Rivka Feldhay

Visiting Scholar (Jul 2017-Sep 2017)

PhD, Associate Professor, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Born in Israel in 1947, I served in the Israeli Army (1965–1967), and then studied history and English language and literature at the Hebrew University. I started my training in History of Science with Yehuda Elkana and wrote my MA thesis and PhD thesis with him, both were awarded summa cum laude. In 1984 I started teaching at the Cohn Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University, where I was promoted to full professorship and served as the head of the institute for six years (1997–2003). My research and teaching areas include knowledge, religion, and politics in the early modern period; intellectual currents in the Renaissance; Copernicus and Galileo in context; science education in Catholic Europe; Baroque culture and the New Science. I have been a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center (1987–1988), the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (1998–1999), the International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna (1994), the Dibner Institute at MIT (1995), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (1997; 2005–2006), and the Collegium Helveticum of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) (2001). Since 2009 I am Director of Minerva Humanities Center in Tel Aviv University, leading the research group on “migrating knowledge.”


The Emergence and Expansion of Preclassical Mechanics


From Knowledge and Faith to Science and Religion: The Jesuit Way to Modernity


Selected Publications

Feldhay, R. (2017). The humanities through the lens of migration: Richard Koebner’s transition from Germany to Jerusalem. Naharaim - Zeitschrift für deutsch-jüdische Literatur und Kulturgeschichte, 11(1-2), 13-23. doi:10.1515/naha-2017-0009.

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Feldhay, R., & Ragep, F. J. (2017). Before Copernicus: the cultures and contexts of scientific learning in the fifteenth century. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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Feldhay, R. (2016). Literary knowledge between transition and migration: the case of Dostoevsky in Israel. In W. Doniger, P. Galison, & S. Neiman (Eds.), What reason promises: essays on reason, nature and history (pp. 195-205). Berlin: De…

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Feldhay, R. (2010). Wissenschaft in kleinen und großen Ländern. Nach Feierabend: Zürcher Jahrbuch für Wissensgeschichte, 6, 181-190.

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Studies of Knowledge in Eurasia and Africa: Issues of Methodology and Future Perspectives


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

From Trading Zones to Conflict Zones: The Disciplinarization of Mechanics in Early Modernity

Lecture given at the conference: Changing One's Mind: Commitments Questioned in Philosophy, Science and Religion (Tel Aviv University)

Disciplining the Sciences in Conflict Zones: Preclassical Mechanics between the Sovereign State and Reformed Religion in Early Modernity

Lecture given at the conference:  Making Truth – Administrating Truth. Establishing Credibility in Early Modern History (Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rome)

On Literary Knowledge: The Conceptual, the Figurative and the Performative

Lecture given at the conference: Weak Knowledge: Forms, Functions, and Dynamics (Goethe University, Frankfurt)

Knowledge in the Age of Governance: Promise or Problem?

Lecture given at the conference: Time, Place, Crisis: The Twentieth Century in a Global and Local Context (Hebrew University)

The Theory and Praxis of Migrating Knowledge

ETH, Zurich