Oren Roman

Contact: oren.roman@mail.huji.ac.il 


Ph.D. (2015) Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Lector of Yiddish at the University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University,

postdoctoral fellow (2016) at The Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History – Hebrew University of Jerusalem.



“Be-nign Shmuel-bukh: On the Melody (or Melodies) Mentioned in Old-Yiddish Epics”, Aschkenas 25 (2015), pp. 145–160

“The Mighty One of Israel: On Epics in Old-Yiddish” [Hebrew], Zmanim: A Historical Quarterly, 125 (2014), pp. 18–25

“The Song of Deborah in Sefer Shoftim (Mantua 1564)”, Amsterdam Yiddish Symposium, 3 (2009), pp. 27–44.


Other fields of interest: Bible translations, performance, epic poetry, music, folklore.



The Epic Poems in old-Yiddish on the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges

The field of my research is the history and culture of the Jews who lived in Germany and spoke German. The texts I study date back to the time before the existence of Standard German, when Jews living in the German-speaking area spoke their own dialect, which today is called West- or Old-Yiddish. From the 13th century on there existed a ‹German Jewish› cultural continuum from west to east Europe, and therefore I speak of the Ashkenazim and their descendents in the Ashkenazi diaspora rather than of German Jews.

The subject of my Ph.D. thesis is epic poems on the Book of Joshua and the Book of Judges in Old-Yiddish. These beautiful epics bring Hebrew narratives in German attire: their language, form, and details are strongly influenced by the German chivalric romances. It is presumed that these epics were composed in Germany. On the other hand these texts draw from Jewish sources other than the Hebrew Bible, and we find in them traces of traditional Bible commentary including extensive citations of Midrashic literature as well as traces of the traditional Yiddish translation of biblical verses.