A native Californian, I did my first degree at Scripps College in Claremont, Ca., focusing mainly on twentieth century theology and ethics, then moved to Oxford to pursue ethics in the Hebrew Bible under the supervision of John Barton. Before coming to Nottingham I held research fellowships at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and Keble College, Oxford, where I also taught in the Faculties of Divinity (Cambridge) and Theology (Oxford).
I have been at Nottingham since 2011, where I teach and research in a number of areas relating to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and Hebrew language. I also direct the Centre for Bible, Ethics and Theology, which aims to bring together biblical and historical scholars with systematic and philosophical theologians to address contemporary issues in theology and religious studies. We have a regular programme of workshops and events to bring together scholars and members of the public.
My research focuses on the social and intellectual history of the ancient world, with particular attention to ethics and to the histories of ancient Israel and Judah. I have written on the impact of mythology and ideology on the justification of military violence (War and Ethics in the Ancient Near East: Military Violence in Light of Cosmology and History); on the effect of economic, political and social changes in the southern Levant on ideas about Israelite ethnic identity during the Assyrian period (The Making of Israel: Cultural Diversity in the Southern Levant and the Formation of Ethnic Identity in Deuteronomy), and on the relationship between the book of Deuteronomy and Assyrian imperial power (Israel and the Assyrians: Deuteronomy, the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon, and the Nature of Subversion); my current research project is attempting to tease out the relationship between Israel and Judah, in the Hebrew Bible as well as in ancient Near Eastern history. Alongside these major projects I also have ongoing interests in the book of Genesis and in the prophetic books.
I research and teach across a range of Hebrew Bible subjects, from the History, Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible module for first year undergraduates to specialist subjects for second and… read more
My research focuses on the social and intellectual history of the ancient world, with particular attention to ethics and to the histories of ancient Israel and Judah. Most recently I have been… read more
I am interested in supervising study into most aspects of the Hebrew Bible. My particular specialties include ethics in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East; issues pertaining to warfare; the histories of Israel and Judah; ethnic identity formation; prophecy and the prophetic books; and the book of Deuteronomy. I currently have students working on the intersection between politics and religious polemic, on literary approaches to the Song of Songs, on ethics and ancient Near Eastern legal culture in the Psalms, and on the ethics of nakedness. For information about funding, see below.
Tarah Van De Wiele
Research areas in which proposals are particularly welcome:
Ethics in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East: This research area focuses on ethical norms in ancient Israel and Judah and the comparative study of these norms in their ancient Near Eastern context. Possible PhD topics could include research into sex and sexuality; violence at the state, community or family level; concepts of social justice; ethics in one or more of the prophetic books; the intersection between law and ethics; or the social function of ethics in particular historical contexts. Proposals in 'Old Testament ethics' are also welcome.
Prophecy and the Prophetic Books: The prophetic texts constitute one of the most intriguing and most fruitful areas of research in the biblical canon. Research in the prophetic books might take the form of redactional studies of particular books; literary analyses of certain books or passages; historical discussions taking the prophetic texts as a starting point; or thematic studies addressing particular topics (e.g., sin and punishment, ethics, attitudes toward cult, social justice, social context of prophet and/or audience).
Deuteronomy: Situated at the intersection of Pentateuch and the (so-called) Deuteronomistic History and the source for much of the theology and ideology of the biblical literature, Deuteronomy has a critical place in biblical research. Research on Deuteronomy might include thematic, literary, redactional or historical topics; proposals on topics in ethics are particularly welcome.
History of Israel and Judah: The history and historiography of Israel and Judah, via both the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical evidence, continues to be a major research subject in biblical studies. PhD topics in this area could cover any aspect of the history of Israel and Judah from the pre-monarchic to post-exilic periods, focusing on specific individuals, groups, events or books.
Warfare in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East: This research area addresses the norms, practices and consequences of warfare in Israel and Judah, the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Research topics in this area might include the study of warfare in particular biblical books; reconstructions of military practices in Israel and Judah on the basis of biblical texts and archaeological evidence; analysis of interaction and influence among ancient Near Eastern militaries; or examination of the ideological, theological or ethical aspects of warfare.
History and Tradition: A major area of research in biblical studies is the way in which historical persons and places are depicted and used for rhetorical, literary and theological purposes. Possible PhD research in this area could include studies of the role of Nebuchadnezzar in the biblical prophetic or historical texts; the development of Jerusalem and Babylon from physical cities to symbolic figures in the prophetic material; or the characterisation of the Assyrian empire in prophetic and historical texts.
Bible and Empire: Assyria: The Assyrian imperial system provides the background for much of the biblical history and text. This research area seeks to understand interaction with and the influence of Assyrian culture - religion, literature, art, administration, etc - on the southern Levant in general and on the biblical texts and their historical contexts in particular. Possible PhD topics could include studies of the influence of Assyrian literary traditions on particular biblical texts; interaction between Assyrian and Judahite religious traditions; or the effect of Assyrian dominance on Judahite administrative practices, historical trajectory or literature.
Information about fees and funding for both UK/EU and international students in Theology and Religious Studies is available here. Prospective students in Hebrew Bible may particularly wish to attend to the Memorial Scholarship, which is available for students working at masters or doctoral level in Hebrew Bible.
Information about alternative sources of funding may be found here.
AHRC Midlands3Cities funding for UK/EU students The Midlands3Cities doctoral training partnership is a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, De Montfort, Birmingham and Birmingham City. The DTP will be in the fourth of five years in the next competition, awarding Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships for UK/EU applicants for 2017 entry. M3C provides research candidates with cross-institutional mentoring, expert supervision (including cross-institutional supervision where appropriate), subject-specific and generic training, and professional support in preparing for a career.
The deadline for AHRC M3C funding applications will be in mid-January 2017, by which time students must have applied for a place to study and have provided two references to a university within the DTP. Applicants are strongly advised to be in contact with the prospective supervisor(s) at an early stage of the process for advice and support. For full details of eligibility, funding and research supervision areas (including use of the supervision search tool) please visit www.midlands3cities.ac.uk or contact email@example.com
Information and proposal-writing workshops will be hosted in each of the three partner cities.
I research and teach across a range of Hebrew Bible subjects, from the History, Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible module for first year undergraduates to specialist subjects for second and third year undergraduates and taught masters students. I also teach Biblical Hebrew. I am interested in supervising study into most aspects of the Hebrew Bible; my particular specialties include ethics in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East; issues pertaining to warfare; the histories of Israel and Judah; ethnic identity formation; prophecy and the prophetic books; and the book of Deuteronomy.
I will be on research leave during spring semester 2018.
History, Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible: An introduction to the Hebrew Bible for first year students in Theology and Religious Studies and subsidiary students.
'Why Study....the Hebrew Bible?'
Prophets and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible: A combined lecture and seminar module on the biblical prophetic texts as literature and the nature of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East, for second and third year students.
Sex, Violence and God: Ethics and the Hebrew Bible: A seminar module on ethical issues in the Hebrew Bible in relation to both ancient and modern contexts, for second and third year students.
'Why Study…Sex and Ethics in the Hebrew Bible?'
Archaeological Excavation: Tel Azekah, Israel: An on-site module for students in Theology and Religious Studies and in the School of Humanities. In cooperation with Tel Aviv University.
Biblical Hebrew A, Biblical Hebrew B: An introduction to the basics of the reading and grammar of Biblical Hebrew, aimed at first year students in Theology and Religious Studies.
Intermediate Biblical Hebrew: A reading course in intermediate to advanced Hebrew texts, building on the grammatical and translational skills developed in the introductory modules.
More information on these modules is available through the module catalogue.
Masters' seminars on theory and method in the advanced study of the Hebrew Bible, covering topics such as kingship, ethics, prophecy, historiography and advanced Hebrew texts, depending on the particular interests of current students.
See Postgraduate Study
My research focuses on the social and intellectual history of the ancient world, with particular attention to ethics and to the histories of ancient Israel and Judah. Most recently I have been working on The Making of Israel: Cultural Diversity in the Southern Levant and the Formation of Ethnic Identity in Deuteronomy, focusing especially on the relationship between ethics, ethnic identity, and theology. The monograph presents the southern Levant during the seventh century BCE as a major period for the formation of Israelite ethnic identity, challenging the scholarly paradigm which dates biblical texts with identity concerns to the exilic and post-exilic periods as well as scholarship which limits pre-exilic identity concerns to Josianic nationalism. The argument analyses the archaeological material of this period, then draws on anthropological research to argue for an ethnic response to economic, political, and cultural change. The volume concludes with an investigation into identity issues in Deuteronomy.
Out of this work on Deuteronomy has also come another monograph, Israel and the Assyrians: Deuteronomy, the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon, and the Nature of Subversion, which challenges the widely accepted theory that Deuteronomy, especially in chapters 13 and 28, is a subversive literary reception of the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon (also known as the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon, or VTE). it also rejects the suggestion that Deuteronomy constitutes a subversive appropriation of Assyrian concepts of political loyalty more generally. The book draws on theories of adaptation and allusion to provide the theoretical foundation for a discussion of subversion and its detection, arguing that the book cannot have been intended to evoke the Assyrian treaty and loyalty oath traditions. In doing so it stakes a claim in one of the most contentious sub-fields in the discipline. The argument undermines a major touchstone for the pre-exilic dating of Deuteronomy as well as problematising the Israelites' relationship with the Assyrian empire more widely.
Building on my work on the prophetic books and developing observations on Deuteronomy's use of the term 'Israel', I am now devoting my time to thinking about the relationship of Israel and Judah, in the hope of producing a convincing explanation for why people in pre-exilic Judah called themselves 'Israelites' rather than 'Judahites' and why their descendants started to call themselves 'Judahites' only after Judah no longer existed. The first stage of this project, a close textual study of the book of Jeremiah, was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation.
My early work was an analysis of military ethics in Judah, Assyria and Israel, which concluded that war violence was justified via literary allusions to a creation myth in which the divine king defeated the waters of chaos in battle (War and Ethics in the Ancient Near East). I explored the implications of the exilic experience on the Judahite version of this military theology in a series of articles focusing on prophetic material in Ezekiel and Deutero-Isaiah ('Ezekiel's Oracles against the Nations'; 'Yahweh's Battle against Chaos in Ezekiel'; 'Adapting the Cosmological Tradition in Deutero-Isaiah'; 'Poetic Justice in an Oracle against Babylon'). Each prophet responded to the challenge of defeat in his own way: Ezekiel launched a staunch defence of Yahweh's royal role as divine king and warrior, while Deutero-Isaiah pulled apart the roles of king, warrior and creator to eliminate their problematic interdependence.