Chance McMahon is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their research focuses on how ancient Israelite, Jewish, and Christian literature appropriate imperial political ideology both to deconstruct such ideologies while presenting an alternative social order that mirrors imperial political ideology.
Hebrew Bible; ancient Near East; biblical, cuneiform, and early Jewish law; law and literature; Semitic linguistics My work examines the Hebrew Bible in comparison with ancient Near Eastern sources and draws on contemporary legal and literary theory and linguistics, with further recourse to ancient Jewish sources and medieval exegesis. I am currently transforming my dissertation into a book entitled Legal Practice, Legal Writing: The Biblical Bailment Law and Divine Justice. I am Acquisitions Editor of Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near East, and Jewish Studies at Gorgias Press. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, email me at email@example.com. I am currently Visiting Research Fellow in Judaic Studies at CUNY Brooklyn College.
Matthew Suriano is an Associate Professor in the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the history and culture of ancient Israel through the integration of biblical literature, Northwest Semitic inscriptions, and the archaeology of the Levant. He received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Research Interests Hebrew Bible; death, burial, and the afterlife; ancient inscriptions; kingship and royal historiography; the archaeology of the Levant.
Currently the Bothmer Fellow in Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum, my research explores the role that material and visual culture played in the Jewish experience of the late ancient Roman world. I received my B.A. in Ancient Mediterranean Religions from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2008), and went on to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before receiving an M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2017) in the History of Judaism from Duke University. I am an experienced instructor in Hebrew Bible and Jewish history from the Israelite period to Late Antiquity with an emphasis on the Greco-Roman World. I also have expertise in material and visual culture, archaeology and anthropology. I have archaeological field experience from important Roman period sites in Israel, and am a member of the publication team for the Duke excavations at Sepphoris. My dissertation research involved several enjoyable summers on site documenting and photographing in Rome and Beth She’arim. Having concluding my current research on Jewish sarcophagus patrons, I have begun work on a monograph more broadly exploring additional media of Jewish visual culture in Late Antiquity as evidence of cultural interaction and change. I am also developing a digital project that seeks to virtually reconstruct and reopen the destroyed Jewish catacombs of Monteverde.
I am currently the Robert A. Oden Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities and Judaism at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. My interest focuses on questions of textuality, materiality, and liturgy in late antique Judaism and Christianity. In addition, I joined the editorial board of the Ancient Jew Review as the deputy Judaism editor in fall 2018. A short piece about my dissertation, which distills some of my other research interests, can be found here.
Principally trained in both early Christianity and early Judaism, I approach religion in antiquity from an interdisciplinary perspective that challenges category assumptions about early Christian and Jewish literature. In my research and teaching, my goal is to showcase the intricacies of shared cosmological expectations among the communities of the ancient Mediterranean. I write about the intersection of cultural expectations in narratives from the Greco-Roman period, across religious boundaries, especially narrative-level rituals. My first book, My Flesh is Meat Indeed (Fortress; 2015) evaluates how John 6:51c–58 contributes to the gospel’s presentation of Jesus as divine in light of Hellenistic attitudes about sacrifice, divinity, and the consumption of human flesh. My next book-length project, Hierophagy: Transformational Eating in Ancient Literature, explores how performative consumption effects transformation in ancient Mediterranean narratives.
Jonathan Schmidt-Swartz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University focusing on Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. His primary research interests and dissertation focus broadly on the intersection of ancient scribal culture, critical theory, and kingship. More specifically, his dissertation aims to trace the intellectual history and historiography of kingship in more concrete terms, namely, by determining how post-monarchic scribes reinterpreted sources they inherited; how the juxtapositions of monarchic sources to their post-monarchic framings entails a two-way reinterpretation between older and newer texts. Unlike previous studies on the history of kingship in Israel-Judah, his work seeks to unpack the differing notions of kingship — the power dynamics between the king, Yahweh, and the people — through the lens of specific scribal practices as his guiding method. His objective is to understand, recognize, and begin to pull apart the layered conceptions of kingship on display in the Bible’s primary narrative about the kingdoms and recognize at once the conscious diachronic juxtaposition of sources by scribes and their synchronic multivalent unity. Dissertation: Recasting Kingship: Power, Disrupted History, and Scribal Adaptation Interests: Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near East, Critical Theory, Scribal Culture, Religious Studies/History of Religions, History/Historiography, Jewish Studies, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Public Humanities
My research focuses on the literature, law, and social history of the rabbinic movement. In particular, I am interested in how rabbinic food regulations enact and maintain distinct identities. I have just published a new book entitled Rabbinic Drinking: What Beverages Teach Us About Rabbinic Literature (University of California Press, 2020) and a co-edited volume entitled Feasting and Fasting: The History and Ethics of Jewish Food (New York University Press, 2019).