After initially studying Computation and Artificial Intelligence at UMIST and the University of Essex, and several years as a business systems analyst and consultant, Simon Mayers returned to academia to pursue a diploma in Theology at Heythrop College, followed by an MA in Jewish Studies and then a PhD in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester (link for qualifications).
Simon is now the Administrator for the European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS). The EAJS is the sole umbrella organisation for Europe representing the academic field of Jewish Studies. Its primary aims include providing encouragement and support for the research and teaching of Jewish Studies at university level in Europe, and other places of higher education and learning. Simon is also the assistant editor of Melilah, an interdisciplinary Open Access journal concerned with Jewish law, history, literature, religion, culture and thought in the ancient, medieval and modern eras, and an independent scholar with research interests in Anglo-Jewish history, the history of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, and the power of religious discourse.
Simon’s PhD, which was funded by an AHRC grant and supervised by Professor Daniel Langton at the University of Manchester, examined how Jews were represented in a variety of English Catholic texts, such as newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, pastoral letters, sermons, letters to editors and personal correspondence, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. After his PhD, and with the help of two research grants from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Simon extended his original investigation to provide a more complete picture of how Jews were represented in English Catholic discourses from 1850 to 1945. Simon is currently in the process of writing up the results of this research as a monograph.
The following are some of the other projects Simon has worked on since completing his PhD:
- An examination of Jewish stereotypes in the literature and journalism of the English author G.K. Chesterton. The results of this study can be found in Simon’s book: Chesterton’s Jews.
- An examination of theological representations of Jews and Judaism in the bible commentaries and sermons of Adam Clarke (1762-1832), a prominent Methodist theologian. This project was funded by a Seed Corn Fellowship from the John Rylands Research Institute. An article based on this research into Adam Clarke’s discourse has recently been published in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library.
- Transcribing and summarising life story interviews as a volunteer for the “Rainbow Jews” LGBT Anglo-Jewish oral history project.