Culture Prize of Japan for Japanese translation of  my The Slayers of Moses: the Emergence of Rabbinic interpretation in Modern Literary Theory


    1997-1999   Jerusalem Fellows, Mandel School for Educational Leadership,    Jerusalem, Israel

    1992         Named one of the "Top Ten" teachers at College Park by the Diamondback Student Newspaper

    1991           "Teacher of the Year," Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Maryland Panhellenic Association:  1991

    1989-90       Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, University of Maryland

    1987             Ivry Fellowship, Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies (Summer)

    1987             Special Research Assignment, College of Arts and Humanities

    1982-83       Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University

    1978-79       Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Dissertation Fellowship

    1975-76       University Fellow, State University of New York at Buffalo

    1971              Clara French Prize for Literature, Smith College

    1970              Phi Beta Kappa, Smith College




    2009-2010  Visiting Scholar,Department of Communications,Northwestern University


    2000-present     Professor of English, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

                Chair, English Department  2007-2009


    1991-2000   Professor of English, University of Maryland


    1984-1991   Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland


    1979-1984   Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland


    1974-78       Teaching Fellowship, State University of New York at Buffalo



     Endowed Lecture Series:

       University of Washington, Seattle, the 29th Annual Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectureship in Jewish Studies. Three lectures on  “The Mentor/Disciple Relationship in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Literary Theory”

      Center for the Study of Cultures, Rice University, NEH Distinguished Visiting Scholar, four seminars and one public lecture on hermeneutics, epistemology, pedagogy and Jewish thought

     Others lectures: University of Chicago-- Divinity School, Rutgers Univiersity Center for Jewish Studies, Association for Jewish Studies, Rhetoric Society of America, University of Pennsylvania, Drew University, York University,  Johns Hopkins Humanities Center, Smith College,  Association for Religion and Intellectual Life, Hebrew Union College, Modern Language Association, Indiana University, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture, University of California at San Diego, U of California  at  Santa. Barbara, Bryn Mawr College, Louisiana State University, Princeton University, Oberlin College, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, University of North Carolina at  Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, American Academy of Religion, Georgetown University, Washington Forum on Psychiatry and the Humanities, Yale University, Ohio State University,



    Rhetoric, Jewish Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric,

    Literary Criticism and Jewish Thought

    Pedagogy and Literary Theory



    Shakespeare in Performance; Contemporary Crtical Theory; History and Theory of Rhetoric; Women and Rhetoric; Graphic Novel;  Food and Literature;  Critical Thought and the Teaching of Literature; Nineteenth- Century British Literature; Introduction to the Novel; The Bible and Literary Criticism, Literature and Ethics; Spiritual Autobiography; Literature and Religion; Interdisciplinary Program in Gender Studies: Core Course in Gender in Language and Literature,




             “Make Yourself a Teacher”:  Rabbinic Tales of Mentors and Disciples  ( Seattle: University of Washington Press,2011) 151 pp. Finalist, Silver Medal, Jewish National Book Award, 2012


    Fragments of Redemption: Jewish Thought and Literary Theory in Benjamin, Scholem, and Levinas (Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1991), 389 pp. **Japanese translation. Tokyo: Hohsei University Press, 2005


    The Slayers of Moses:  The Emergence of Rabbinic Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory (Albany:  State University of New York Press, 1982), 267 pp.    ***Translated into Japanese by  K. Yamagata (Tokyo: Hohsei University Press, 1987). Winner of 24th Translation Culture Prize of Japan, 1988. Chinese translation in progress,


             Co- Editor with Ora Elper “Torah of the Mothers”: Contemporary Jewish Women Read Classical Jewish Texts ( Jerusalem: Urim Press, 2000) 503 pp.


              Co-Editor with Jeffrey Saks Wisdom From All My Teachers: Challenges and Initiatives in Contemporary Torah Education (Jerusalem:Urim Press 2003) 395 pp.


    Associate Editor with Joseph Smith, Psychiatry and the Humanities, Volume 11, Psychoanalysis and Religion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990).



        Forthcoming  2016: "Don't Forget the Potatoes" Imagining God Through Food." In Imagining the Jewish God. Eds Kenneth Koltun-Fromm and Len Kaplan. Graven Images Series. (Lexington Press, 2016), MSS  18 pages.

      Entry on  "Judaism," Chapter 11 in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Religion. Ed Susan Felch (Cambridge Univ Press,Spring 2016), 25 pages in galley proof.

          Review of  Esther Cameron, Western Art and Jewish Presence  in the Work of Paul Celan.  In  B'Or HaTorah: Journal of Science, Life, and Art. (Jerusalem College  of Technology-Lev Academic Center)  Vol 24. ( Winter 2015).

      "Why I Don't Teach 'The Bible as Literature' Anymore." Special Forum on Teaching the Bible as Literature.  Journal of Reilgion and Literature 47:1  (Spring 2015):  61-67

       “'Is Midrash Comics?': A Fish Story  About Graphic Narrative, Visual Rhetoric and Rabbinic Hermeneutics" .  Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice  ed. Janice Fernheimer and  Michal Bernard Donals. (Brandeis University Press, 2014): 147-164

             “The Philosopher, The Rabbi, and the Rhetorician,” Special issue  of  College  English on “Jewish Rhetoric,” 72.6 ( 2010): 590-607.

              “‘Go Down Moses’:Teaching in the New M.A. in Gender Studies Program at Bar-Ilan University.”Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, Fall, 2002 (5): 213-230.

    “‘Knowledge Has   a Face’: the Jewish, the Personal, and the Pedagogical.”

    Personal Effects: The Social Character of Scholarly Writingin  Eds. David Bleich and Deborah Holdstein (Utah State University Press, 2001): 121-144.

     “‘Stopping the Heart’: The Spiritual Search of Students and the Challenge to a Professor  in an Undergraduate  Literature Class” in  Religion, Scholarship and Higher Education: Perspectives,  Models and Future Prospects.  Ed. Andrea Sterk  ( Notre Dame University Press, 2001):202-230

    “Emunah: The Craft of Faith."  The Academy and the Possibility of Belief, ed. M.L. Buley-Meissner (New York: Hampton Press, 2000) :85-104

    “Crossing the Void: A Meditation on Postmodern Jewish Theological Renewal.”  Reviewing the Covenant:Eugene Borowitz and the Postmodern Renewal of Jewish Theology, Ed. Peter Ochs.(NY: State University of New York Press,2000):173-200

    “‘We Cleverly Avoided Talking About God’: Personal and Pedagogical Reflections on Academia and Spirituality.”  Courtyard:A Journal of Research and Thought in Jewish Education,.Jewish Theological Seminary 1:1 (1999): 101-120.

               “Dear Class.”  Essays in Quality Learning:Teachers’ Reflections on  Classroom Practice. Ed. Steven Selden     (University of Maryland, IBM Total Quality Learning Project, 1998): 17-32

    “Women and the Study of the Torah in the Thought of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: A Halakhic Analysis.” Jewish Legal Writings By Women. Eds. Micah Halperin and Channah Safrai  (Jerusalem:Urim Press, 1998): 142-177.

    “Crossing the Void: A Postmodern Jewish Theology.”  Creating the Jewish Future. Eds. Bernard Lightman and Michael Brown (Alta Mira Press/Sage Publishers, 1998): 45-59.

    "`Find(ing) Yourself  a Teacher': Opening the Discussion on Pedagogy at the Association for Jewish Studies Conference.” Association for Jewish Studies Newsletter, Spring 1995,(45):8-9.

    "A Man Apart:  The Legacy of The Lubavitcher Rebbe."   Crosscurrents:  Religion and Intellectual Life (Summer 1995):234-240.

    "The Torah of Criticism and the Criticism of Torah:  Recuperating the Pedagogical Moment."  Journal of Religion, 74:3 (1994): 356-371.   Reprinted  in ,Interpreting Judaism in a Postmodern Age, ed. Steven Kepnes (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1996): 221-242.

    "Emunah: The Craft of Faith."  Crosscurrents:  Religion and Intellectual Life 42:3 (1992):  293-313.

             "Walter Benjamin and the Angel of History."  Crosscurrents:  Religion and     Intellectual Life 41:3 (1992):  344-352.

    "Facing the Other:  Levinas, Perelman, and Rosenzweig."  Religion and Literature 22:2-3 (1990): 61-84.  Reprinted in Summoning:  The Idea of the Covenant and Literary Theory, ed. Ellen Spolsky (Albany:  State University of New York Press, 1993). Reprinted in Divine Aporia:Postmodern Conversations about the Other ed. John C. Hawley (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2000): 263-287; reprinted in  Emmanuel Levinas:Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, ed Claire Katz (Routledge, 2005)

    "Ending the Cold War: Literary Theory and the Bibliography and Methods Course." Literary Research, 12 (1989): 115-133.

    "Parodic Play and Prophetic Reason: Two Interpretations of Interpretation." Poetics Today 9:2 (1988): 396-423. Reprinted in The Rhetoric of Interpretation and the Interpretation of Rhetoric, ed. Paul Hernadi (Durham: Duke University Press, 1989): 143-171.

    "The State of Contemporary Literary Criticism and Jewish Studies." Association for Jewish Studies Newsletter, No. 37 (1988): 3-6.

    "`Torments of an Ancient Word': Edmond Jabès and the Rabbinic Tradition, in The Sin of the Book:  Essays on the Writing of Edmond Jabès,  ed. Eric Gould (Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1985), 55-91.

    "`Everything is in It': Rabbinic Interpretation and Modern Literary Criticism."  Judaism 35 (1986): 429-440.

              "Jacques Derrida and the Heretic Hermeneutic," in Displacement: New Essays         in Post-Structuralist Criticism, ed. Mark Krupnick (Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1983), pp. 98-132.

    "Fragments of the Rock:  Modern Literary Theory and the Study of Midrash." Prooftexts:  A Journal of Jewish Literary Study 5 (l985): 75-95.

    "Interpretation as Devotion:  Freud's Relation to Rabbinic Hermeneutics." Psychoanalytic Review 68 (1981): 201-218.

    "Greek Philosophy and the Overcoming of the Word." Works and Days 1 (1980): 45-69.

    "Intimate Distance:  The Boundary of Life and Art in To the Lighthouse." International Review of Psychoanalysis 7 (1980): 41-49.

    "Timon of Athens:  The Rage of Disillusion."  American Imago 36 (1979): 45-68.  Reprinted in Shakespearean Criticism, Vol. 1, ed. L. Harris (Detroit:  Gale Research Company, 1984), 529-31. Reprinted in Signet Edition of Timon of Athens, ed. Maurice Charney (1990) Reprinted in Titus Andronicus and Timon of Athens, ed Sylvan Barnet, Signet Classic Shakespeare ( 2005).

    "Freud's Midrash:  The Exile of Interpretation." New York Literary Forum 2 (1978): 99-112.



    "Putting Women in the Picture: a Personal Account of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's  Attitude Towards Feminism," in Rivka Slonim, Bread and Fire: Jewish Women Find God in the Everyday,  Jerusalem: Urim , 2008): 343-356

    Various  popular articles in the Melton Journal for Jewish Research, Jewish Action, Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Sh'ma:  A Journal of Jewish Responsibility, The Jewish Observer, The Jewish Home, Wellsprings.





    The Stroum Lectures I delivered at the Uinversity of Washington, Seattle may be viewed here.




    Last Updated Date : 23/05/2022