UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies


Professor Willem Smelik awarded two fellowships

13 June 2017


We are very proud to announce that Professor Willem Smelik (Hebrew and Jewish Studies) has received two fellowships, the Harry Starr fellowship at Harvard (2017-2018) and the Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2018-2019) for his research on the mixed use of Hebrew and Aramaic in early rabbinic literature, the impact of prolonged bilingualism on the conceptualization of both languages in Early Judaism, and the phenomenon of inner-Aramaic code-switching.

The projects will explore the bilingual nature of early rabbinic literature. The proposed research will address the question exactly how the Palestinian Talmud, or Talmud Yerushalmi, switches between languages from a grammatical, socio-linguistic, legal and literary point of view. 

Observations on the extent of bidirectionality between Hebrew and Aramaic and their linear equivalence will shed new light on the socio-historical conceptualizations of the three main Jewish languages in Roman Palestine—Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. There will be an additional focus on the question to what extent inner-Aramaic code-switching can be established between Literary Aramaic and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic.