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
Jewish mysticism, Jewish magic, Jewish philosophy, cultural history of wine.
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)
RST/JST112 Introduction to Judaism
RST/JST212 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible