Jewish Studies

XU and HUC-JIR Joint Appointments

The joint faculty appointments between Xavier University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion are a unique collaboration that brings together these faith-based organizations. In the words of former Xavier President Fr. Michael Graham, SJ, the appointments reflect "our concerted focus on the need for interreligious dialogue and engagement as well as religious mutuality and intellectual vitality."


Dr. Jennifer Grayson

Assistant Professor, History Department

Jennifer Grayson, Ph.D., serves as Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Assistant Professor of History at HUC-JIR and at Xavier University in Cincinnati. She researches Arabic-speaking Jewish communities in the medieval Islamic world. Dr. Grayson's current book project traces changes in the relationship between Jewish government officials, the Babylonian geonim, and the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad between the tenth and twelfth centuries. More broadly, she is interested in the social and political history of the pre-modern Mediterranean; pre-modern and modern Jewish history; and, especially in her capacity as a joint-hire with Xavier University, inter-religious dialogue. Dr. Grayson holds a Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University (2017); an M.Phil. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Cambridge (2013), where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar; and an A.B. in History and Late Antique Cultures from Brown University (2011) 

For the Jewish Studies Program at Xavier, Dr. Grayson teaches History 262: Jewish Civilization II: (Bible to middle ages), History 263: Jewish Civilization III: (1391-present), History 199: Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper (an historical perspectives class), and History 409: Travel in the Middle Ages.


Dr. Christine Thomas

Assistant Professor, Theology Department 



Christine Thomas holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of Smith College and after graduation studied at the University of Tokyo on a Fulbright Fellowship. At Xavier she teaches courses in Hebrew Bible and a Theological Foundations course which includes a focus on Judaism and Jewish–Christian relations. At HUC–JIR she teaches rabbinical students and doctoral and masters students courses in biblical literature and exegesis, as well courses in ancient languages such as Aramaic and Ugaritic. Her scholarship focuses both on biblical literature and the history of the ancient Near East. She explores gender dynamics in biblical narratives as well as the roles played by royal women in the political world of Late Bronze Age Syria.