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31 January 2023

Professor Joan Taylor nominated for Jewish Studies book prize

Judges for the British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies (BIAJS ) book prize give Joan Taylor honourable mention.

Joan Taylor at BIAJS awards

Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism, Joan Taylor has received a special mention at the BIAJS book awards after her nomination for Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life.

The annual BIAJS book prize initiative was launched in 2018 to recognise and promote outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies. The latest prize was announced at the annual conference, which was held at King's in July 2022. Professor Taylor was also on the conference’s organising committee.

Professor Joan Taylor discusses the thoughts behind her book, Philo of Alexandria ‘The book is a commentary on a treatise by the first-century Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria, a labour I took over after the death of David Hay (who is my official co-author). Philo tends not to be considered core Jewish Studies, and is more often studied in Classics or Philosophy, so I thought it was a bit left field for a Jewish Studies prize. However, I was really pleased to get a kind of 'runner up' prize even though the main prize went to a much more core work on Hebrew philology. The award committee said very lovely things about the book and this means a lot to me.’

This is an excellent book advancing erudite arguments in a clearly accessible manner. The commentary begins with an outstanding introduction that not only raises but fully addresses major questions related to Philo’s text, including particularly convincing arguments about realities of the Therapeutae. The panel was convinced that this volume would have a lasting influence.

The BIAJS judging panel

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Professor Joan Taylor

Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism