seit 02.2024 Advanced Postdoc, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern
02.2022–01.2024 Visiting Fellow, Yale University, CT
08.2021–01.2022 Junior Fellow, Walter Benjamin Kolleg, Universität Bern
01.2021 Promotion an der Universität Basel mit der Dissertation «Stadt ohne Juden? Präsenz und Absenz in der Frühen Neuzeit»
02.2020–10.2020 Junior Researcher, Departement Geschichte, Universität Basel
08.2019–01.2020 Assistent (Geschichte des Spätmittelalters und der Renaissance), Departement Geschichte, Universität Basel
02.2019–07.2019 Visiting Scholar, Queen Mary University of London, UK
10.2018–12.2018 Visiting Scholar, Princeton University, NJ
02.2018–01.2019 Visiting Scholar, Columbia University, NY
02.2015–01.2018 Assistent (Geschichte des Spätmittelalters und der Renaissance), Departement Geschichte, Universität Basel
02.2015–01.2021 Doktoratsstudium, Departement Geschichte, Universität Basel
2007–2015 Bachelor- und Masterstudium in Geschichte und Englisch, Universität Basel
  • Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte
  • Kriminalität und Justiz in der Frühen Neuzeit
  • Schweizer Reformationsgeschichte
  • Religionsgeschichte
  • Jüdische Geschichte
  • Gelehrtenkultur und Wissenspraktiken
  • Beziehungsgeschichte Christentum-Judentum
  • Antijudaismus

Liberating the Body and Soul: Early Modern Suicide by Proxy

second-book project, ongoing

This project examines suicide by proxy in early modern Switzerland and conducts a comparative analysis with previously documented cases from other parts of Europe. Suicide by proxy refers to a largely unexplored crime in the early modern period: individuals committing a capital crime to bring about their own death by execution. To avoid eternal damnation and posthumous punishment, these individuals preferred death by an executioner over suicide. Anticipating the pastoral care provided to prisoners before execution, they believed they had enough time to repent and atone for their sins before dying a good death on the scaffold.

Existing scholarship on suicide by proxy relies on a few isolated and localized case studies centered on northern European Lutheran regions and instances of suicide child murders. Only recently have a few scholars begun to scrutinize the association between suicide by proxy, Lutheran confession, and suicide child murder, but without providing substantial evidence for a more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon. Only one study highlights Catholic instances, while Reformed territories have been entirely overlooked. Moreover, aside from one study on blasphemy and a few mentions of bestiality, other methods of suicide by proxy have been largely ignored, despite ample evidence of their prevalence (incl. arson, blasphemy, swearing, and witchcraft). Consequently, assertions about the relationship between religious confession and suicide by proxy, as well as the religious complexities surrounding suicide by proxy, remain inconclusive and vague at best. The same holds true for overarching analytical claims about suicide by proxy. The absence of comprehensive cross-European research, coupled with the prevailing neglect of the various methods of suicide by proxy, prevents conclusive statements about general features and intricacies of early modern suicide by proxy.

This project aims to significantly expand the scope of existing scholarship. It argues that suicide by proxy is not a mere historical anomaly but rather a profound manifestation of social conflicts and human struggles for dignity, agency, autonomy, and—most crucially—salvation. As such, it is closely tied to the social, legal, religious, and intellectual transformations of the early modern period. A nuanced study of early modern suicide by proxy, therefore, offers crucial insights into the tensions between individual agency and social, legal, and religious constraints, as well as the evolution of social, legal, and religious dynamics and paradigms.

Stadt ohne Juden? Präsenz und Absenz in der Frühen Neuzeit

Dissertation, abgeschlossen

Von 1397 und 1800 existierte in Basel keine jüdische Gemeinde, weshalb das frühneuzeitliche Basel gelegentlich als eine «Stadt ohne Juden» bezeichnet wird. Dieses Buch geht der Frage nach, wie zutreffend eine solche Bezeichnung ist und untersucht die unterschiedlichen Formen in denen Jüdisches im frühneuzeitlichen Basel jenseits der physischen Präsenz einer jüdischen Gemeinde sichtbar und unsichtbar wurde. Es legt eine Dialektik von Präsenz und Absenz frei, der eine ambivalente Wechselwirkung zwischen Sichtbar- und Unsichtbarmachung des Jüdischen zugrunde liegt, und die seit jeher den historischen Zugriff auf das Judentum dominiert. Das frühneuzeitliche Basel ist eine ideale Ausgangslage für eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit dem konzeptionellen Zugriff der historischen Forschung auf die Geschichte der Jüdinnen und Juden.

Encounters of Judaism: Jewish Epitaphs and Renaissance Humanist Culture


This project explores Christian humanists’ exploration, recording, and innovation of Jewish epigraphy. It primarily, but not exclusively focusses on sixteenth-century Basel, where scholars had unique access to a collection of medieval Jewish headstones built into the city walls in the latter half of the fourteenth century. These headstones provided an extraordinary wealth of Jewish epitaphs, which scholars diligently studied, translated, imitated, and ultimately innovated.

Access to resources such as Hebrew texts, grammar books, and Hebrew teachers played a vital role in establishing Christian Hebraism as a scholarly field in the sixteenth century. While some notable academic attention has been devoted to many of these resources, little emphasis has been placed on Jewish artifacts and Hebrew inscriptions. In fact, previous scholarship suggests that scholarly engagement with Jewish artifacts, including Hebrew inscriptions and epitaphs, emerged relatively late, mainly in the second half of the seventeenth century. Conversely, it is assumed that Christian Hebraists were primarily concerned with the study of biblical and postbiblical texts, as the study of other Jewish literature, including epitaphs, held little missionary or polemical relevance during the sixteenth century and was therefore out of the ordinary.

Contrary to previous findings, this ongoing project argues that scholarly interest in Jewish epigraphy and realia emerged significantly earlier, closely aligned with the general interests and the evolution of Renaissance humanism and early modern material culture. Scholarly interest in and engagement with Jewish artifacts and Hebrew inscriptions was not so much out of the ordinary at all, but it depended on the availability and accessibility of Jewish inscriptions and artifacts. The project is part of an ongoing effort to document and record medieval Jewish headstones and epitaphs that were repurposed in the fourteenth century for rebuilding the city wall and now frequently resurface, typically due to construction activities. This work is being carried out by a team of philologists, archeologists, and other experts.


  • Andreas Berger: Stadt ohne Juden? Präsenz und Absenz in der Frühen Neuzeit. Basel 2024.

Peer-Reviewed Artikel:


  • Andreas Berger-Gehringer: Rezension zu: Serena DiNepi, Surviving the Ghetto: Toward a Social History of the Jewish Community in 16th-Century Rome. Transl. by Paul M. Rosenberg. Leiden, Boston 2021, in: Renaissance Quarterly 75/4 (2022), S. 1384–1385.
  • Andreas Berger-Gehringer: Rezension zu: Debra Kaplan: The Patrons and Their Poor. Jewish Community and Public Charity in Early Modern Germany. Philadelphia 2020, in: Sixteenth Century Journal 53/2 (2022), S. 583–585.
  • Andreas Berger-Gehringer: Rezension zu: Urs Leu und Sandra Weidmann: Huldrych Zwingli’s Private Library. Leiden, Boston 2019, in: Zwingliana 48 (2021), S. 215–218.
  • Andreas Gehringer: Rezension zu: Marco Tomaszewski: Familienbücher als Medien städtischer Kommunikation. Untersuchungen zur Basler Geschichtsschreibung im 16. Jahrhundert. Tübingen 2017, in: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte 69/1 (2019), S. 175–176.
  • Andreas Gehringer: Rezension zu: Jürgen Mischke: Familiennamen im mittelalterlichen Basel. Kulturhistorische Studien zu deren Entstehung und zeitgenössischen Bedeutung. Basel 2015, in: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte 68/3 (2018), S. 558–559.