Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
 More search options
Prof Sacha Stern
Foster Court
Malet Place
Prof Sacha Stern profile picture
  • Professor of Rabbinic Judaism
  • Dept of Hebrew & Jewish Studies
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Sacha Stern is Professor of Rabbinic Judaism at the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, where he was Head of Department from 2012 to 2022. He holds a BA in Ancient History from Oxford (1986), an MA in Social Anthropology from UCL (1988), and a D.Phil in Jewish Studies from Oxford (1992). He also studied in Yeshivot in Israel. Before joining UCL in 2005, he held positions at Jews' College, London and at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

He is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Research Summary

Sacha Stern's main area of research is the history of time reckoning and calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, which he approaches from the perspectives of the history of science and of social history. He has also researched and published on ancient and medieval Jewish history and early rabbinic literature.

His latest authored book, The Jewish Calendar Controversy of 921/2 CE, is about a controversy that led the Jews across the Near East to celebrate Passover and the other festivals, through two years, on different dates. In this book, he re-edits the controversy texts preserved in the Cairo Genizah, discovers many new Genizah sources, and challenges the historical consensus about the leadership of the controversy, its outcome, and its significance in medieval Near Eastern Jewish history. Through its micro-historical perspective, this book sheds light on the processes that eventually led to the standardization of the medieval Jewish calendar.

His earlier monographs include Calendar and Community: a history of the Jewish Calendar 2nd cent.BCE-10th cent. CE (2001), and Calendars in Antiquity (2012). In the latter, which presents a complete history of the calendars of the ancient world, he argues that the formation of ancient calendars was mostly determined by political factors. He emphasizes the socio-political function of ancient calendars as mechanisms of social and political control, or alternatively as assertions of political independence, sub-culture, and dissidence. Calendars, he contends, were not driven by science but rather by political and social history.

He has directed several major research projects on the Jewish calendar in the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, including "Medieval Monographs on the Jewish Calendar"(AHRC), "The Jewish Calendar in Early Islamic Sources" (Leverhulme), and "Medieval Christian and Jewish Calendar Texts from England and Franco-Germany" (Leverhulme). In 2013-18, he was Principal Investigator of an ERC (European Research Council) Advanced Grant research project entitled “Calendars in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages: standardization and fixation”, with a team of five research fellows. In 2018, he led an international research team with Jonathan Ben-Dov (Haifa University) at the Israel Institute of Advanced Studies on 'The Day Unit in Antiquity and the Middle Ages'. In 2018-21, he was Principal Investigator jointly with Ronny Vollandt (LMU, Munich) of a Fritz Thyssen Foundation research project on "Qaraite and Rabbanite Calendars", with Nadia Vidro (UCL) as Research Associate. The same team is now working on a further Fritz Thyssen project on "Saadya Gaon's works on the calendar".

Sacha Stern is editor of the Journal of Jewish Studies (with Alison Salvesen, Oxford University) and of the Brill series Texts and Studies on Time, Astronomy, and Calendars (with Charles Burnett, the Warburg Institute).

Teaching Summary

Sacha Stern teaches BA and MA courses in ancient Jewish history and in rabbinic literature, most recently "Judaism and the origins of Christianity", “Introduction to the Talmud”, and "Modern approaches to the Talmud". He also supervises doctoral students on a range of topics in ancient and medieval Jewish history and in rabbinic studies.

Academic Background
1992   Doctor of Philosophy University of Oxford
1988   Master of Arts University College London
1986   MA Oxon University of Oxford
Some IRIS profile information is sourced from HR data as explained in our FAQ. Please report any queries concerning HR data shown on this page to hr-services@ucl.ac.uk.
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by