Renate Smithuis


If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


  • 2 MAs (Amsterdam), PhD (Manchester)
  • Lecturer in Medieval Jewish Studies (since September 2009)
  • Joined the University in 2003 (The Rylands Cairo Genizah Project 2003-2009 / AHRC 2006-2009)

Office hours

Thursday and Friday 12-1pm (during term time only)

Research interests

I am interested in the interaction of Jewish, Christian and Muslim learning, society and culture and in the transmission through Jewish channels of ideas from the Muslim world to Western Europe during the Middle Ages and beyond. The Jewish element forms the main focus of my research, while I tend to do manuscript-based research.

A new research area I am exploring is thirteenth-century Jewish thought and exegesis in Spain, Provence and Italy with figures such as Solomon ibn Adret, Samuel ibn Tibbon and Jacob Anatoli. I am currently also studying Ibn Kammuna in the context of the Persianate world.

As a post-doctoral researcher I catalogued and studied the Cairo Genizah collection of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, consisting of ca. 15,000 fragments, which date from the ninth to the nineteenth century and are mainly written in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic but also in languages like Arabic and Judeo-Spanish. The contents of these fragments range from everyday documents and letters to all types of Jewish literature.

My PhD project concentrated on the Hebrew and Latin astrological writings of Abraham ibn Ezra, a major twelfth-century Jewish thinker and transmitter of Arabic knowledge from Spain.

Current research projects

Jewish mysticism: Critical Hebrew edition of Abraham Abulafia's Secrets of the Torah, a thirteenth-century Kabbalistic commentary on Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed (completed). This edition will appear in The Kabbalistic Library of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola series published by Nino Aragno in Turin, together with De secretis legis, Flavius Mithridates' autograph Latin version of the same text, transcribed by Dr David Juste (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, completed), as well as an English translation of Mithridates' text by Dr Lucy McGuinness and me (London, work in progress).

Thirteenth-century Jewish exegesis (Jacob Anatoli, Samuel ibn Tibbon)

Ibn Kammuna in the Persianate world

Catalogue of Codices, Scrolls, and Other Texts in Hebrew Script in the University of Manchester (John Rylands) Library Project (01/04/15-01/03/18) of which I am the Principal Investigator; presently I'm conducting a pilot project in preparation. Grants received to date total £125,000. When completed, the catalogue, which builds upon the unpublished catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts produced by Professor Alexander Samely in the early 1990s, will be made available online.



RELT10191: Introduction to Judaism

RELT20042: Religion and Science in the Time of the Crusades: God, Nature and Science in Medieval Jewish, Christian and Muslim Thought

RELT20170/RELT30380: Biblical Hebrew Texts I and II (together with Professor George Brooke)

RELT30701: The Jewish-Christian-Muslim Controversy from the Earliest Times till the End of the Middle Ages

(RELT30210: Reading Rashi (medieval Hebrew language course) offered only in case of sufficient interest)


I can offer various Directed Reading Courses depending on demand. Thus my third level Controversies course can be taken as such. In addition, I am involved in team-teaching the following MA core courses in Jewish Studies:

RELT70561: Jews among Christians and Muslims

RELT70001: Bible and Early Judaism in Context

Further information

Supervision areas

I'm interested in supervising research in the thought and literature of medieval and early modern Judaism, especially (though not exclusively) in any of the areas related to my own research interests. I welcome enquiries from potential research students in the following areas:

  • medieval and early modern Jewish philosophy, exegesis, science and mysticism;
  • Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and intellectual interaction during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

While especially interested in supervising manuscript-based research (primarily Hebrew), I would also consider applications in the field of Jewish literature from the Rabbinic period. At the moment, I'm especially interested in supervising research in the area of thirteenth-century Jewish exegesis in Provence and Italy and its links with contemporary Christian exegesis.

Further activities

Co-editor of Melilah: Manchester Journal of Jewish Studies

Member of the editorial committee of the Journal of Semitic Studies


Dive into the research topics where Renate Smithuis is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles