Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Matthew B. Hoffman

Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History, Chair of History
717-358-4675
Office: STA321
Summary: European Jewish history; modern secular Jewish ideologies and movements, American Jewish culture, Jews and communism, Jewish attitudes on Jesus and Christianity

Professional Biography

Positions:

Hoffman is associate professor of Judaic Studies and History at Franklin & Marshall College, where he teaches a wide variety of  courses on Jewish history, including a two semester survey on pre-modern and modern Jewish history.  Among his many interests are European Jewish history; modern secular Jewish ideologies and movements, especially Yiddish culture and literature; American Jewish culture, especially cinema; Jewish attitudes on Jesus and Christianity; and Messianic movements and figures in Jewish history. He is currently conducting research on the Yiddish-speaking communist culture in New York in the interwar years and has a number of articles appearing on this topic.

Teaching Experience

Franklin & Marshall College, Assistant Professor, 2004-2010, Associate Professor, 2010-present. Developed and taught a wide range of courses, including: "Pre-Modern Jewish History," "Modern Jewish History," "Cinema & the American Jewish Experience," "Jewish Views of Jesus," "East European Jewish Culture, and  "Why We Hate."

Languages

Yiddish and Hebrew (fluency), German (reading proficiency)

Professional Associations

Member of the Association for Jewish Studies, 1998-present.

Education

Ph. D. Joint Doctoral Program in Jewish Studies, University of California, Berkeley and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Fall, 2000.
Dissertation: "Reclaiming Jesus and the Construction of Modern Jewish Culture."

M.A. Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, 1995.

B.A. Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1992, Dean's Honor list.

Research Interests

Yiddish Communists in America in the 1920s and 30s (2006-present).


Publications

Books

From Rebel To Rabbi: Reclaiming Jesus and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture (Stanford University Press, 2007).

Matthew Hoffman and Henry Srebrnik, eds., A Vanished Ideology: Essays on the Jewish Communist Movement in the Anglophone World in the Twentieth Century (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, forthcoming, 2014).

Peer-Review Journal Articles

“The Red Divide: The Conflict between Communists and their Opponents in the American Yiddish Press,” in American Jewish History 96.1 (March, 2010).

"Chaim Zhitlovsky and Racial Conceptions of Jewishness," in Jewish History 19.1 (January, 2005), pp. 65-78.

"Us and the Cross: Russian Jewish Intellectuals Take a Stand on the Crucifix Question," in Journal of Jewish Studies 53.2 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 354-370.

Chapters in Collected Volumes

"At What Cost Comrades?" in Matthew Hoffman and Henry Srebrnik, eds., A Vanished Ideology: Essays on the Jewish Communist Movement in the Anglophone World in the Twentieth Century (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, forthcoming, 2014).

"From Czernowitz to Paris: The International Yiddish Culture Congress of 1937," in Czernowitz at 100, Joshua Fogel, ed. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).

"Sholem Asch's True Christians: The Jews as a People of Christs," in Sholem Asch Reconsidered, Nanette Stahl, ed. (Beinecke Library, Yale, 2004), pp. 279-288.

Encyclopedia Entries

Entries on Lamed Shapiro and Moyshe Kulbak in Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century, Sorrel Kerbel, ed. (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003), pp. 307-309, 524-525.

Book Reviews

Dreams of Nationhood: American Jewish Communists and the Soviet Birobidzhan Project, 1924-1951, in The American Jewish Archives Journal (Vol. 63. No. 1), 2011.

The Apostle Paul in the Jewish Imagination, in AJS Review (Vol. 35. No. 1), 2011.

The Shtetl: New Evaluations, in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies (Vol. 27, No. 1), 2008.

The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, in Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies (Vol. 25, No. 2), 2007.

"Artist, Wanderer, Jew," Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative, in Sh'ma, February 2005.

"A Renewed Quest for the Jewish Jesus," Jesus Through Jewish Eyes in Tikkun (March-April, 2003).

Conference Papers

“Mythic Zion: Envisioning Birobidzhan as a Jewish Utopia.” Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Los Angeles, December 20-22, 2009.

“Satire and Survival: What Jews said about Jesus and why it was Funny.” Given at “The Jewish Jesus,” the 5th Lavy Colloquium at the Johns Hopkins University, Novemnber 18-19, 2009.
 

"At What Cost Comrades: Yiddish Communism, or Communism in Yiddish?" Given at The 8th Biennial Scholars Conference on American Jewish History, Los Angeles, June 1-3, 2008.

"From Czernowitz to Paris: The International Yiddish Culture Congress of 1937." Given at the Conference "Czernowitz at 100: The First Yiddish Language Conference in Historical Perspective," York University, April 13-14, 2008.

"Streicher on East Broadway: The Demonization of Cahan and the Forverts in the Yiddish Communist Press." Given at the Conference "Abraham Cahan and the Forverts," NYU, April 15, 2007.

"Moscow in America: Yiddish Culture in Conflict." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, San Diego, December 17-19, 2006.

"A Lost Generation: Debates about Secular Yiddish Culture in the United States during World War II." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Washington, DC, December 18-20, 2005.

"Yiddish Literature's Neglected Stepchildren: Chaim Zhitlovsky and the Merits of Translation." Given at the 3rd Annual Berkeley Yiddish Conference: Translation and Yiddish Culture, Berkeley, May 23-24, 2005.

"Chaim Zhitlovsky and Racial Conceptions of Jewishness." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Los Angeles, December 15-17, 2002.

"The Landscape of the Cross: Yiddish Modernism in Interwar Eastern Europe." Given at the Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Pittsburgh, November 21-24, 2002.

"The Passion of Jewish History." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Washington, DC, December 16-18, 2001.

"Us and the Cross: Russian Jewish Intellectuals Take a Stand on the Crucifix Question." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Boston, December 19, 2000.

"Sholem Asch's True Christians." Given at the conference "Sholem Asch Reconsidered," Yale University, May 13-15, 2000.

"Reform Jews in America Usurp the Mantle of Christianity." Given at the Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Chicago, December 21, 1999.

"Reinscribing Jesus and the Making of a Modern Yiddish Culture." Given at the Conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association, Seattle, Washington, March 16, 1999.

"Lamed Shapiro's Di Yidishe Melukhe-The Deconstruction of Ashkenaz." Given at the Conference "Ashkenaz: Theory and Nation," The Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, May 26-29, 1998.

"Secular Scripture for the Diaspora, Itzik Manger's Medresh Itzik." Given at the Conference of Yiddish Studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison, November 7-10, 1996.

Course Information

Sample Syllabi:

HIS325

HIS253

HIS254