Carsten L. Wilke

Affiliated Faculty

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
(+43 1) 25230 ext. 2785

As faculty member of the CEU Departments of History and Medieval Studies, I teach classes on the religious history of Europe and the Mediterranean region, and in particular on Jewish history and culture from the Middle Ages to modernity. I belong to the CEU faculty in Jewish Studies, and I have been Director of CEU's Center for Religious Studies in 2016-2020.

My academic background combines a training in Jewish Studies, obtained at the University of Cologne and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a diploma in Religious Studies from the École Pratique des Hautes Études of Paris. Before coming to CEU in 2009, I have taught at the Universities of Heidelberg, Düsseldorf, and Brussels, and I held research positions in France, Germany, Mexico, and the USA.

In my research, I am interested in the transcultural aspects of European Jewish history, with focus areas in Jewish-Christian relations, the history of scholarship and book culture, Sephardic Jewry and early modern Iberian crypto-Judaism, and the modernization processes of the nineteenth century. My latest book publications are the monograph Farewell to Shulamith: Spatial and Social Diversity in the Song of Songs (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), and the collective volumes Modern Jewish Scholarship in Hungary (with Tamás Turán, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016) and Isaac Orobio: The Jewish Argument with Dogma and Doubt (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018). You can find here my recent article "Building the Great Synagogue of Pest: Moorish Revival Architecture and the European-Ottoman Alliance in the Crimean War," The Jewish Quarterly Review 111, 3 (2021), pp. 444–469.

Collective research projects in which I am presently involved include Sephardic Manuscripts of the Early Modern Period: Literary Diaspora and Clandestine Polemics (with Harm den Boer, University of Basel, Switzerland), Jewish Cemetery Inscriptions in Europe (database project, with Marcin Wodziński, University of Wrocław, Poland), andThe Alliance Israélite Universelle in Germany, 1860-1914 (with Michael Brocke, Salomon Ludwig Steinheim-Institut, Essen, Germany).

In 2022-2023, I will be on research leave at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies as a research fellow in the project New Christian and New Jewish Discourses of Identity between Polemics and Apologetics.

Of the classes I have taught at CEU, the following are offered on a rotating basis:

  • Scripture and Authority in Book Religions (mandatory for the Advanced Certificate in Religious Studies)
  • Problems and Paradigms in Jewish Studies (mandatory for the Jewish Studies Specialization)
  • Divine Love in Religious History
  • Non-Western Historiography
  • Advanced German Source Reading in Historiography
  • Judaism and Christianity
  • Jewish Cultural Heritage
  • Medieval Jewish Civilization
  • Jewish Traditions (co-taught with Michael Laurence Miller)
  • Schisms and Divisions in Jewish History
  • Social History of European Jewry
  • Zionism: From Diaspora Movement to State-Building
  • Jews and Muslims
  • Jewish Memory from the Exodus to the Holocaust

Moreover, I have taught classes on

  • Historiography: Themes in Its History and Approaches to Its Theory (co-taught with Daniel Ziemann)
  • Religious and Cultural Transfers across the Eastern Mediterranean (co-taught with Nadia Al-Bagdadi)
  • Post-Secularism and its Precedents: Religious Counterdiscourses to Modernity (co-taught with Aziz Al-Azmeh)
  • Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise (co-taught with Matthias Riedl)
  • Paths to Jewish Emancipation
  • Transnationalism and the Jews of the Nineteenth Century
  • Yiddish and the Jewish Uses of German
  • Medieval Hebrew Text Seminar: Advanced Source Reading
  • Sephardic Jewry
  • Israel: Nation-Building and Society
  • Jewish Thought in the Twentieth Century

My teaching program on CEU's Budapest campus has included a regular walking tour "Commemorative Landscapes of the Fifth Budapest District" and an introductory field seminar "Excursions into Jewish History and Culture," taught off-campus on various Hungarian and Austrian sites related to ancient, medieval, modern and present-day Jewish life. 

CEU doctoral supervision:

CEU supervision of prize-winning MA theses:

Academic/Professional Experience outside CEU

  • Visiting Professor, Centre de recherches historiques - Études juives (CRH-EJ), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, 2020
  • Visiting Professor, Centre Interdisciplinaire d'Étude des Religions et de la Laïcité (CIERL), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, 2018
  • Visiting Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2016
  • Research Member, Steinheim Institute for German Jewish History, Duisburg, 2006-2009
  • Research Fellow, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2008-2009
  • Visiting Professor, Institut d'Études du Judaïsme (Institut Martin Buber), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, 2008
  • Visiting Professor, Institut für Jüdische Studien, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, 2006-2007
  • Visiting Professor, Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (College of Jewish Studies) Heidelberg, 2005-2006

Grants and Research Fellowships

  • Research Fellowship, Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, 2022-2023
  • Visiting Research Fellowship, Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg, 2018
  • Visiting Research Fellowship, Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies - Jewish Scepticism, Hamburg, 2015-2016
  • CEU Research Support Scheme, 2011
  • German Research Foundation, Bonn, 1995-1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008-2009
  • Mauricio Amado Foundation, Studio City CA, 2008-2009
  • The Ashkenazi Community of Mexico, Mexico City, 2002-2005
  • Holocaust Memorial Foundation, Paris, 2003-2004
  • Foundation for Science and Technology, Lisbon, 2001-2003
  • Foundation of French Judaism, Paris, 1990-1991 and 2001
  • Gerda Henkel Foundation, Düsseldorf, 1999-2000
  • Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan/Israel, 1998
  • Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf, 1988-1990
  • German Academic Exchange Service / The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1984-1985


  • CEU Outstanding Research Award 2016
  • French Jewish Book Award, Joint Jewish Social Fund (FSJU), Paris, 2008


PhD, Jewish Studies, University of Cologne, 1994 (summa cum laude)
Diploma, Religious Studies, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, 1994
MA, Jewish Studies/Romance Philology/Philosophy, University of Cologne, 1987

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