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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I am currently Visiting Research Fellow in Judaic Studies at CUNY Brooklyn College.
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 am currently writing a book entitled Rabbinic Drinking: What Beverages Teach Us About Rabbinic Literature (University of California Press; forthcoming in February 2020) and co-editing a volume entitled Feasting and Fasting: The History and Ethics of Jewish Food (New York University Press; forthcoming in December 2019).
Research My book, The Dangerous Duty of Rebuke: Leviticus 19:17 in Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation (Brill, 2018), examines the ways in which religious leaders within early Jewish and Christian communities conceived of the obligation to rebuke their fellows based upon the biblical verse: “Do not hate your kinsfolk in your heart, rebuke your fellow but do not incur sin” (Leviticus 19:17). Analyzing texts from the Bible through the Talmud and late midrashim as well as early Christian monastic writings, I expose a shift from asking how to rebuke in the Second Temple period, to whether one can rebuke in early rabbinic texts, to whether one should rebuke in later rabbinic and monastic sources. My next project, tentatively titled Propaganda, Deception, and Censorship: The Rabbinic Production of Knowledge, explores the manifold ways through which the rabbis of late antiquity fabricate history and law. Drawing upon insights from propaganda studies, trauma and postcolonial theory, as well as rhetorical criticism, this project examines rabbinic literature as a microcosm for understanding the partisan construction and dissemination of knowledge in the ancient world.
Jonathan D. Sarna is spending this year as a fellow of the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. Ordinarily he serves as University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he chairs its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He also is the past president of the Association for Jewish Studies and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. Sarna is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Jewish Research. His most recent books are When General Grant Expelled the Jews and Lincoln & the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell), which has just appeared in a Hebrew edition.
Senior Fellow | Center for the Study of World Religions | Harvard Divinity School
I joined Princeton’s program in the Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity in 2014 after receiving a MAR in the History of Christianity from Yale Divinity School and degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My dissertation, titled “Christianizing Knowledge: a new order of books in the Theodosian Age”, changes to documentary practice and readerly expectations across elite technical literature from the late fourth through the middle of the fifth century CE. In it, I bring together Roman legal sources, “patristic” theological tractates, conciliar acta, and the emergence of the genre of Talmud to demonstrate convergences between these corpora on a structural level, and to argue that jurists, bishops, and rabbis approached their task of commentary and codification with analogous prejudices and expectations about what documents are, what they do, and how they are to be used. This project approaches the question of “Christianization” beyond a sunday morning headcount, examining the effect of Christianity on structures of knolwedge in the later Roman empire. I am co-director of the Solomon’s Pools Archaeological Project, as well as a field archaeologist with the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, focusing on excavation of the Roman 6th Legion “Ferrata” castrum in Legio, Israel.t For the 2018-9 academic year I will be in residence at the American Academy in Rome as the Paul Mellon/Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize winner. My CV is available here.
Dustin Nash’s research straddles disciplinary boundaries through its exploration of the nexus between religion, politics, and identity in the formation of the Hebrew Bible, and the repercussions of scribal engagement with these categories in the development of Judaism. Dustin received his B.A. in 2004 from Luther College of Decorah, IA. He was a visiting graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 2004-2005, received an MTS from Harvard Divinity School in 2007, an MA in Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University in 2011, and his PhD from the same institution in 2015. He is currently Assistant Professor of Religion Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. His courses there include “Jewish Traditions,” “Paths in Jewish Thought,” “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” “Reading Biblical Hebrew,” “Rabbinic Texts and Traditions,” “Speaking with the Divine: Divination, Shamanism, and Prophecy,” and “Myth, Religion, and Creation.”
From January, 1991 through May, 2016 I taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I began as academic staff but eventually transitioned to tenured faculty, achieving the rank of Professor by retirement in May, 2016. I taught undergraduate courses in beginning and intermediate Biblical Hebrew, introductory courses in Hebrew Bible and Early Christian Literature, Prophets of the Bible, History-telling in the Bible, Jewish Literature of the Greco-Roman Period, The Gospels, and Pauline Christianity. In our graduate program in Hebrew Bible I taught year-long studies on the Hebrew books of the Pentateuch, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Job, Advanced Hebrew Grammar and Composition, Syriac Language and Literature, and graduate seminars on The Book of the Twelve, Philology and Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish Hellenistic Literature. I continue to guide the work of dissertators and serve on dissertation defense committees. In the fall of 2017 I will join the Minister of Faith Formation at Wayzata Community Church, Rustin Comer (Ph.D. candidate in theology at Claremont Graduate University) in offering a full curriculum of biblical and theological courses in the church’s adult education program. From January, 2010 through May, 2014 I served as chair of the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, overseeing the transfer of its program of modern Hebrew into the Jewish Studies Program and the merger of the program in Hebrew Bible with Classics to form a Department of Classical and Near Eastern studies.