UCL Institute of Jewish Studies


The invention of the 'goyim'

22 March 2023, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

goy lecture picture

Lecture about whether the binary divisions between Jews and Gentiles are self-evident and how they arose

Event Information

Open to





Sara Ben-Isaac

Lecture given by Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi:

When was the goy invented? Much scholarship is devoted to Jewish relations with gentiles, but the category itself - which divides reality in its entirety in a binary manner: Jews and non-Jews - was taken for granted. The speaker argues that the binary Jew/goy partition is anything but self-evident and first appears in rabbinic literature.


About the Speaker

Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi

Chair of the department of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud, professor of rabbinic literature at Tel-Aviv University

Ishay Rosen-Zvi teaches rabbinic literature and is the Chair of the department of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud at Tel-Aviv University. He has written on Midrash and Mishnah, as well as on issues of self-formation and collective identity in Second-Temple Judaism, Early Christianity and rabbinic literature.