Ron LasriNorman and Syril Reitman Visiting Professor (Spring 2023)

Ezra Tzfadya is a scholar of Shia Islamic and Jewish political and legal thought and holds a PhD from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg with a dissertation entitled "Theocracy in Shia Islam and Judaism: Studies in Legal Theology." He comes to Rutgers following a term as Iran Policy Fellow at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (Fall 2021) and as a Visiting Faculty in the IU Borns Jewish Studies program (2020-2021). Dr. Tzfadya also currently convenes the program "Shia Islamic and Jewish Legal Reasoning in Dialogue’ at Indiana-Bloomington’s Center for the Study of the Middle East (CSME),where he is senior fellow. 

Dr. Tzfadya's dissertation addressed the ideational and historical underpinnings of theocratic thought in both Shia Islam and Judaism, and the attempts by modern thinkers to theologically problematize and unwind theocratic syntheses that meld mysticism, law, philosophy, and politics for the sake of human autonomy. He examines key thinkers in the Jewish tradition such as Judah Halevi, Rav Kook, Leo Strauss, Franz Rosenzweig and Menachem Lorberbaum, along with figures in the Islamic tradition that include Mohamed Shabestari, Abdolkarim Soroush, Ayatollah Khomeini, Henri Corbin and Fazlur Rahman. The medieval theology of Judah Halevi’s Kuzari, which appropriates concepts from Shiism to form the core elements of its political theology, provides a philological basis for the endeavor. His next research project attempts to hermeneutically and dialogically understand the Iranian-Israeli conflict as an epistemic clash between modern Israeli-Jewish and Iranian-Shia postcolonial constitutional identities. His research has been supported by both a Fulbright fellowship and the German Academic Exchange (DAAD) doctoral fellowship.

January Faculty Seminar - Judaism in the Sectarian Muslim World: Conflict and Normalization Following the Abraham Accords

Article in Religions Modern Shia Islamic and Jewish Political Theosophy: An Elective Affinity?