Posted in Baron Book Prize

2023 Baron Book Prize Awarded: Rowan Dorin

2023 Baron Book Prize Awarded: Rowan Dorin Posted on June 19, 2024

The American Academy for Jewish Research is pleased to announce the winner of its annual Salo Baron Prize for the best first book in Jewish studies published in calendar year 2023. The prize honors:

Rowan Dorin, No Return: Jews, Christian Usurers, and the Spread of Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe (Princeton University Press)

No Return is a tour de force. Fascinating, erudite, and provocative, this book proposes a major reconsideration of the familiar narrative of the history of Jewish expulsion in medieval Europe. By examining the overlooked ties between Christian money-lending and Jewish persecution, Dorin shows how the interrelated, yet distinct experiences of migration, economics, and religious and cultural difference shaped the rise of mass expulsion as a political technique. Based on astute re-readings of the primary source base, Dorin shows how the presence of foreign Christian moneylenders in various lands added a critical dimension to regime reckonings with the problem of usury and the question of Jews and Judaism in medieval Latin Christendom. In stressing these subtle yet persistent interconnections, Dorin offers a new theory of how Jewish expulsion grew and spread into common practice. No Return places medieval Jewish history into even deeper dialogue with medieval European history and challenges received wisdom about the origins of anti-Jewish expulsions. The author’s technical and analytical skills are matched by his stylistic gifts as a writer. The result is an engrossing and creative revisionist account of a core theme in premodern Jewish history. Read more broadly, No Return also presents the field of Jewish Studies with valuable case studies and methodological suggestions for how to think about continuities and discontinuities in the long history of antisemitism, contagion theories of the diffusion of ideological hatred, and the ways in which anti-Jewish persecution in Western culture often arises from the interplay between specific theological hostilities and socioeconomic context.

Honorable Mention is awarded to:
A.J. Berkovitz, A Life of Psalms in Jewish Late Antiquity, University of Pennsylvania Press.

The American Academy for Jewish Research ( is the oldest professional organization of Judaica scholars in North America. Its membership consists of senior scholars whose work has made a major impact on their field.

The Baron Prize honors the memory of the distinguished historian Salo W. Baron, a long-time president of the AAJR, who taught at Columbia University for many decades.  It is one of the signal honors that can be bestowed on a young scholar in Jewish Studies and a sign of the excellence, vitality, and creativity of the field.