Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
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Teter, Magda

Chair, History
History Department

Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies
History Department

Professor of History
History Department
222 Church Street 203

Professor, Medieval Studies
Medieval Studies Program

MA Columbia University
MA Warsaw University
MPHIL Columbia University
PHD Columbia University


RECENT PUBLICATIONS Books: Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reformation Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006; pbk 2009) Coedited with Adam Teller, Polin: Social and Cultural Boundaries in Pre-Modern Poland, vol. 22, (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010) Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard University Press, 2011). Articles: "'There Should Be No Love between Us and Them': Social Life and the Bounds of Jewish and Canon Law in Early Modern Poland," in Polin: Social and Cultural Boundaries in Early Modern Poland, eds. Adam Teller and Magda Teter (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2009), 249-70. Co-authored with Adam Teller, "Introduction: Borders and Boundaries in the Historiography of the Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth," in Polin: Social and Cultural Boundaries in Early Modern Poland, eds. Adam Teller and Magda Teter (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2009), 3-46. "Crime and Sacred Spaces in Early Modern Poland," a chapter in a book Kommunikation durch symbolische Akte. Religivse Heterogenitdt und politische Herrschaft in Polen-Litauen [Communication through symbolic acts. Religious heterogeneity and political Rule in Poland-Lithuania], ed. Yvonne Kleimann (Franz Steiner Verlag: Stuttgart, Germany, 2010), 171-90. "Ritual Murder Accusation," in The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History, and Culture edited by Judith Baskin (forthcoming, 1160 words) Co-authored with Debra Kaplan (Yeshiva University), "Out of the (Historiographic) Ghetto: Methodological Remarks on Jews in Early Modern Europe," in Sixteenth Century Journal 40 no. 2 (2009): 365-93. The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon Hundert: articles: "Conversions," "The Ezofowicz Family," "Ger Zedek," "The Helicz Family" (with Edward Fram), "Judaizers," "Katarzyna Malcherowa Weigel" (New Haven: Yale University Press, in 2008), 489, 348-351, 590-91, 710-11, 834-35, 2011-12. "Negotiating the internal and the external, or on the contextualization of pre-modern Ashkenazi Jewry," Review essay on Joseph M. Davis, Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller: Portrait of a Seventeenth Century Rabbi, in Jewish History 21 no.? (2007): 217-32. With Edward Fram, "Apostasy, Fraud and the Beginnings of Hebrew Printing in Cracow," AJS Review 30 no. 1 (2006): 31-66 "The Legend of Ger Zedek (Righteous Convert) of Wilno as Polemic and Reassurance," AJS Review 29 no. 2 (2005): 237-63 With Edward Fram, "Matai nosad ha-defus ha-`ivri be-Qraqov?" [Hebrew: When Did Hebrew Printing Begin in Cracow?], Gal-`Ed 20 (2005): 144-49 "Kilka uwag na temat podziałsw społecznych i religijnych pomiędzy Żydami i Chrześcijanami we wschodnich miastach dawnej Rzeczpospolitej" [Polish: Some Remarks on the Social and Religious Divisions between Jews and Christians in Eastern Towns of Premodern Poland], Kwartalnik Historii Żydsw [Quarterly of Jewish History, Warsaw, Poland] 207 no. 3 (September, 2003): 327-36 "Jewish Conversions to Catholicism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Jewish History 17 no. 3 (2003): 257-83

History Department
HIST362 - 01

As a scholar of Jewish history, eastern European history, and of early modern religious and cultural history, I specialize in Jewish-Christian relations. My first book, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post Reformation Era, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006 (pbk, 2009), challenges the perception that the Catholic Church triumphed in Poland and demonstrates the superficiality of the re-Catholicization of the ruling elites, whose economic interests trumped their religious loyalties. My new book, Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard University Press, 2011) tells a story of affirmation of Catholic dogmas after the Reformation, not necessarily though religious education and propaganda but through the application of criminal law, and the courts' treatment of "the sacred" and, thus, also of the "sacrilege." The book addresses one of the most notorious examples of "sacrilege" -- the accusation that Jews desecrated consecrated communion wafers. "Sinners on Trial" combines political, legal, and cultural historical approaches. Far more than the Church's efforts to educate the laity, the lay courts' classification of Catholic spaces as the only "sacred spaces" and their adjudication of crimes of "sacrilege," were crucial for the (re)Catholicisation of Poland, and the shaping of the country's religious identity. "Sinners on Trial" crucially casts a new light on the most infamous case of sacrilege, the accusations against Jews for stealing and desecrating the host, situating it within a broader context of the politics of crime -- most specifically that of sacrilege, illuminating its post-Reformation character.


Early modern history, Jewish history, Poland, religious history, gender, eastern Europe, historiography


Association for Jewish Studies, American Historical Association, Sixteenth Century Studies, American Catholic Historical Association, Church History, AAUP


My work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2012) Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (2007 and 2012), the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Koret Foundation, YIVO Institute, and the Yad Ha-Nadiv Foundation (Israel), among others. In 2002, I was a Harry Starr Fellow at Harvard University. In 2007-8, I was an Emeline Bigelow Conland Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. I direct the Early Modern Project, an online resource for scholars and students of early modern history and Jewish studies (at www.earlymodern.org), which has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, Columbia University, Library of Congress, University of Maryland, Yeshiva University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University, and Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies


Fall 2014:


Director of Jewish and Israel Studies Chair of Medieval Studies