Piero Capelli studied Classics, Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Judaic Studies in the University of Pisa (MA in Classics, 1987), in the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (MA in Humanities, 1987; PhD program in Humanities attended 1987-1990; Fellow of the Fondazione Giorgio Pasquali, 1994-1995) and in the Universities of Turin (PhD in Judaic Studies, 1995; post-doc fellow, 1996-1997) and Vienna (grantee, Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung of the Federal Republic of Austria, 1993 and 1995). He was adjunct professor of Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew in the Istituto di Scienze Religiose of Trent (1998-1999), in the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples (1999), and in Ca' Foscari University (2000). In Ca' Foscari he became assistant professor (2001), associate professor (2002), and full professor of Hebrew (2021). During Trinity Term 2005 and Hilary and Trinity Terms 2011 he was Visiting Scholar in the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. From October 2007 to May 2009 he was Visiting Scholar-in-Residence in the Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies of Emory University, Atlanta. From 2011 to 2016 he was Visiting Associate Professory in History in the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. In 2012-2013 he was Primo Levi Fellow in the lo Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 2014 he was awarded a Franklin Research Grant by the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. In 2016 he was awarded a Bi-National Scholarship for Scientific Cooperation between Italy and Israel and spent Spring Term 2017 doing research in the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva.
His field of enquiry is the history of texts and ideas in late antique and medieval Judaism, particularly in Hebrew and Aramaic rabbinic literature and in the Greek apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. He is presently working on the first critical edition of the Hebrew account of the first public trial against the Talmud in medieval Europe (Paris 1240).
He is Editor-in-Chief of «Henoch» (international journal of historical and textual studies on ancient and medieval Judaism and Christianity) and a member of the academic boards of «Humanitas» (journal of humanistic culture) and «Materia Giudaica» (international journal of the Italian Association for Judaic Studies, AISG) and of the editorial board of the journal «Annali di Ca' Foscari. Serie orientale». In 2020 he was accepted as correspondent member of the Class for Arts and Humanities of the Accademia Roveretana degli Agiati.