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Jason Sion Mokhtarian

Associate Professor

Overview

Jason Mokhtarian is a scholar of the Talmud in its Persian-Sasanian context. He received degrees in Jewish Studies and Iranian Studies from the University of Chicago and UCLA. Professor Mokhtarian is the author of Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and a forthcoming book entitled Medicine in the Talmud: Natural and Supernatural Remedies between Magic and Science. He is currently working on two book projects: the first is a study of the Aramaic incantation bowls from Sasanian Mesopotamia, and the second is a history of the Jews of Persia from antiquity to the present. His research and teaching interests include rabbinic literature, Iranian studies, ancient Jewish magic and medicine, religions of Iran, Judeo-Persian, and the history of the Jews of Persia.

Courses Taught:

  • Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity
  • Sacred Books of the Jews
  • Medicine, Magic, and Science in the Ancient Near East

Departments/Programs

  • Jewish Studies Program
  • Near Eastern Studies

Research

  • Rabbinic Literature
  • Iranian Studies
  • Talmud in its Sasanian context
  • Ancient Jewish magic and medicine
  • Religions of Iran
  • Sasanian history and culture
  • Middle Persian
  • Judeo-Persian
  • Jews of Persia

Courses

Fall 2020

Publications

Books

  • Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015)
  • Medicine in the Talmud: Natural and Supernatural Remedies between Magic and Science (forthcoming)

Edited Volume

  • Iranian Studies, special edition on “Religious Trends in Late Ancient and Early Islamic Iran.” Volume 48.1 (2015). Co-edited with David Bennett.

Selected Articles

  • “Material Culture of the Jews of Sasanian Mesopotamia.” In A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: Third Century BCE to Seventh Century CE, eds. Naomi Koltun-Fromm and Gwynn Kessler (Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing, 2020), 145-166.
  • “Zoroastrian Polemics against Judaism in the Doubt-Dispelling Exposition.” Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations 3.1 (2018)
  • “Clusters of Iranian Loanwords in Talmudic Folkore: The Chapter of the Pious (b. Ta’anit 18b-26a) in Its Sasanian Context.” In The Aggada of the Bavli and Its Cultural World, eds. Geoffrey Herman and Jeffrey L. Rubenstein (Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2018), 125-148.
  • “Excommunication in Jewish Babylonia: Comparing Bavli Mo‘ed Qatan 14b-17b and the Aramaic Bowl Spells in a Sasanian Context.” Harvard Theological Review 108 (2015): 552-578.
  • “Empire and Authority in Sasanian Babylonia: The Rabbis and King Shapur in Dialogue.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 19 (2012): 148-180.