Fall 2014 Schedule

Monday, October 6, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Kelli Gardner, PhD student in Hebrew Bible, will be presenting her paper, “Woman-as-City: A Reversed Trope in the Song of Songs.”

Monday, October 20, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): David Vanderhooft, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Boston College, will be presenting a paper entitled “Ezekiel in Babylon.”

Monday, October 27, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Naphtali Meshel, Assistant Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Princeton University, will be presenting a paper entitled “The Other Grammurs.”

Monday, November 10, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Matt Richey, PhD student in NELC, will present a paper entitled “Local Northwest Semitic Scripts of the Early Iron Age.”

Wednesday, December 3, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): In honor of the recent publication of books by Prof. Jeffrey Stackert (A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion) and Prof. Simeon Chavel (Oracular Law and Priestly  Historiography in the Torah), the workshop will be hosting a book party. Two students, Nathan Mastnjak, PhD student in NELCand Richard Zaleski, PhD student in New Testament, will offer brief remarks in response to the books, which will be followed by light refreshments and informal conversation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring 2014 Schedule

Tuesday, April 1st, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, “Reading Texts for Meaning Across the Divinity School: A Discussion Across the Committees”:  Jeffrey Stackert, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, will begin the discussion with remarks on biblical hermeneutics and then Richard Rosengarten, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature, and Ryan Coyne, Assistant Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology will offer responses from their respective disciplines.  A brief reception will follow.  This event is co-sponsored by the Religion and Literature Club.

Monday, April 7th, 4:30-6:00PM in Swift 106. Jacqueline Vayntrub, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “In the Mouth of Fools: What it means to Speak a Mashal.”

 Monday, April 28th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Charles Huff, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “Divine Repose and Community Outrage: Punishment in P and H.”

Monday, May 19th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 201, Marshall Cunningham, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will present a paper entitled, “Jacob-Israel as Herald: Historical Context and the Rhetoric of Isa 40–48.”

Tuesday, May 27th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Charles Otte III, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “Hebrew Roots: Academic Heuristic or Component of Grammar?”

Monday, June 2nd, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Ada Taggar-Cohen, Professor at Doshisha University, will present a paper entitled, “Manifestations of Royal Ideology in Hittite Rituals.”

Monday, June 9th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 403, Sarah Yardney, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will workshop her in-progress dissertation proposal on textual criticism and the history of interpretation in Samuel.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter 2014 Schedule

Tuesday, January 28th, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, Craft of Teaching Pedagogy Event:

This workshop will focus on teaching the Bible–its texts, languages, and history–with technology, covering a range of approaches from online resources to online teaching.  Join us for presentations and discussions with two recent Bible program alumnae: Anne Knafl, Bibliographer for Religion and Philosophy at the University of Chicago Library, and Annette Huizenga, Assistant Professor of New Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.  Co-sponsored by the Early Christian Studies Workshop and the Bible Area Club.

Monday, February 3rd, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, Seth Sanders, Associate Professor of Religion at Trinity College, will present a paper entitled, “What if there aren’t any empirical models for Pentateuchal Criticism?”

Monday, February 24th, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, Hindy Najman, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, will present a paper entitled, “Radical Hope and the Revitalization of Scripture in  Jewish Antiquity: Rereading 4Ezra.”

Tuesday, February 25th, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, Craft of Teaching Pedagogy Event:

The program featuring Hindy Najman, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, and Margaret Mitchell, Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and moderated by Jonathan Soyars, PhD student in New Testament and Early Christian Literature, will explore a variety of questions around the art of lecturing. Profs. Najman and Mitchell, both seasoned lecturers, will offer reflections on their experiences lecturing in different pedagogical settings, after which we will open up the floor for group discussion.  Cosponsored by the Early Christian Studies Workshop and the Bible Area Club.

Monday, March 3rd, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, Drayton Benner, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper TBA.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fall Quarter 2013 Schedule

Monday, October 7th, 4:30-6:00pm in Swift 200, Cathleen Chopra-McGowan, PhD student in Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School, will present a paper entitled, “Festivals and the Promotion of Political Ideology in the Hebrew Bible.”

Monday, October 21st, 2:30-4:00 in Swift 106, Joel Baden, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School, will present a paper entitled, “Leviticus 16: What’s in a Layer?”

Thursday, November 7th, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 208, Nathan Mastnjak, PhD student in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “The Transformation of Deuteronomy in Jeremiah.”

Monday, December 9th, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 403, James Covington, PhD student in New Testament at the Divinity School, will present his paper entitled, “How to Do Things with God’s Words: Translation Techniques of Divine Speech Acts in LXX Genesis.”  Co-Sponsored by the Early Christian Studies Workshop.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Special Event on May 6th with Avraham Faust

Join us for a special event with

Avraham Faust

Professor of Archaeology, Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University

“The Emergence of Israel in Canaan: Interaction and Boundary Maintenance in the Iron Age I”

ABSTRACT: The time of Israel’s emergence in Canaan and the processes which gave rise to this ethnic entity are among the thorniest problems in biblical archaeology. These questions have, consequently, received much scholarly attention, and the topics also have their share of public interest. Views vary greatly, with some scholars even questioning the mere existence of ancient Israel. The lecture will scrutinize the archaeological evidence in order to learn about the timing and processes that accompanied Israel’s ethnogenesis. Notably, Israel’s ethnogenesis was a long process in which this group interacted with other groups – and mainly the Philistines, their “arch-enemies” – and self-identified itself vis-à-vis them. The lecture will also discuss the changing nature of the relations between the different groups that existed in Canaan at the time – Israelites, Canaanites and Philistines – how they used and manipulated various symbols of identity, and the various mechanisms of boundary maintenance that were operating during this formative period.

with a response by

David Schloen

Associate Professor of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Monday, May 6th, 2013

4:30-6:00pm, Classics 110


Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Jordan Skornik (jeskornik@uchicago.edu) or Kelli Gardner (kelligardner@gmail.com)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Quarter Schedule

Tuesday, April 9th, 10:30am-12:00pm, in Swift 403, Prof. Dobbs-Allsopp, Princeton Theological Seminary, will present a chapter of his in progress book entitled, “Through Whitman’s Eyes: Thre Free Rhythms of Biblical Hebrew Poetry.”

Monday, April 22nd, 4:30-6:00, Swift 403, Prof Tova Ganzel from Bar-Ilan University will present a paper entitled, “Ezekiel’s Vision in the Babylonian Context: Preliminary Thoughts.”

Monday, May 6th, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Classics 110, Prof Avi Faust, Bar Ilan University, will speak on Israel’s “ethnogenesis.”  Prof David Schloen will respond.

Monday, May 20th, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Swift 201, Joey Cross, PhD student in NELC will present a paper entitled, “Psalm 45: Lineation Through Manuscript Analysis, and Notes Toward an Interpretation.” Psalm 45 is a royal wedding hymn that praises a king and his bride and, in a way unparalleled in biblical literature, begins and ends with the poet reflecting on the importance of his own work. It is also a difficult text. On a formal level, the psalm is parallelistic (and thus similar to most Biblical Hebrew poetry), but only in parts. Much of the psalm remains difficult to conceive in poetic terms. As modern readers we are not alone in this observation: all of the major Hebrew and Greek witnesses agree on the difficult portions and make different decisions of lineation. In this talk we will 1. discuss the process of arriving at a lineated text of the psalm that is as reliable as possible, through a careful reading of the manuscripts; and 2. point to problems of interpretation, with a careful eye towards how the interpretation is bound up with its unique form.

Tuesday, June 4th, 4:30-6:00pm, Swift 201, Hebrew Bible Workshop will hold our Craft of Teaching pedagogy event, “Teaching Bible in Diverse Classrooms.” The Bible continues to be one of the world’s most read and taught texts.  However, in a classroom of students who come from diverse religious/cultural backgrounds and hold different and often conflicting views about the Bible, how does an instructor get everyone on the same page in order to talk about the bible in a productive way?  This is a challenge whether you are teaching a course that addresses the Bible primarily or peripherally.  Join panelists Prof. Simeon Chavel, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, Prof. Lucy Pick, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity, and Allison Gray, PhD student in New Testament and Early Christian Literature, for a lively and informative discussion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Winter Quarter Schedule

Mark your calendars:

Thursday, January 17th at 9:30AM in Swift Hall Common Room – Breakfast and conversation with Professor Esther Hamori from Union Theological Seminary

Monday, January 28th at 4PM in Swift 400 – Charles Huff, PhD student in NELC, presents a paper entitled, “Sabbath and Death”

Tuesday, February 12th at 4:30PM in Swift 106 – Professor Fishbane will present a paper entitled, “Biblical Hermeneutics and Philosophical Theology: A Jewish Model.”  Professor Rosengarten and Bevin Blaber, PhD student in Philosophy of Religion, will respond.  A reception will follow.  Co-Sponsored with the Jewish Studies Workshop.

Monday, February 25th at 4:30PM in Swift 201 – Kelli Gardner, PhD student in Hebrew Bible, will present a paper entitled, “‘Drink Water from Your Own Cistern': Images of Female Sexuality and Autonomy in Proverbs and the Song of Songs.”  Kristel Clayville, PhD candidate in Ethics, will respond.  Co-Sponsored with the Theology Workshop.

Proverbs 1-9, 31, and the Song of Songs reflect an analogous understanding of proper female behavior and authority, and establish similar regulations and controls over female sexuality.  However, due to their divergent agendas and perspectives, these are presented differently.  Proverbs uses the image of the Strange Woman to demonstrate the evils of promiscuous women, while presenting one’s own wife as a satisfying and fertile lover.  By borrowing tropes depicting female sexuality from the Song of Songs, Proverbs is able to present the dual nature of the Strange Woman – seductive but dangerous – while reminding participants its audience of the utter satisfaction one can have in one’s own wife.  Thus, Proverbs artfully reinforces the social conventions regarding female sexuality by advising its male audience to drink only from one’s own cistern!

Friday, March 8th at 1:30PM in Swift 106 – Jacqueline Vayntrub, PhD candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “The Idea of Mashal: Aesthetics and Biblical Poetry.”  A light, Mediterranean lunch will be provided.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 12th Meeting: A Double Feature

The Hebrew Bible Workshop will convene on Monday, November 12th 4:00-5:30 in Swift 403.  There will be whiskey, wine, and stimulating conversation.

4:00-4:30 Ben Thomas, PhD Candidate in NELC, will do a practice run of his SBL presentation: “The Beginning of Solomon’s Reign in the Septuagint at 3 Reg 2:46l-3:2.”

4:30-5:30 Matthew Richey, first year PhD student in NELC, will present his paper, “Baruch Among the Scribes: A New Model for the Redaction of Jeremiah 36.”


This paper treats differences between the Masoretic and Septuagint editions of Jeremiah 36 (43 in LXX) – in which Jeremiah’s prophecies are first inscribed, then read, burned, and finally reconstituted – as the basis for a history of the chapter’s redaction. This model explains, as parsimoniously as possible, the seemingly contradictory picture of the named “officials” (שרים) and further significant disagreements in the two major text traditions. Variants in the MT and LXX expose the processes by which editors of the chapter sought to claim certain literate authorities as supporters of Jeremiah, to elevate Baruch’s position relative to government officials while emphasizing his inferiority to the inspired prophet, and to reinterpret the position of “scribe” (סופר) along Persian period – rather than now outdated Iron II – lines. While the earliest retrievable version of Jeremiah 36 did not posit the inviolability of the written prophetic word or the unity and reliability of literate authority, later redactors assumed and enforced such peculiarly textual values in seeking to bring the received text into accord with their worldview.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment