Prof. Jonathan Yovel

יונתן יובל

Dr. Yovel has acted as associate editor for the “Law and Language in the Public Sphere” project under the auspices of the American Bar Foundation (ABF) and continues to cooperate with Law & Social Inquiry. In Israel he is involved with civil rights issues and occasionally publishes op-ed, professional, and criticism articles in the daily press.

  • S.J.D. (1997, Northwestern)
  • LL.M with honors (1995, Northwestern)
  • LL.B., B.A. (philosophy) magna cum laude (Tel-Aviv, 1992)
  • Oxford University, 1990 (no degree taken)
  • Jurisprudence
  • Contract law & theory
  • International law & political theory
  • Law & language
  • Law & society
  • Law & culture (especially literature, film, sports)
  • International commercial law & international commercial arbitration
  • Human rights law


  • 2001-2: Visiting Assistant Professor, The Center for Law, Language, and Cognition, Brooklyn Law school, New York
  • Spring 2001: Visiting Scholar, Max Plank Institute for Comparative and Public International Law, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Summer 2000: American University Washington College of Law Summer Program (Haifa)
  • Fall 2000: Visiting Professor, Nova University Law Center
  • Fall 1998: Visiting Scholar, Fordham University School of Law
  • 1999-2000: Observer, UNCITRAL working group on Electronic Commerce (NYC and Vienna)
  • 1991-4: Articled clerk, Zadok and Assoc., Tel-Aviv (commercial practice); then Judicial Clerk, Hon. Miriam Naor, Judge, District court of Jerusalem and President of the Israel Antitrust Court; then in Private practice, incl. legal counsel to the Press Council and various NGOs, civil and constitutional litigation in military courts, district courts, and High Court.

Further Information

Research Grants and fellowships:


Israel Science Foundation Grant

Social Stratification and Cultures of Argumentation of Lay Litigants in the Place of Justice



Israel Foundation Trustees Grant (formerly the Israel Ford Foundation)

Language and the Politics of Argumentation in Small Claims Courts


Israel Research Foundation Technological Infrastructure Grant


– Research Prize, University of Haifa Research Authority

– Grant for the Development of Online Teaching, University of Haifa


Pritzker Doctoral Fellowship, Northwestern University School of Law


MacChesney Grant, Northwestern University School of Law (renewed twice) Sundry Grant, Northwestern University School of Law (renewed twice)


Forthcoming Book: Sus Troyani [Trojan Horse]Tel Aviv: Hakibutz hameuhad, 2003 (in Hebrew)

Short Stories

  • These are the Names, First Prize, Ha’aretz Short Story Competition, 2000
  • Ishmael, Ha’aretz, July 2000
  • Death in Three Movements, Yediot Aharonot, October 1997
  • The Golem, Ha’aretz, April 1996
  • Earthquake, First Prize, Ha’aretz Short Story Competition 1996

Translations (into Hebrew)

  • Verse translation of selections from Milton’s Samson Agonistes (in preparation)
  • Occasional translations from Franחois Villon, Joachim du Belley, “minor” French renaissance poets, Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Ezra Pound and Flann O’Brian.
  • Selective translation from Aquinas, Treaties on Law (Summa Theologica FPSP QQ 90-107) (in preparation)


1996-present, covering various legal, political and social issues in Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot, including: human rights issues; Mideast peace process; rhetorical analyses of various aspects of public discourse; critiques of the use of private-law standards in government-citizen relationships; newly-emerging consumerist and civic ideologies; and analyses and critique of various governmental bodies including the supreme Court, constitutional court, the presidency, the military, etc.

Literary and Professional Essays and Reviews

Several pieces in Haaretz Literary SupplementHaaretz Sfarim (Haaretz Book Review), and Yediot Aharonot, including pieces on Mimetic prose, Kafka’s novels The Trial and Amerika, Peter Hoeg, the duty to obey the law, legal jargon and legal lexicons.

  • In his dissertation, The language beyond law: linguistic performativity in legal context, written with joint supervision of the law school and dept. of philosophy at Northwestern and the dept. of linguistics at the University of Chicago, Yovel develops an intersubjective theory of preformative language, subsequently used for a critical examination of competing models of contract formation, with special emphases on “relational” contract theory. He now applies some of that analysis to a relational theory of contractual remedies and continues an elaboration of a social, non-cognitivist approach to performative language.

Chapters in Books



  • “Courtroom Narrative”  with Elizabeth Mertz, The Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory (London: Routledge) (2004)
  • Imagining Territories: Space, Place, and the Anticity, University of Haifa Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper (2007)
  • Discourse Ethics and Interpretative Manipulations from Akhnai’s Oven, Posen Center Research Publication 4 (2006)

You can also meet me at: