Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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  • Vadim Putzu

    Visiting Instructor of Judaic Studies
    Office: STA226

    Professional Biography

    Vadim Putzu studied education in Israel, philosophy, Jewish studies, and cultural sciences in Italy, compared history of religions in Switzerland, and Jewish thought in the USA. He also served as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and attended seminars and workshops at the University of Cincinnati, University of Pennsylvania, and Oxford University (UK).

    Putzu teaches classes in Jewish history and culture, with a particular focus on medieval and early-modern Jewish mysticism and philosophy. His research concentrates on premodern Italian Jewish philosophers and kabbalists, on mystical techniques, and on the role of wine in Jewish culture. Putzu is currently working on a major project on the symbolic and instrumental use of wine in Jewish mysticism, as well as on the edition and translation of Moses David Valle’s Le sette giornate di verità (with Jonathan Garb of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).


    2008   M.Phil. Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati

    2005   M.A. University of Lausanne

    2003   Certificate of Specialization Fondazione Collegio San Carlo, Modena

    2002   B.A. University of Turin

    Research Interests

     Jewish mysticism, Jewish magic, Jewish philosophy, cultural history of wine.

    Grants & Awards

    2010/2011      Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Doctoral Scholarship Grant

    2010                  Targum Shlishi Dissertation Grant

    2009                 Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship

    2009                 Hebrew Union College Presidential Fellowship

    2006-2008    The Jacob Ziskind Memorial Fellowship

    2004-2006    Ralph Irwin and Julia Winter Cohen Fellowship

    2003                 Fondazione Collegio San Carlo Maintenance Grant

    2003                 “Primo Levi” Jewish Cultural Foundation Prize for outstanding BA thesis in                   Jewish studies



    Shabbetai Donnolo: Un sapiente ebreo nella Puglia bizantina altomedievale [Shabbetai Donnolo: A Jewish Sage in Medieval Byzantine Apulia]. Cassano delle Murge: Edizioni Messaggi, 2004. 144pp. (in Italian).

    Articles in journals/contributions to books

    “‘Whoever kills a human being, it is as if he destroys the entire world’: The Humanism of Shabbetay Donnolo between Mysticism and Science.” Gli ebrei nel Salento (IX-XVI secolo). Edited by Fabrizio Lelli. Galatina: Congedo, 2011. In press (20pp.).

    “Internet = cancro: Gematria ed altri ‘alfabeti spirituali’ nella mistica ebraica” [Internet = Cancer: Gematriah and Other “Spiritual Alphabets” in Jewish Mysticism]. Humanitas 65/5-6 (2010), pp. 860-873 (in Italian).

    “Donnolo, Sabbetay ben Avraham.” Enciclopedia filosofica. Edited by Fondazione Centro studi filosofici. Milan: Bompiani, 2006. Vol. 4, 3067 (in Italian).

    “La sapienza nel Sefer hakmonì di Shabbetay Donnolo e la mistica ebraica nella Puglia del Sefer Yuhasin” [Wisdom in Shabbetay Donnolo’s Sefer hakmonì and Jewish Mysticism in Sefer Yuhasin’s Apulia]. Shabbetay Donnolo. Scienza e cultura ebraica nell’Italia del secolo X. Edited by Giancarlo Lacerenza. Naples: Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, 2004. Pp. 105-139 (in Italian).

    Published contributions to academic conferences

    “‘Il Leviatano… si digerisce con il vino’: Appunti sul simbolismo del vino in Menachem Azariah da Fano” [“The Leviathan… may be digested through wine”. Notes on Menachem Azariah of Fano’s Symbolism of Wine]. Materia Giudaica 16/1-2 (= Proceedings of the XXIV International Conference of the Italian Association for the Study of Judaism, Ravenna, Italy, September 2010). In press (in Italian).


    “Aspetti del simbolismo del vino in Menachem Azariah da Fano”, Percorsi e Incroci della Mistica Ebraica in Italia, XXIV International Conference of the Italian Association for the Study of Judaism, Ravenna, Italy (September 2, 2010)

    “Torino, City of Magic”, Guest Lecture for Prof. Michael Porte, Italian Culture 571. University of Cincinnati (February 16, 2008)

    Sefer Yetzirah”, Guest Lecture for Prof. Haim Rechnitzer, Philosophy 505: From Earthly Temple to a Spiritual Architecture: An Introduction to Kabbalah. School of Graduate Studies, HUC-JIR, Cincinnati (October 8, 2007)

     “Italian Cinema: 1970-2007”, Guest Lecture for Prof. Maria-Paz Moreno, Italian 314: Italian Film. University of Cincinnati (March 2, 2007)

    “Paradoxical Kabbalah: The Popularity of Jewish Esotericism”, Lecture at Congregation Adath Israel, Cincinnati (February 25, 2007)

    “Mystical Techniques, Mental Processes, and States of Consciousness in the Kabbalah of Abraham Abulafia: a Reassessment”, Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association, Cincinnati, OH (September 10, 2006)

    “Shabbetay Donnolo between Mysticism and Science”, Humanism and the Rabbinic Tradition in Italy and Beyond, The Gisella Levi Cahnman Open Seminar, Primo Levi Center for Italian Jewish Studies at the Center for Jewish History, New York (November 30, 2005)

    Course Information

    RST/JST112   Introduction to Judaism

    RST/JST212   Introduction to the Hebrew Bible