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Dr Yael Almog

Associate Professor

MA, PhD The University of California, Berkeley

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and CulturesER214, Elvet Riverside II+44 (0) 191 33 43418


My work on German literature and culture since 1750 and until the present focuses on theology, philosophy and literary theory.

My first monograph Secularism and Hermeneutics appeared in 2019 with the University of Pennsylvania Press. This book argues that viewing readers as a coherent collective helped Enlightenment thinkers present the Bible as a universal cultural asset. To establish this, I have investigated biblical exegesis and aesthetics in the works of J.G. Herder, Moses Mendelssohn, Kant, Hamann, Hegel, and Schleiermacher. My ongoing research explores German-Jewish encounters; hermeneutics and literary theory; and literature and political philosophy. I’m happy to supervise research students working in any of these areas.

My second book project investigates post-1945 literary and artistic presentations of Europe as a homeland for Jews. I study works by Jewish migrants to/from Germany that depict the irony that ensues when, for some individuals, the Jewish exile in Europe became an exile from Europe. I ask how fictions of return to Europe have posed a continual challenge to political theories that view the Jewish departure from Europe as irreversible such as Hannah Arendt’s accounts of totalitarianism. In presenting this project to the wider public, I often work together with artists and authors. I have thus collaborated with the Gorki Theatre Berlin, the Goethe Institute Amsterdam, the Tarbut Convention in Schloss Elmau, and the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Before coming to Durham I held several research posts in Germany. I led a research project at the Martin Buber Institute for Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Goethe University Frankfurt, where I lectured in theology. I have been a fellow in intellectual history at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Göttingen. I have also worked at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin (ZfL). As a review editor for the journal Political Theology, I continue engaging with new publications that bring together religion and political thought. 


Authored book

  • Almog, Yael (2019). Secularism and Hermeneutics. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Book review

  • Almog, Yael (2022). Generation, Gender and Identity in German-Jewish Literature after 1989 by Daphne Maria Seemann. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies
  • (2021). Church State Corporation: Construing Religion in US Law by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan. Political Theology Network
  • (2021). The German Awakening: Protestant Renewal after the Enlightenment 1815 – 1848 by Andrew Kloes. German History
  • (2020). Georg Benjamin. Ein bürgerlicher Revolutionär im roten Wedding by Bernd-Peter Lange. Weimarer Beiträge
  • (2020). Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi. Political Theology 1-2.
  • (2018). In Search of the Hebrew People: Bible and Nation in the German Enlightenment by Ofri Ilany. German History 36: 639–641.
  • (2018). Prophecies of Language: The Confusion of Tongues in German Romanticism by Kristina Mendicino. German Studies Review 41: 168-170.
  • (2018). Goethe and Judaism: The Troubled Inheritance of Modern Literature by Karin Lynn Schutjer. Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 54: 278-280.
  • (2016). Empire of Chance: The Napoleonic Wars and the Disorder of Things by Anders Engberg Pedersen. Goethe Yearbook 23: 300-302.
  • (2016). Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 by Matt Erlin. Weimarer Beiträge 62: 630-633.
  • (2016). The Practices of the Enlightenment: Aesthetics, Authorship, and the Public by Dorothea von Mücke. Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 135: 307-309.
  • (2013). Zwischen Eros und Mitteilung. Die Frühromantik im Symposion der „Athenaeums-Fragmente“ by May Mergenthaler. MLN 128 : 669–671

Chapter in book

  • Almog, Yael (Forthcoming). Goethe and Religion. In Goethe in Context. Lee, Charlotte Cambridge University Press.
  • Almog, Yael (Forthcoming). Biblische Raummodelle als Matrix moderner und postmoderner Topografien. In Handbuch zur deutschsprachig-jüdischen Literatur.
  • Almog, Yael (Forthcoming). Soft Paternity: The Binding of Isaac in Contemporary Hebrew Poetry. In Aqedah: The Binding of Isaac (Gen 22) as a Challenge for the Rationality of Religion in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Fortin, Jean-Pierre Fortin & Schulz, Heiko Walter de Gruyter.
  • Almog, Yael (Forthcoming). The Song of Songs in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany: Theology and Desire. In The Song of Songs Through the Ages. Schellenberg, Annette Walter de Gruyter.
  • Almog, Yael (2022). Literary Theory as a Site of Religious Reflection. In Grenzgänge wissenschaftlicher Reflexivität in Judentum, Christentum und Islam. Tugrul, Kurt Machka, Felix Machka & Rogers, Christoph Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
  • Almog, Yael (2021). Aesthetic Exegesis: The Hebrew Imaginary in Hamann and Herder and the Notion of Textual Comprehension. In Hebrew between Jews and Christians. Kokin, Daniel Walter de Gruyter.
  • Almog, Yael (2020). Ritual Judaism: On Joseph Sasoon Semah’s Artworks. In On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) III – The Third GaLUT: Baghdad, Jerusalem, Amsterdam. Bouws, Linda Metropool International Art Projects. 67-70.
  • Almog, Yael (2020). Sympathy for Animals and Savages in Herder’s Treatise on the Origin of Language. In Herder on Sympathy and Empathy: Theory and Practice. Piirimäe, Eva, Schmidt, Johannes & Steinby, Liisa Brill. 99-115.
  • Almog, Yael (2018). Literary Theory. In The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Christine Helmer & et al. Walter de Gruyter. 823–827.
  • Almog, Yael (2018). Herder’s Gypsies and Other Nomads. In I Filosofi E Gli Zingari. Piasere, Leonardo & Solla, Gianluca Arcane.
  • Almog, Yael (2017). Das Nachleben einer Opferung: zu David Grossmans eine Frau flieht vor einer Nachricht. In Sprachen des Unsagbaren. Priesemuth, Florian, Linke, Dörte & Schinagl, Rosa Springer. 165-180.
  • Almog, Yael (2017). Europe Will Be Stunned: Visualization of a Jewish Return. In The German-Hebrew Dialogue: Studies of Encounter and Exchange. Eshel, Amir & Seelig, Rachel Berlin/Munich/Boston: Walter de Gruyter. 197-210.
  • Almog, Yael (2016). Das Böse. In Das Handbuch für Religion und Literatur. Weidner, Daniel Springer. 339-343.
  • Almog, Yael (2016). Cognition and the Biblical God: Herder’s Response to Leibniz. In Herder: From Cognition to Cultural Science. Allert, Beate Synchron Press. 183-196.
  • (2015). Biblical Happiness. In The Encyclopaedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Walter de Gruyter. 11: 283-285.
  • Almog, Yael (2015). Hearing/Listening. In The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Dale C. Allison & et al. Walter de Gruyter. 11: 518–520

Edited book

  • Yael Almog & Michal Zamir (2019). Zwischen den Zeilen. Literatur. Passagen.
  • Almog, Yael, Sauter, Caroline & Weidner, Daniel (2017). Kommentar und Säkularisierung in der Moderne: Vom Umgang mit heiligen und kanonischen Texten. Fink.
  • Yael Almog & Erik Born (2012). Neighbors and Neighborhoods: Living Together in the German-Speaking World. Cambridge Scholars.

Edited Journal

  • Yael Almog, Caroline Sauter & Daniel Weidner (2017). Heilige Texte in der Moderne: Lektüren, Praktiken, Adaptionen. Interjekte 11.

Journal Article

Translated Book

  • Herder, Johann Gottfried (trans.) (2019). Treatise on the Origin of Language . Resling Publishers

Translated Chapter in Book

  • Tomer Gardi (trans.) (2016). 'Broken German '. In GRANTA Israel. (ed.). 55–66.

Supervision students