Ra'anan Boustan

Department of History
University of California Los Angeles


Ancient Mediterranean; Jewish History


Ph.D.      Pinceton University (Ancient Mediterranean Religions)
M.A.,       Princeton University (Ancient Mediterranean Religions)
Vrij Dctorral Letteren, University of Amsterdam (Classics and Religion)
A.B.         Brown University (Classics)


Ra‘anan Boustan is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research and teaching explore the dynamic intersections between Judaism and other Mediterranean religious traditions, with a special focus on the impact of Romanization and Christianization on Jewish culture and society in late antiquity. Boustan completed his B.A. in Classics at Brown University in 1994 and received a graduate degree in Classics and Religious Studies from the University of Amsterdam during his stay in the Netherlands as a Fulbright Fellow in 1994–95. In 2004, he completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Religion at Princeton University. He held a prestigious Harrington Fellowship in 2011–12 in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and has twice been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2003–4 and 2007–8).

He is the author of From Martyr to Mystic: Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism (2005), has published widely in leading journals such as The Jewish Quarterly Review, Jewish Studies Quarterly, and Medieval Encounters, and has co-edited seven volumes, most recently a special issue of the journal Material Religion on “Matter of Contention: Sacred Objects at the Crossroads of Religious Traditions” (2014). As of January 2016, he will be the co-editor of the journal Jewish Studies Quarterly published by Mohr Siebeck. Boustan’s research and teaching interests address a variety of topics, including especially early Jewish mysticism and magic; rabbinic martyrology; apocalyptic literature; Jewish–Christian relations; and Jewish culture and society in the early Byzantine period


Professor Boustan is currently writing a book entitled The Holy Remains: Tokens of Cult and Kingship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity, which traces the meanings that sacred objects associated with the biblical past carried in Jewish and Christian memory in late antiquity. In addition, he is collaborating on the publication of a newly discovered mosaic floor found during excavations of the late antique synagogue in the village of Huqoq in the Galilee.



The Holy Remains: Tokens of Cult and Kingship between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity. In Preparation.

From Martyr to Mystic: Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 112 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005).

Edited Volumes

With Martha Himmelfarb and Peter Schäfer. Hekhalot Literature in Context: Between Byzantium and Babylonia, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013).

With Reimund Leicht, Klaus Herrmann, Annette Yoshiko Reed, and Giuseppe Veltri, with Alex Ramos. Envisioning Judaism: Studies in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion His 70th Birthday, 2 vols. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013).

With Oren Kosansky and Marina Rustow. Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History: Authority, Diaspora, Tradition (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).

With Alex Jassen and Calvin Roetzel. Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity (Leiden: Brill, 2010). Reprint of special edition of Biblical Interpretation 17.1-2 (2009): 1-264.

With Annette Yoshiko Reed. Blood and the Boundaries of Jewish and Christian Identities in Late Antiquity, special theme-section of Henoch 30.2 (2008): 229–364.

With Annette Yoshiko Reed. Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).