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Barry Wimpfheimer

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • (847) 491-2618
  • Crowe Hall, 1860 Campus Drive, 4-140
  • Office Hours: Monday 11-12pm (Fall 2019)

Barry Scott Wimpfheimer specializes in the Talmud and other Rabbinic Literature. His 2005 Columbia University doctoral dissertation entitled “Legal Narratives in the Babylonian Talmud” was awarded the Salo and Jeanette Baron Prize in Jewish Studies in 2007. 

Wimpfheimer’s work focuses on the Babylonian Talmud as a work of law and literature. His book Narrating the Law: A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories implicates a new methodology of reading talmudic law thickly by incorporating oft-ignored cultural concerns within its understanding of the law. The result of such an expansion is a textured description of Jewish law and an illuminating window onto rabbinic Judaism in Babylonia.

Wimpfheimer's The Talmud: A Biography is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.

Wimpfheimer is teaching The Talmud's Greatest Hits for The Alumnae of Northwestern University in Fall 2019. Students can access course materials here

Selected Works


The Talmud: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018).

Narrating the Law: A Poetics of Talmudic Legal Stories (Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion) (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).

ed., Wisdom of Bat Sheva: The Dr. Beth Samuels Memorial Volume, (Jersey City, New Jersey: Ktav, 2009).



“Suborning Perjury: A Case Study of Narrative Precedent in Talmudic Law.” In Alison L. Lacroix, Richard H. McAdams and Martha C. Nussbaum, eds., Fatal Fictions: Crime and Investigation in Law and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 41-64.

Curriculum Vitae

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