Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman

Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies
Assistant Professor of Law
Affiliated Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and History

Phil Lieberman is Vanderbilt's specialist in rabbinic literature. He is also an historian of medieval Jewry, particularly Jews in Muslim lands. His research focuses on the social, economic and legal history of the Jewish community of North Africa and the Levant, particularly as documented in manuscript materials from the Cairo Geniza. He serves on the advisory board of the Cairo Geniza Project at Princeton University and is an editor and contributor to The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (edited by Norman Stillman). He has also contributed to the Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History and Culture, The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, and the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. He joined Vanderbilt's faculty in 2009 from the faculty of New York University, where he had served as the Dorot Assistant Professor / Faculty Fellow in the university's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He is currently revising a two-volume collection and analysis of Geniza documents for publication.

Area(s) of Expertise

Rabbinic literature, Jewish law and Islamic law

Representative Publications

  • "Commercial Forms and Legal Norms in the Jewish Community of Medieval Egypt," Law & History Review (2012, forthcoming)
  • "Contractual Partnerships in the Geniza and the Relation between Islamic Law and Practice," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (2011, forthcoming)
  • "Legal Writing in Medieval Jewish Cairo," in Sacred Source: Genizah Studies in Honour of Professor Stefan C. Reif, Siam Bhayro and Benjamin Outhwaite (eds.) (Leiden: Brill, 2010)
  • "The Women's Right to Choose: An Unsigned Responsum from Ottoman Safed," 16(3) Jewish Studies Quarterly 1-14 (2010)
  • "Taxation," Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Leiden: Brill, 2010)

Contact Information

(615) 322-2615 (voice)
(615) 322-6631 (fax)


B.A. University of Washington
M.Sc. London School of Economics
M.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics Jewish Theological Seminary
Rabbinic Ordination Jewish Theological Seminary
Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies Princeton University