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Norman Arthur Stillman

STILLMAN, NORMAN ARTHUR (1945– ), U.S. historian. Born in New York, Stillman was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1967, Ph.D. 1970), with postgraduate work at the Jewish Theological Seminary (1970–71). Stillman taught at New York University, 1970–73, the State University of New York at Binghamton, 1973–95, and from 1995 at the University of Oklahoma, where he was the Schusterman/Josey Professor of Judaic History. He was a visiting professor at Haifa University, 1979–80, and lectured at many universities. He was a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Bronfman Fellow, and a Littauer Fellow. He was a member of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the American Oriental Society, the Association for Jewish Studies, the Conference on Jewish Social Studies, the Society for Judeo-Arabic Studies, the Israel Historical Society, and the Societe de l'histoire du Maroc.

Stillman was a student of S.D. *Goitein, whom he considered his mentor, and his work carried on in the field of studies established by Goitein's work on Jewish life and culture in Islamic societies. He is a recognized authority on the history of the Islamic world and of Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewish culture as well as an advocate of Israel and Zionism. While his account of Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewish history is sympathetic, it has attracted some criticism from non-Ashkenazi Israeli Jews, who feel that he sees their history through a European Zionist framework that distorts it and minimizes the hardships and disabilities they experience in Israeli society.

Stillman has been quoted as having said that he affiliated himself with academic Jewish studies rather than Middle East studies because of "barely veiled antisemitism" in Middle East studies departments. His principal published works are The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book (1979), Studies in Judaism and Islam (edited with Shelomo Morag and Issachar Ben-Ami, 1981), The Language and Culture of the Jews of Sefrou (1985), The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (1991), Sephardi Religious Responses to Modernity (1995), and From Iberia to Diaspora: Studies in Sephardic History and Culture (edited with Yedida K. Stillman, 1999). With his late wife Yedida Kalfon Stillman, a Moroccan-Israeli scholar, he published a translation of Travail in an Arab Land by Samuel Romanelli (1989), and he edited her posthumous work Arab Dress: A Short History (2000). He has also published numerous scholarly articles and reviews. For his publications in Hebrew, he writes under the name Noam Stillman.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.