Professor_Steven_FineDr. Steven Fine, a historian of Judaism in the Greco-Roman World, was recently named the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Chair in Jewish History at Yeshiva College. He earned his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, his MA from the University of Southern California, and his PhD from Hebrew University. A cultural historian, Fine’s research focuses on relationships between the literature of ancient Judaism, art and archaeology. Fine’s blend of history, rabbinic literature, archaeology and art, together with his deep engagement with historiography and contemporary culture, is expressed in a broad range of publications.

 

1. What did you do before you joined YU as a faculty member?
I was the Jewish Foundation Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Cincinnati. I came to YU a decade ago.

2. What is your favorite aspect of your job at YU?
My students, my colleagues, and the fact that Jewish history has existential consequences for many of my students.

3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
My profession lets me explore my dreams to my heart’s content—from my trips into the world of the ancient rabbis, Chazal, to the archaeology of the Beit Hamikdash and even to within inches of the Arch of Titus menorah. On top of that, I get to travel on my voyage with the most amazing group of women and men: undergraduate students, graduates and faculty embarking on their own careers. What could be better?

4. What is your goal as a Jewish historian, and what is your goal as a teacher?
My goal is to help my students understand the human condition through the lens of the Jewish past, and to make the world—especially the Jewish world—better through clear-sighted knowledge and exploration. I teach intellectual rigor, openness, respect for our historical subjects, human dignity and concrete skills that I hope students will bring into their future lives.

5. What would your current and former YU students be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not sure, since I am very open with my students about myself.  One thing that won’t surprise them, though, is that my profession is a kind of calling, and that I truly love what I do, and love them.

 

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