Jason Sion Mokhtarian

Herbert and Stephanie Neuman Associate Professor


Jason Sion Mokhtarian is an Associate Professor and the Herbert and Stephanie Neuman Chair in Hebrew and Jewish Literature at Cornell University. The son of Jewish emigrants from Tehran, Mokhtarian grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and studied at the University of Chicago before earning graduate degrees in ancient Iranian studies and late antique Judaism from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of two books: Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in scholarship, and Medicine in the Talmud: Natural and Supernatural Therapies between Magic and Science (University of California Press, 2022). He is also a series co-editor of the Olamot Series at Indiana University Press, which translates innovative books by Israeli scholars on a range of topics in Jewish Studies. His research interests include the Talmud in its Persian-Sasanian context, Iranian religions and languages, ancient Jewish magic and medicine, Judeo-Persian literature, and the history of the Jews of Persia. Research languages include Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as Old, Middle, and New Persian. For more information about Professor Mokhtarian, visit his website: www.jasonmokhtarian.com.

Courses Taught:

  • Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity
  • Sacred Books of the Jews
  • Medicine, Magic, and Science in the Ancient Near East
  • Religions of Iran

Research Focus

  • Rabbinic Literature
  • Iranian Studies
  • Talmud in its Sasanian context
  • Ancient Jewish magic and medicine
  • Religions of Iran
  • Sasanian history and culture
  • Middle Persian
  • Judeo-Persian
  • Jews of Persia



  • Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015)
  • Medicine in the Talmud: Natural and Supernatural Remedies between Magic and Science (University of California Press, 2022). 

Edited Volume

  • Iranian Studies, special edition on “Religious Trends in Late Ancient and Early Islamic Iran.” Volume 48.1 (2015). Co-edited with David Bennett.

Selected Articles

  • “Material Culture of the Jews of Sasanian Mesopotamia.” In A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: Third Century BCE to Seventh Century CE, eds. Naomi Koltun-Fromm and Gwynn Kessler (Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing, 2020), 145-166.
  • “Zoroastrian Polemics against Judaism in the Doubt-Dispelling Exposition.” Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations 3.1 (2018)
  • “Clusters of Iranian Loanwords in Talmudic Folklore: The Chapter of the Pious (b. Ta’anit 18b-26a) in Its Sasanian Context.” In The Aggada of the Bavli and Its Cultural World, eds. Geoffrey Herman and Jeffrey L. Rubenstein (Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2018), 125-148.
  • “Excommunication in Jewish Babylonia: Comparing Bavli Mo‘ed Qatan 14b-17b and the Aramaic Bowl Spells in a Sasanian Context.” Harvard Theological Review 108 (2015): 552-578.
  • “Empire and Authority in Sasanian Babylonia: The Rabbis and King Shapur in Dialogue.” Jewish Studies Quarterly 19 (2012): 148-180.

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