Prof. Eliezer Segal

Prof. Eliezer Lorne Segal, BA, MA, PhD

Pronouns: I thou



Educational Background

BA Philosophy, Jewish Studies, McGill University, 1972

MA Talmud, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1976

PhD Talmud, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1982


Eliezer Segal is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Classics and Religion at the University of Calgary, specializing in Rabbinic Judaism. Originally from Montreal, he holds a BA degree from McGill University (1972) and MA and PhD in Talmud from the Hebrew University (1976, 1982). He has been on the faculty of the University of Calgary since 1986. In addition to his many academic studies of textual and literary aspects of rabbinic texts and the interactions of Jewish and neighbouring cultures, he has attempted to make the fruits of Judaic scholarship accessible to non-specialist audiences through his web site, newspaper columns and children's books.

He and his wife Agnes Romer Segal have three sons and five grandchildren.

Some of his recent books include: The Most Precious Possession (2014), Teachers, Preachers and Selected Short Features (2019), The Times of Our Life: Some Brief Histories of Jewish Time (2019), Beasts that Teach, Birds that Tell: Animal Language in Rabbinic and Classical Literatures (2019).


Areas of Research

Rabbinic philology

The philological and literary study of Jewish texts from the Rabbinic era (Talmud and Midrash), with special focus on the establishment of accurate texts and the understanding of the complex processes of redaction and written transmission of originally oral traditions. 


The examination of "Midrash,"  ancient Rabbinic works relating to Hebrew Bible. My research has focused on studying the different literary approaches characteristic of rhetorical homiletics (sermons) and of scriptural interpretation (exegesis). These reflect the geographical distributions between Israel and Babylonia, and the institutional division between synagogue and scholarly academy.

Judaism in the Classical environment

Detailed topical studies examining statements and discussions by the ancient Jewish rabbis in the context of their contemporary Greek and Roman cultures.


  • Humanities Open Book Program for digital republication of volumes in Brown Judaic Studies series, National Endowment for the Humanities / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation . 2020
  • Local Journalism Initiative, Canadian Heritage. 2019
  • Nachman Sokol-Chaim Yoel and Mollie Halberstadt Award for Scholarship: Biblical / Rabbinic, Helen and Stan Vine Annual Canadian Jewish Book Awards. 2006
  • Visiting Professor Grant for research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem., Lady Davis Fellowship Trust . 1999
  • Itta and Eliezer Zeisler Memorial Lectureship, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia. 2003
  • Annual Fellowship, Calgary Institute for the Humanities. 1991
  • E. S. Rosenthal Memorial Award, Department of Talmud, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 1985
  • Finkelstein Scholarships, Lieberman Institute for Talmudic Research, Jewish Theological Seminary of America. 1985
  • Doctoral Award, SSHRC. 1979
  • Graduate Fellowship, Canada Council for Humanities and Social Sciences. 1978


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