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Moshe Idel Wins 2012 Rothschild Prize in Jewish Studies

Yad Hanadiv established the prizes in 1959 to advance sciences and humanities in Israel

Moshe Idel, a Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, is a 2012 recipient of the Rothschild Prize for Jewish Studies , administered by Yad Hanadiv , an Israel-based grant-making organization founded by the Rothschild family in 1958.
Yad Hanadiv established the prizes in 1959 “to support, encourage, and advance the sciences and humanities in Israel.” Prizes are awarded in agriculture, chemical sciences, engineering, humanities, Jewish studies, life sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, and social sciences. The winners are selected by a board of advisers.
The prizes are awarded in two-year cycles, but each discipline is awarded once in four years. The previous winner in Jewish Studies, in 2008, was Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Moshe Idel is the Max Cooper Professor of Jewish Thought at Hebrew U. He has a doctorate in kabbalah and has served as a visiting professor and researcher at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.
Idel’s latest book, Saturn’s Jews: On the Witches’ Sabbat and Sabbateanism, was published in 2011 by the Hartman Institute and Continuum Publishing as part of the Institute’s Kogod Library of Judaic Studies . The book explores the phenomenon of Saturnism, namely the belief that the planet Saturn, the seventh known planet in ancient astrology, was appointed upon the Jews, who celebrated the Sabbath, the seventh day of the Jewish week.
The book guides the reader through the fertile and sometimes dangerous encounter among medieval kabbalism, astro-magic, Muslim astrology, and European learning. It explores how the tragic misperception of Shabbat by the non-Jewish world led to a linkage of Jews with sorcery in 14th-and 15th-century Europe.
Other 2012 winners of the Rothschild Prize are: 
  • Chaim Cedar, Life Sciences
  • Margalit Finkelberg, Humanities
  • Gil Kalai, Mathematics, Computer Sciences and Engineering
  • Raphael Mechoulam, Physical Sciences and Chemical Sciences 

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