Betty Rojtman, Professor Emerita at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taught in the Department of French Studies and the Department of General and Comparative Literature, where she held the Katherine Cornell Chair.
Born in Paris, Betty Rojtman received her Ph.D. (on Samuel Beckett) at the Sorbonne. She chaired the Department of French Studies from 1989 to 1992, founded and chaired the Desmarais Research Center for French Culture from 1992 to 1998. In 1993, she taught as visiting professor at the University of Montreal. From 1996 to 2009 she presented seminars at the College International de Philosophie in Paris. In 2004-2005 she was invited as Directeur de Recherches at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, and in 2007 was designated as a delegate to the Fonds Paul Ricoeur in Israel. In 2011, she was invited as a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Paris.
Her present fields of interest are modern French literature and thought as well as Jewish hermeneutics and its interaction with contemporary trends in the humanities. She has published over fifty articles in various academic journals in the fields of literature, text theory, philosophy, and Jewish studies. Among her published books are: Feu noir sur feu blanc. Essai sur l'herméneutique juive, Verdier, 1986. [Black Fire on White Fire, An Essay on Jewish Hermeneutics, from Midrash to Kabbalah, prefaced by Moshe Idel, trans. Steven Rendall, The University of California Press, 1998] ; Une grave distraction [A grave Distraction], prefaced by Paul Ricoeur, Balland, 1991 ; Une Rencontre improbable. Equivoques de la destinée, Paris, Gallimard, 2002.
Betty Rojtman has also written poetical essays, based on Jewish hermeneutics and Biblical studies :
Le pardon à la lune. Essai sur le tragique biblique, Paris, Gallimard, 2001. [Seli’hat halevana, Al hatragiut hatana’hit, trans. Nir Ratzkovski, Jerusalem, Carmel, 2008.] Moïse, prophète des nostalgies, Paris, Gallimard, 2007, 191 p.
She recently completed a comprehensive essay on the fascination of death in contemporary French writings, including chapters on Kojève, Bataille, Blanchot, Derrida, Lacan. She is currently experimenting in literary and existential writing.