Postdoctoral Fellow, Uni Bern
Maureen Attali was born in Paris, France. She earned an M.A. in Social and Religious History of the Ancient World from the Sorbonne in 2011. She also earned an M.A. in Contemporary History and a second M.A. in Political Theory both from Sciences Po (2009). After passing the French senior teaching certification exam in History, she taught at the high school level from 2012 until 2014. In 2013, Attali began her doctoral studies at the Sorbonne as a member of the Orient & Mediterranée research unit. In 2014-2015, she was awarded a Sorbonne scholarship to support a one-year stay at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies as a visiting doctoral student. The following year, after being selected by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, a French government-funded learned society, she was based at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem where she undertook the historical annotation of Biblical texts as part of the “Bible in its traditions” research project. In December 2017, she earned her Ph.D. in History and Anthropology of Religions. Her dissertation offered a new interpretation of the historical evolution of Jewish festivals between the 5th century BCE and the 7th century CE. She argues that this evolution was the result of religious inter-relations, first relations with “Pagans” and later with Christians.
In addition to her main field of study, Attali is interested in portrayals of religions in contemporary fiction. Reception studies have convinced her of the need to study how people perceive what they consider to be their own religious history and the history of other religious groups. In her own life, she has experienced the social consequences of those perceptions; particularly when she volunteered as an educational mediator for an anti-racist school program (2008-2010). From 2018 until 2020, Attali was a fixed-term Lecturer in Ancient History at Angers and Rennes II Universities (France). In 2020, she became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), as part of a SNSF-funded research project entitled, “Religious Competition in Late Antiquity”. Drawing on her doctoral research about shared festivals in Late Antiquity, she studied shared beliefs and practices between Jews, Christians, and tenants of the traditional religions of the Empire, focusing on shared religious space as well as on the perception of alterity.