James Adam Redfield

Faculty Visiting Assistant Professor

MA, Anthropology (UC Berkeley)
PhD, Religious Studies (Stanford)

James Redfield is Assistant Professor of Biblical and Talmudic Literatures in the Department of Theological Studies and a Fellow of the Research Institute at Saint Louis University. He writes primarily on rabbinic literature, with a focus on rabbinic ethnography, travel narratives, and storytelling more broadly. James is completing a monograph, Adventures of Rabbah & Friends: The Talmud's Strange Tales and their Afterlife (under contract, Brown University Press) on the reception-history of a cycle of enigmatic travel stories, following which he will return to a monograph-in-progress that is loosely based on his 2017 dissertation about ethnographic aspects of early rabbinic law.

James has published or forthcoming articles on those topics as well as on ancient ethnography; phenomenology; and the work of twentieth-century Jewish Germanophone intellectuals Erich Auerbach; Isaak Heinemann, and Mikhah Yosef Berdichevsky. His edition and translation of the latter's Yiddish prose, with his introduction and a foreword by Avner Holtzman, is forthcoming as From a Distant Relation (Syracuse, 2021, 450 pp.) Through his work as an editor–translator of Jewish texts from Aramaic, German, Hebrew, and Yiddish, he has become especially interested in what those practices reveal about the multilingual and allusive inventions of Jewish culture.

James has previously taught in the Jewish Studies programs of Stanford University (where he was a Mellon dissertation fellow at the Humanities Center in 2016-2017) and Cornell University (where he was a fellow at the Society for the Humanities in 2019-2020).  In Fall 2021 and 2022, he will be a Humboldt Fellow at the Institut für jüdische Theologie (Potsdam) and, in Winter–Spring, begin a three-year visit in the Divinity School.