Matthias Lehmann

picture of Matthias  Lehmann

Professor and Teller Family Chair, History
School of Humanities

Director, Center for Jewish Studies
School of Humanities

Ph.D., Freie Universität Berlin, 2002

Phone: History Department: (949) 824-6521
Fax: (949) 824-2865

University of California, Irvine
Department of History
200 Murray Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Modern Jewish history, Sephardic studies
Research Abstract
I am an historian of modern European and Mediterranean Jewish history at the University of California, Irvine. An elected member of the American Academy of Jewish Research, I am also co-editor of the journal Jewish Social Studies, and author of several books.

My most recent book is The Baron: Maurice de Hirsch and the Jewish Nineteenth Century (Stanford University Press, 2022), a biography of Maurice de Hirsch (1831-1896), banker, railroad entrepreneur, and one of the most prominent Jewish philanthropists of the modern era. The book offers a new, trans-national perspective on the Jewish nineteenth century by exploring the life of Baron Hirsch - born in Munich, builder of Ottoman railroads, a citizen of Austria, resident of Paris, and founder of the Jewish Colonization Association and its colonization project in Argentina in the 1890s.

Previously, I wrote Emissaries from the Holy Land (Stanford University Press, 2014), which tells the story of a philanthropic network that was overseen by the Jewish community leadership in the Ottoman capital Istanbul between the 1720s and the 1820s, in support of the impoverished Jews of Palestine. The book looks at how the emissaries and their supporters understood the relationship between the Jewish Diaspora and the Land of Israel, and it shows how cross-cultural encounters and competing claims for financial support involving Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and North African emissaries and communities contributed to the transformation of Jewish identities in the eighteenth century.

Other publications include Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture (Indiana University Press, 2005); The Jews: A History (Routledge, third edition, 2019), written together with John Efron and Steven Weitzman; and Jews and the Mediterranean (Indiana University Press, 2020), edited with Jessica Marglin.

I studied at the universities of Freiburg, Berlin, and Jerusalem, and did my graduate work at Freie Universität Berlin and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid. I am teaching courses on modern European and Mediterranean Jewish history and the history of antisemitism, and I accept applications from prospective graduate students who wish to work in these fields.

— The Baron: Maurice de Hirsch and the Jewish Nineteenth Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2022).

— Editor, with Jessica Marglin, Jews and the Mediterranean (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020).

— Co-author, with John Efron and Steven Weitzman. The Jews: A History (New York and London: Routledge, 2019).
Third, revised edition of The Jews: A History (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2009 and 2014).

— Emissaries from the Holy Land: The Sephardic Diaspora and the Practice of Pan-Judaism in the Eighteenth Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).

— Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Ottoman Sephardic Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005).

— “A Mediterranean Society? Jews in Mediterranean History, the Mediterranean in Jewish History,” with Jessica M. Marglin, Journal of Mediterranean Studies 30:1 (2021), 63-83.

— “Rethinking Sephardic Secularism: Social Conflict and Anticlericalism in El Correo de Viena,” El Prezente: Journal for Sephardic Studies 14-15 (2020-21), 90-103.

— with Jessica Marglin, “Jewish History in the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean in Jewish History,” in Jews and the Mediterranean, ed. Matthias Lehmann and Jessica Marglin (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020), 1-29.

— “Baron Hirsch, the Jewish Colonization Association, and the Future of the Jews,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 27:1 (2020), 73-102.

— “‘A New Book in Jewish Affairs Begins’: Maurice de Hirsch and the Waning Power of Jewish Philanthropy at the Fin-de-Siècle,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 17:4 (2018), 472-486.

— with Jacobo Sefamí, “Editorial. La experiencia judía en México: apuntes introductorios,” iMex Revista México Interdisciplinario 7:2 (2018), 8-13.

— “La Puerta de la Franquía: Livorno and Pan-Jewish Networks of Beneficence in the Eighteenth Century,” in: Italian Jewish Networks from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. Francesca Bregoli, Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti and Guri Schwarz (New York: Palgrave, 2018), 39-57.

— “The Balkans and South-Eastern Europe,” in: Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 8, ed. Mitchell Hart and Tony Michels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 257-273.

— “Linguistic Transformations: Ladino,” in: Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 7, ed. Jonathan Karp and Adam Sutcliffe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 104-132.

— “Networks of Patronage and the Birth of Two Ladino Newspapers,” in: Sepharad as Imagined Community, ed. Mahir ?aul and José Ignacio Hualde (New York: Peter Lang, 2017), 133-146.

— “Rabbinic Emissaries from Palestine and the Making of a Modern Jewish Diaspora: A Philanthropic Network in the Eighteenth Century,” in: Envisioning Judaism: Studies in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Ra’anan Boustan, Klaus Hermann, Reimund Leicht, Annette Yoshiko Reed, and Giuseppe Veltri, with the collaboration of Alex Ramos (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), vol. 2, 1228-1246.

— “Ladino Transitions: Vernacular Religious Literature and the Modernization of Ottoman Jewry.” Conversations 13 (spring 2012), 128-139.

— “The Dispersion of 1492 and Beyond.” The Sephardi Report 4:1 (2010, printed 2012), 8-18.

— “Beyond the ‘Jews of Islam.’” Jewish Quarterly Review 101:1 (2011), 133-142.

— “Jewish Nationalism in Ladino: Jacob Moshe Hay Altarats’ Zikhron yerushalayim,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 17:2 (2010), 146-159.

— with Shaul Magid, “Introduction: Jewish Religion in Ottoman Lands,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 17:1 (2010).

— “Hayon, Nehemiah Hiyya ben Moses”; “Livorno”; “Me’am Lo’ez”; “Sasportas, Jacob”; “Sephardi (Sephardim)”; “Rabbinical Emissaries”; “Assa, Abraham Ben Isaac”; “Azulay, Hayyim Joseph David”; “Culi (Hulli), Jacob ben Me’ir”; “Judeo-Spanish Literature,” in Encyclopedia on Jews in the Islamic World, ed. Norman Stillman et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2010).

— “Rethinking Sephardi Identity: Jews and Other Jews in Ottoman Palestine,” Jewish Social Studies 15:1 (2008), 81-109.

— “Introduction,” special issue of Jewish Social Studies 15:1 (2008), 1-9.

— “Levantinos and Other Jews: Reading H.Y.D. Azulai’s Travel Diary,” Jewish Social Studies 13:3 (2007), 1-34.

— “A Livornese ‘Port Jew’ and the Sephardim of the Ottoman Empire,” Jewish Social Studies 11:2 (2005), 51-76.

— “Sephardim,” in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Hans Dieter Betz et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004).

— “Representations and Transformation of Knowledge in Judeo-Spanish Ethical Literature: The Case of Eli‘ezer and Judah Papo’s ‘Pele Yo‘ets’,” in Jewish Studies Between the Disciplines, ed. Klaus Hermann et al. (E. J. Leiden: Brill, 2003), 299-324.

— “The Intended Reader of Ladino Rabbinic Literature and Judeo-Spanish Reading Culture,” Jewish History 16 (2002), 283-307.

— “Two Perceptions of Change in Judeo-Spanish Rabbinic Literature,” Sefarad 6 (2000), 95-122.

— “Islamic Legal Consultation and the Muslim-Jewish ‘Convivencia’,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 6 (1999), 25-54.

— “The Jews of Muslim Spain and the Maghrib. Al-Wansharîsî’s Collection of Fatwâs as a Source for Jewish Social History,” in: Jewish Studies at the Turn of the 20th Century, vol. 1: Biblical, Rabbinical, and Medieval Studies, ed. Judit Targarona Borrás and Angel Sáenz-Badillos (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999), 440-446.

— “Eine Minderheit zwischen allen Stühlen: Israelische Muslime und die Moderne,” in Davids Traum: Ein anderes Israel, ed. Habbo Knoch (Gerlingen: Bleicher, 1998), 275-305; second edition 2000.

— “Franz Rosenzweigs Kritik des Islam im ‘Stern der Erlösung’,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 1 (1993/94), 340-361.
Journal Editor

— Editor, Jewish Social Studies, 2021–

— Guest editor, with Jacobo Sefamí, “La experiencia judía en México,” special issue of iMex Revista: México Interdisciplinario 7:2 (2018).

— Guest editor, with Shaul Magid, “Jews in Ottoman Lands,” special issue of Jewish Studies Quarterly 17:1-17:2 (2010).

— Guest editor, “Sephardi Identities,” special issue of Jewish Social Studies 15:1 (2008).

Book reviews

— “Review of Jane Gerber, Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History,” Medieval Encounters 28 (2022), 120-122.

— “Review of Cengiz Sisman, The Burden of Silence: Sabbatai Sevi and the Evolution of the Ottoman-Turkish Dönmes,” Jewish History 31:3 (2018), 375-377.

— “Review of Jeremy Cohen, A Historian in Exile: Solomon ibn Verga, Shevet Yehudah, and the Jewish-Christian Encounter,” American Historical Review 123:3 (2018), 1033–1034.

— “Review of Francesca Bregoli, Mediterranean Enlightenment: Livornese Jews, Tuscan Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform,” American Historical Review 120:5 (2015), 1991-1992.

— “Review of Marjorie Lehman, The En Yaaqov: Jacob ibn Habib’s Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus,” AJS Review 38:2 (2014), 466-468.

— “Review of Julia Phillips Cohen, Becoming Ottomans,” Sefarad 74:1 (2014), 258-261.

— “Review of Jonathan Ray, ed., The Jew in Medieval Iberia,” American Academy of Research Historians of Medieval Spain, New_Book_Reviews/3049095#3049095.

— “Review of Robert Liberles, Jews Welcome Coffee: Tradition and Innovation in Early Modern Germany,” German History 31:1 (2013), 116-119.

— “Marc Baer, The Dönme,” AJS Review 34:2 (2010), 442-445.

— “Mercurians in Italy: Review of Francesca Trivellato, The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period,” H-German, H-Net Reviews, February 2010, showrev.php?id=29579

— “Responsa for the Diaspora: Review of Matt Goldish, Jewish Questions: Responsa on Sephardic Life in the Early Modern Period,” H-German, H-Net Reviews, June 2009,

— “Dean Bell, Jews in the Early Modern World,” The Medieval Review,

— “Michael Brenner et al., Jüdische Geschichte lesen,” European History Quarterly 35 (2005), 344-347.

— “Mehmet Hacisalihoglu, Die Jungtürken und die Mazedonische Frage, 1890-1918,” American Historical Review 109 (2004), 1345.

— “Bernd Rother, Spanien und der Holocaust,” Judaica 58 (2002), pp. 143-144.
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship, University of Munich (2010-2011)
Fulbright research fellowship, Tel Aviv University (2016)
Professional Society
Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research
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