Professor of Hebrew, German & Comparative Literature Convener of German and Hebrew
Spring 2023 office hours: Wednesday 11:30-1, Thursday 2-3:30, and by appointment (zoom or in person).
Abigail Gillman is a Professor of Hebrew, German, and Comparative Literature in the Department of World Languages and Literatures. She teaches courses on modern German literature; Hebrew literature; Israeli Cinema; and Religion and Literature (cross-listed as XL and RN). She teaches and lectures in the Core Curriculum, and has also taught in the CAS Writing Program.
Gillman is an active member of the Jewish Studies faculty, and served as interim director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies in 2016-17.
She has taught online courses on Jewish literature and film at Hebrew College in Newton.
Gillman’s scholarship focuses on Jewish literature and culture of the German-speaking world. She has lectured and published on Kafka; Schnitzler; Freud; Mendelssohn; Buber; Rosenzweig; and on Holocaust memory and monuments. A recent essay, “Martin Buber’s Message to Postwar Germany,” won the Egon Schwarz Prize for an Outstanding Essay in the Area of German Jewish Studies.
Her first book, Viennese Jewish Modernism: Freud, Hofmannsthal, Beer-Hofmann, and Schnitzler (Penn State Press, 2009), examines a circle of writers and thinkers in turn-of-the-century Vienna whose shared obsession with memory led them to write about Jewish memory and identity in highly experimental ways.
She recently published A History of German Jewish Bible Translation (University of Chicago Press, 2018). This book takes as its starting point the remarkable number of re-translations of the Hebrew Bible produced in Germany—translations into German and Yiddish—from the Haskalah through the twentieth century. The book demonstrates that bible translation in Jewish society was (and still is) used to promote diverse educational, cultural, and linguistic goals.
She is currently writing about the parable/mashal across Jewish Literature, and about “monstrous motherhood” in recent Israeli (and Jewish) film and memoirs.