Barry Wimpfheimer Associate Professor of Religion, Department of Religious Studies

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 spent Spring 2006 at Harvard University as a Harry Starr Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Jewish Studies.

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 Storiesimplicates 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 teaches courses on various topics related to Judaism including “Introduction to Judaism,” “The Art of Rabbinic Narrative,” and “From Esoterica to US Weekly: Kabbalah and Popular Culture.”

Selected Works


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).

Available through


“Interrupting Birth Control: Re-reading a Famous Beraita.” in Barry Wimpfheimer, ed., Wisdom of Bat Sheva: The Dr. Beth Samuels Memorial Volume (2009).

Available through

“The Shiva.” in Paul Socken, ed., Why Study Talmud in the Twenty-First Century? (Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2010), 195-205.

Available through Lexington Books

Review of Richard Kalmin, Between Persia and Roman Palestine in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, March 2010 (78:1, 312-315).

Talmudic Legal Narrative: Broadening the Discourse of Jewish Law.” Dine Israel 24 (2007): 157-196.

‘But It Is Not So’: Toward a Poetics of Legal Narrative in the Babylonian Talmud.” Prooftexts 24 (Winter 2004): 51-86.

Curriculum Vitae