Jewish – Christian Relations and Christian anti-Jewish Polemics in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Towards New Methods, Approaches, and Questions

When and Where

Monday, May 02, 2022 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Dr. Michail Kitsos
Professor Laura S. Lieber
Professor Christine (Tina) Shepardson
Professor Naomi Koltun-Fromm
Professor Barbara Roggema
Professor Deeana Copeland Klepper
Professor Judith Newman


"Jewish – Christian Relations and Christian anti-Jewish Polemics in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Towards New Methods, Approaches, and Questions"


Co-sponsored by the Toronto School of Theology and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Date: Monday, May 2nd, 2022
Time: 10:00am - 3:30pm ET
Place: In-Person JHB318 / Virtually via Zoom Webinar

This event is open to the public! No registration required. We invite you to attend at JHB318 or virtually through THIS LINK. Limited spots available in JHB318, seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.


Description: The academic study of Jewish–Christian relations and polemics in late antiquity and the Middle Ages has seen a continuous growth, positing questions on relations and contacts, interactions, and interinfluences between ancient and medieval Jews and Christians. In this conference, some of the leading scholars on Judaism and Christianity in late antiquity and the Middle Ages will reflect on new approaches, methods, and sources in order to raise new questions or reevaluate older ones pertaining to the study of Jewish–Christian relations and polemics in the ancient world.

Please view the conference schedule and program for more information: 

PDF iconJewish – Christian Relations and Christian anti-Jewish Polemics in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages - Program.pdf


Professor Laura S. Lieber is Professor of Religious Studies and Classical Studies at Duke University, where she also directs the Center for Jewish Studies. She received her BA in English and Classics from the University of Arkansas, her rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and her PhD from the University of Chicago; before joining the Duke faculty, she was an assistant professor of Religion and Classics at Middlebury College in Vermont.  Her book, Staging the Sacred:  Performance in Late Ancient Liturgical Poetry, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press; she is also the author of Yannai on Genesis: An Invitation to Piyyut (HUC Press, 2010), A Vocabulary of Desire: The Song of Songs in the Early Synagogue (Brill, 2014), Jewish Aramaic Poetry from Late Antiquity (Brill, 2018), and Classical Samaritan Poetry (Penn State University Press, 2022).

Professor Christine (Tina) Shepardson earned her PhD in Early Christianity at Duke University, and is now the Department Head and a Lindsay Young Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). She is the author of Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem’s Hymns in Fourth-Century Syria (2008) and Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy (2014); she is a co-editor of Dealing with Difference: Christian Patterns of Response to Religious Rivalry in Late Antiquity and Beyond (2021) and Invitation to Syriac Christianity: An Anthology (2022).

Professor Naomi Koltun-Fromm is Professor and Chair of Religion at the Department of Religion at Haverford College. She received a BA in history from Barnard College, and her MA and PhD from Stanford University in history and Jewish Studies and she spent several of her graduate and post-graduate years in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University. Dr. Koltun-Fromm was Director of Jewish Studies at Tulane University for two years before joining the Haverford College faculty in the Department of Religion. Professor Koltun-Fromm specializes in Late Ancient Jewish history, Jewish and Christian relations, religious polemics, comparative biblical exegesis, rabbinic culture and the Syriac speaking churches. She recently published a book, Hermeneutics of Holiness: Ancient Jewish and Christian Notions of Sexuality and Religious Community, which traces the nexus of sexuality and holiness from the biblical texts into the fourth century rabbinic and patristic writings. Her present research focuses on the representation of Jerusalem in early Jewish, Christian and Muslim writings.

Professor Barbara Roggema (Ph.D University of Groningen, 2007) teaches History of the Muslim World at the University of Florence, Italy. She specializes in the history of interreligious encounters in the Middle East. She is editing a three-volume work on Jewish-Christian encounter in the Middle East, the Caucasus, India and the Horn of Africa (600-1800 CE) entitled Jewish-Christian Relations from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, Arc Humanities Press, 2022-2024.  Other publications of hers include: Patristic Texts in Arabic Translations, Leiden / Boston, 2019 [with Alexander Treiger], The Three Rings: Textual Studies in the Historical Trialogue of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Leuven, 2005 [with Marcel Poorthuis and Pim Valkenberg] and ‘Polemics between religious minorities: Christian Adversus Judaeos from the early ʿAbbasid period’, in Minorities in Contact in the Medieval Mediterranean, ed. Clara Almagro et al, Turnhout, 2020.

Professor Deeana Copeland Klepper is Associate Professor of Religion and History at Boston University. Her research focuses on medieval religious identities, cultures, and interreligious encounters. She is the author of The Insight of Unbelievers: Nicholas of Lyra and Christian Reading of Jewish Text in the Later Middle Ages (2007) and Pastoral Care and Community in Late Medieval Germany: Albert of Diessen’s "Mirror of Priests" (forthcoming 2022). She is currently researching the treatment of Jews and Christian-Jewish relations in medieval guides for parish priests.

Professor Judith Newman is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism in the Department for the Study of Religion and Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the history and consequences of scriptural interpretation and embodied practices of “lived religion.” She is currently working on a book project called The Participatory Past: Reconceiving Time and Text in the Memories of Israel.

Dr. Michail Kitsos is the Igor Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellow in Christian-Jewish Relations at the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the Toronto School of Theology. They received their BA in Theology and their MA in Biblical Archaeology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, their second MA in Jewish Studies from Gratz College, and a third MA and PhD from the University of Michigan in Rabbinics: Jewish history of Late Antiquity. Kitsos specializes in the History of Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, Jewish-Christian relations, and Christian anti-Jewish and Jewish anti-Christian dialogues and polemics. In their research, they use Christian and Jewish sources and examine Jewish and Christian identity formation and construction, production of “otherness” and difference, as well as the intertwined histories of Jews and Christians in late antiquity and the Middle Byzantine period in the Mediterranean world with an emphasis on the ongoing crossing of religious and social boundaries. Their recent work appears in Dissidence and Persecution in Byzantium: From Constantine to Michael Psellos, ed Danijel Džino and Ryan W. Strickler, Brill 2022, and Das Mittelalter. They are currently working on their book project which is a study of Jewish and Christian use of impersonation in late antiquity and the Middle Byzantine period.





Toronto School of Theology, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations


170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8