Faculty & Staff


Marc Bregman

Marc Bregman

Bernard Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies
Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1991
Department of Religious Studies, 109 Foust Bldg
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402
Phone: 336 334-5762
Fax: 336-334-4258

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Jewish Studies
  • Rabbinic Judaism
  • Biblical Interpretation
  • Midrash
  • Aggadah
  • Jewish Homiletics/Preaching
  • Jewish Literature of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
  • Ancient Synagogue
  • Early Jewish Art

Personal Statement

"The timid student does not learn and the stern teacher does not educate." (Mishnah Avot 2:6)

Brief Biography

Marc Bregman was born and raised in St. Louis. He received his B.A. in Judaic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968, his M.A. from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1971, and his Ph.D. from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1991. Since 1978, he has been teaching at the Jerusalem campus of the Hebrew Union College. He has also taught Biblical Interpretation and Ancient Jewish Thought at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Schechter Institute for Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, and at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheba, Israel. During 1993 he was the Horace W. Goldsmith Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University, and during 1996 he served as the Stroum Professor of Jewish Studies and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. During the spring semester of 2005, Bregman was the Harry Starr Fellow in Judaica at Harvard University's Center for Jewish Studies. During the fall semester of 2005, Bregman was awarded the Nancy S. and Laurence E. Glick Teaching Fellowship, at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. Prof. Bregman has published academic research and belles lettres, in Hebrew and in English, on a wide variety of topics in both scholarly and popular journals, including an introduction and thematic commentary to a novelistic retelling of the famous talmudic legend ofThe Four Who Entered Paradise (Jason Aronson, 1995). His recent book in Hebrew, The Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Literature: Studies in the Evolution of the Versions (Gorgias Press, 2003), has been hailed as "undoubtedly the best research ever done about the most complicated issue in the study of rabbinic literature".


University of California, Berkeley. Independent Group Major in Jewish Studies in the broader context of religion. B.A. l968

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati. Rabbinic Studies.

Brown University, Providence. Graduate Student in Religious Studies.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. Judaic Studies. M.A. l971

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Research Student, Hebrew Literature: Midrash and Aggadah.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Doctoral Candidate. 
Ph.D. 1991

Recent Publications

  • The Four Who Entered Paradise -- Introduction and Commentary (Jason Aronson, Northvale, NJ, 1995).
  • "The Riddle of the Ram in Genesis Chapter 22: Jewish-Christian Contacts in Late Antiquity", The Sacrifice of Isaac in the Three Monotheistic Religions, ed. Frederic Manns, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Analecta 41 (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1995), pp. 127-145, Figures 1-8.
  • The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, edited by R. J. Zwi Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 1997) articles on: "Aggadat Esther", "Alphabet of Rabbi Akiva", "Darshan", "Deuteronomy Rabbah", "Moshe Ha-Darshan", "Numbers Rabbah", "Proverbs, Midrash", "Ruth Rabbah", "Tanhuma-Yelammedenu", "Yalqut Ha-Makhiri", "Yelammedenu".
  • Serah bat Asher: Biblical Origins, Ancient Aggadah and Contemporary Folklore, The Bilgray Lectureship, booklet published and distrubuted by the University of Arizona, 1997 [reprinted in New Harvest (The Brodsky Library Press, St. Louis, 2005)].
  • "Midrash Rabbah and the Medieval Collector Mentality", Prooftexts 17 (1997), pp. 63-76 [reprinted in The Anthology in Jewish Literature, edited by David Stern (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2004), pp. 196-208].
  • "Pseudepigraphy in Rabbinic Literature", Pseudepigraphic Perspectives: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Light of the Dead Sea Scroll, edited by Esther G. Chazon and Michael Stone, [Proceedings of the International Symposium of the Orion Center, 1997] (Brill, Leiden, 1999), pp. 27-41.
  • "Seeing with the Sages: Midrash as Visualization in the Legends of the Aqedah,Agendas for the Study of Midrash in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Marc Lee Raphael (The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, 1999), pp. 84-100.
  • The Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Literature – Studies in the Evolution of the Versions(Gorgias Press, Piscataway NJ, 2003).
The Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Literature
  • "Mishnah, Mystery and the LXX", Continuity and Renewal: Judaism in Eretz Israel during the Byzantine-Christian Era, edited by Israel Levine (Dinur and JTS, Jerusalem, 2004), pp. 333-342.
  • "Mishnah as Mystery", Mehqerei Talmud 3 [Talmudic Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Professor Ephraim E. Urbach, edited by Yaakov Sussman and David Rosenthal] (The Hebrew University Magnes Press, Jerusalem, 2005), Part 1, pp. 101-109 [Hebrew].

Internet Accessible Publications

Popular Lectures and Informal Teaching List of Topics

  • "The Darshan – The "Preacher" and the Sermon in Rabbinic Times" followed by study of selected texts in English translation (one or more sessions).
  • "When is the Rabbi Joking?" or "Can the Talmud be Funny?!"  Study of a Talmudic Text in English Translation on: "Jacob our Father Never Died".
  • "How did Eliezer son of  Hyrcanus become Eliezer the Great?" Text study that works particularly well with youth or young adults, with or without parents.
  • "The Binding of Isaac (Genesis Chapter 22) as Cinema" Group exercise in guided imagination on a Biblical story.
  • "The Love Life of Rabbi Meir" Informal study of texts about one Talmudic rabbi's personal problems with women.
  • "Is Abraham Our Father Guilty of Attempted Murder?" Informal study of texts from Biblical to Modern Times.
  • "Serah Bat Asher – Lady of Legend" How a minor biblical figure became a "living legend".
  • "Midrash as Visualization" Presentation comparing literary and visual imagination applied to the Biblical story of the Binding of Isaac (Genesis Chapter 22) [Powerpoint Presentation].
  • "The Holy Spirit in Judaism, Christianity and Islam" [Powerpoint Presentation].
  • "The Limits of Midrash" [with optional text study].
  • "Mordecai the Milk-Man - Male Lactation from Biblical to Modern Times" [Powerpoint Presentation].
  • "The Development of the Office of Hazzan from Biblical to Modern Times" [Powerpoint Presentation]
  • "Seeing Stars in the Sukkah" – A Quick Dip in the Sea of the Talmud [Powerpoint Presentation]
  • "The Origin and Development of Kabbalat Shabbat"
  • "Hannukah – A Different Version of a Familiar Story" [Powerpoint Presentation]
  • "Jerusalem as Center from Biblical to Modern Times"
  • "Passover – The Seder (Order) of the Seder"
  • "How to 'Take' Talmudic Texts – Problematic Parts of the Jewish Tradition relating to Past and Present"
  • "The Hanging Ram at Bet Alpha – Jewish-Christian Relations in Late Antiquity"
  • "The Earliest Fragments of Talmudic Literature – How the Oral Torah was Committed to Writing"
  • "A Virtual Tour through the Library of Midrash"

Current Research

The Tanhuma-Yelammedenu genre of midrashic literature as a transition, in both literary style and exegetical content, from earlier midrashic works to medieval Jewish literature. Preparation of  scientific editions of the versions. Non-Biblical Scrolls.

Recent Courses Taught

  • The Giving of the Law in Jewish Tradition (Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva)
  • Rabbinic Homilies from Late Antiquity: The Scriptural Sermon as Art Form (Yale)
  • Jews, Christians and Others Interpreting Scripture: The Binding of Isaac (Genesis Chapter 22) (Yale Divinity School)
  • Introduction to Halakhic and Aggadic Literature: How to Read a Rabbinic Text (HUC Jerusalem)
  • Rabbinic Legal Thought (UW Seattle)
  • Avot – Reading Rabbinic Ethics and Wisdom Literature (HUC Jerusalem)
  • Jerusalem in Jewish Legend and Lore (HUC Jerusalem)
  • Bibliographic Guidance in Jewish Studies (HUC Jerusalem)
  • Traditional Texts Today (Team Taught Distance Learning Course UAHC Joint Commission for Sustaining Rabbinic Education)
  • Judaism and the Arts: The Binding of Isaac (Schechter Institute, Jerusalem)
  • The Synagogue and its Literature in Late Antiquity
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