Alexei Sivertsev is a historian of religion with a
background in Hebrew, Judaic, late Roman and early Byzantine studies. His
research focuses on Jewish cultures in late antiquity, the period between the
fourth and the eighth centuries C.E., situating these cultures within the
broader context of the Roman and post-Roman Near East. Sivertsev’s past work
focused on the role of households in the formation of Jewish religious norms
and practices, which he examined in his book Households, Sects, and the Origins of Rabbinic Judaism (Brill, 2005). Sivertsev’s more recent
work has focused on the influence of Roman imperial models on the development
of messianic themes in Judaism in the fifth through eighth centuries C.E.,
resulting in the book Judaism and Imperial Ideology in Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2011). He is currently working on a book
on the function of images in Jewish and non-Jewish settings in the sixth and
the seventh centuries, provisionally entitled Impossible Form: Judaism,
Christianity, and the Language of Paradox in Late Antiquity. The book
examines a series of Hebrew and Aramaic Jewish texts that use image as a key
category in their discourse. In this work Sivertsev attempts to situate these
texts within the broader cultural milieu of late antiquity and read them as
another configuration of semiotic and conceptual norms of the day. In doing so,
he hopes to add another dimension to our understanding of late antique Jewish
culture and, at the same time, introduce a new and, until recently, virtually
untapped body of evidence for the pre-iconoclastic theory of image.
- History of Jewish culture in antiquity
- Judaism and Christianity in antiquity
- Epistemology and forms of knowledge
Courses Frequently Taught
- REL 107 "Judaism in History: Bible to 1492"
- REL 108 "Judaism in History: 1492 to the Present"
- REL 109 "The Jewish Experience"