The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies is to have its first woman president since it was founded 46 years ago.
Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, a specialist in medieval Jewish documents, will become the centre’s new head in September when Professor Martin Goodman steps down.
Having taken her first degree in Paris, she gained a PhD at Cambridge University working on Karaite marriage documents from the Cairo Genizah before becoming a junior research fellow at Oxford University.
In 2002, she became a professor in Hebrew palaeography and manuscript studies at the Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes in Paris and two years ago was elected a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. She is a former president of the European Association for Jewish Studies.
Her most recent book in English was Hebrew and Hebrew-Latin Documents from Medieval England: a Diplomatic and Palaeographical Study, published in 2015.
While the centre is autonomous, it supplies tutors for Oxford University degree courses and many of its fellows hold university posts.
Professor Olszowy-Schlanger’s appointment reflects the increasing impact of women in the field of Jewish and religious studies.
Professor Anna Sapir Abulafia holds the university’s chair in the study of Abrahamic religions, while Professor Hindy Najman, who has written on the Dead Sea Scrolls and apocryphal texts, is professor of interpreting holy scripture.
Professor Goodman, who turns 65 later this year, has recently published A History of Judaism.