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 graduate and undergraduate classes on the religious history of Europe and the Mediterranean region, and in particular on Jewish history and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. Starting from August 2023, I am the Director of the Erasmus Mundus graduate program History in the Public Sphere. I belong to the faculty of the of the Center for Religious Studies, which I have directed from 2016 to 2020, as well as to the faculty of the CEU programs and focus areas in Jewish Studies, in Cultural Heritage Studies, in Eastern Mediterranean Studies, and in Early Modern Studies.

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 worked at research institutes 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 History of the Portuguese Jews has appeared in three French and two Portuguese editions (Histoire des juifs portugais, Paris: Chandeigne, 3rd ed. 2021). 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 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 was a research fellow at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies 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:

Visiting Professorships

  • Centre de recherches historiques - Études juives (CRH-EJ), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, 2020
  • Centre Interdisciplinaire d'Étude des Religions et de la Laïcité (CIERL), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, 2018
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2016
  • University Duisburg-Essen, 2008-2009
  • Institut d'Études du Judaïsme (Institut Martin Buber), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, 2008
  • Institut für Jüdische Studien, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, 2006-2007
  • Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (College of Jewish Studies) Heidelberg, 2005-2006

Research Fellowships and Grants

  • Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem, 2022-2023
  • Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg, 2018
  • Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies - Jewish Scepticism, Hamburg, 2015-2016
  • CEU Research Support Scheme, 2011
  • Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies / Mauricio Amado Foundation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2008-2009
  • Steinheim Institute for German Jewish History, Duisburg, 2006-2009
  • German Research Foundation, Bonn, 1995-1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008-2009
  • The Ashkenazi Community of Mexico, Mexico City, 2002-2005
  • Holocaust Memorial Foundation, Paris, 2003-2004
  • Institute for the History of the German Jews, Hamburg, 2003
  • 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