Hearty congratulations to Rachel on this honor!


The American Academy for Jewish Research is pleased to announce the winner of its annual Salo Baron Prize for the best first book in Jewish studies published in 2013. 

Rachel Neis, The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity, Cambridge University Press

The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture explores how rabbis, in both Roman Palestine and Babylonia, conceptualized, constructed, and regulated vision and sight, and includes comprehensive discussion of the Greco-Roman, Ancient Near Eastern and Persian contexts. Rachel Neis uses cultural, literary, and gender theory to illuminate rabbinic sources, both halakhic and aggadic. She brilliantly explores how rabbinic conceptions of sight connect to many other dimensions of rabbinic thought, including idolatry, sexuality, divinity, master-disciple relationships, non-Jewish authorities, and more.

The American Academy for Jewish Research (www.aajr.org) is the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America. Its membership represents the most senior figures in the field.

The Baron Prize honors the memory of the distinguished historian Salo W. Baron, a long-time president of the AAJR, who taught at Columbia University for many decades. It is, according to Professor Gershon Hundert, current president of the AAJR, one of the signal honors that can be bestowed on a young scholar in Jewish studies and a sign of the excellence, vitality, and creativity in the field. Previous recipients have gone on to stellar careers at major research universities and liberal arts colleges.