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The British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS) was founded in 1975 as a learned society and professional organization on a non-profit-making basis. Its aims are to nurture, cultivate and advance the teaching and research in Jewish culture and history in all its aspects within Higher Education in the British Isles.

BAJS initiates and supports research and publication in the field of Jewish Studies:

  • BAJS organizes an annual scholarly conference in July
  • BAJS supports students through bursaries for conference attendance and organises two annual student essay competitions, one for undergraduates and one for postgraduates
  • BAJS co-ordinates an annual survey of Jewish Studies programmes and related courses in the UK
  • BAJS campaigns for an adequate representation of the interdisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies in Britain (REF, funding, etc.)

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Annual Conference:

The annual conference of the British Association for Jewish Studies 2019 will focus on the question, “What is commentary”? This question is central to philology, literature, cultural studies and history, among other disciplines, and is intended to be multidisciplinary in its scope and presentation. The conference theme for BAJS 2019 focuses on ‘commentary’ from a variety of perspectives: the form and purpose of scholarly commentary; the definition, critique and generation of commentary; commentary and literary criticism; ancient and medieval scholastic traditions and modern productions of film, art and literature; feminist/gender driven commentary – such as the projects seeking to produce a feminist midrash and current feminist commentaries on the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud; history and politics; commentary and commentators in the academy (the place of philology); commentary and translation; reception of commentary; history; materiality (textual and visual); the relationship between commentary and metacommentary; and whether the concept of commentary is helpful or disruptive with respect to Jewish Antiquity. This topic is intended to reinforce the plurilingual and multidisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.