At Nottingham I have taught and researched in a number of areas relating to Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, including the introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament for first year students and upper level modules on Hebrew Bible/Old Testament ethics and on prophets and prophecy, as well as Hebrew language and exegesis. These modules are currently being taught by Cat Quine.
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/Old Testament under the supervision of John Barton. Before coming to Nottingham I held research fellowships at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and Keble College, Oxford; more recently, my work has been supported by visiting scholarships at St John's College, Oxford and the Gladstone Library in Wales, as well as by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation. I will spend 2018 in Cambridge as the S.A. Cook Bye-Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, upon the completion of which I will be returning to California to take up the David Allan Hubbard Chair of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary.
My research focuses on the intersection of theology, ethics, and community identities, with a historical focus on the social and intellectual world of ancient Israel and a contemporary interest in the relevance of this work for twenty-first century ethics. I am especially interested in integrating insights from other disciplines, such as anthropology, refugee studies, and postcolonial theory, into biblical studies. This has, thus far, led to monographs examining the intersection between creation theology and ethics in the conduct of war (War and Ethics), the social context of Deuteronomy's distinctively Israelite ethics (The Making of Israel), and the relationship between Deuteronomy's emphasis on exclusive loyalty to Yhwh and Assyrian loyalty oaths (Israel and the Assyrians). My current project is aimed at understanding the multiple names by which the biblical texts refer to the people of God, focusing in the first instance on how the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians affected what it meant to be 'Israel' and 'Judah'. I also have interests in Genesis, the Psalms, and the prophets.
I 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 bringing together scholars and members of the public, including most recently a day conference on Illness, Wellness and the Book of Psalms.
Teaching in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament is currently being undertaken by Cat Quine.
Building on my work in The Making of Israel, my current research concerns the relationship between Israel and Judah, trying to understand the way that the biblical texts speak to and about these two… read more
I am interested in supervising postgraduate research into most aspects of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; my particular specialties include ethics in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; issues pertaining to warfare; the histories of Israel and Judah; ethnic and nationalist identities; prophecy and the prophetic books; and the book of Deuteronomy.
Current students work on a diverse range of subjects, including the ethics of nakedness in the Old Testament; biblical attitudes to the stranger, the foreigner, and the refugee; religious and political polemic in ancient Israel; narrative in the Song of Songs; divine emotion in the Twelve; and the conceptualisation of colour in the ancient world.. This year they have had articles accepted in Journal of Theological Studies, Vetus Testamentum, and Journal of Biblical Literature; multiple successes in the AHRC funding scheme; and delivered conference papers at the Annual and International Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature.
For information about funding, see below.
Research areas in which proposals are particularly welcome:
Ethics in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: This research area focuses on ethical norms in ancient Israel and Judah, the comparative study of these norms in their ancient Near Eastern context, and efforts to relate this historical work to contemporary ethical issues. Possible PhD topics include research into 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.
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 theological 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 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.
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 fifth 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 2018, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and proposal-writing workshops will be hosted in each of the three partner cities.
Current and recent students:
Tarah Van De Wiele
Building on my work in The Making of Israel, my current research concerns the relationship between Israel and Judah, trying to understand the way that the biblical texts speak to and about these two entities. My long-term goal is to improve our understanding of the nature, origins, and history of Israel and Judah, and to do this by approaching the biblical and extra-biblical texts through an interdisciplinary lens: integrating textual analysis and archaeological data with social-scientific research on the construction and development of identity narratives in response to social and political change.
At present this work is focussed on the effect of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians on Israelite and Judahite identities. My attention has been on the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and on bringing in insights from the social sciences to understand the ways that they understand Israel and Judah. Current research on forced migration, including the impact of migration on narratives about the past and on relationships to the homeland, has proved enormously helpful, as have analyses of imperial domination and its effect on native identities, including the amalgamation of disparate socio-economic classes and the invocation (or invention) of unifying traditions in the face of colonial power. An essay stemming from this work recently won the David Noel Freedman Award from the Society of Biblical Literature.
The first stage of this project was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation, thanks to which I was able to spend eight months as a visiting research fellow at the University of Göttingen conducting a close study of Jeremiah, testing and refining my methodology. (In the process I also wrote An Introduction to the Study of Jeremiah, which appeared with Bloomsbury this year.) Recent visiting scholarships at St John's College, Oxford and the Gladstone Library have allowed me to extend the investigation into Ezekiel. I will spend 2018 working on the project in Cambridge, as the S.A. Cook Bye-Fellow at Gonville and Caius College.
My doctoral work comprised an analysis of military ethics in ancient Israel and Assyria, concluding 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). This takes us beyond accusations of gratuitous Assyrian cruelty and the vague language of biblical 'holy war' and identifies the key paradigm which drove ancient military violence, allowing a nuanced understanding of the ethics of ancient warfare. I have taken up the implications of the exilic experience on this military theology in a series of articles focusing on prophetic material in Ezekiel and Deutero-Isaiah. For more about this work, see here.
My interest in the historical and theological context of ethical mandates led to The Making of Israel: Cultural Diversity in the Southern Levant and the Formation of Ethnic Identity in Deuteronomy (Brill, 2014), which focusses on the relationship between ethics, ethnic identity and theology. In this book I argue that the southern Levant during the seventh century BCE was a formative period for Israelite ethnic identity,
challenging the tendency to date biblical texts with identity concerns to the exilic and post-exilic periods, or to limit pre-exilic identity concerns to nationalistic fervour under Josiah. The argument analyses the archaeological material from the southern Levant during Iron Age II, then draws on anthropological research to argue for an ethnic response to the economic, political and cultural change of this period. The volume concludes with an investigation into identity issues in Deuteronomy, highlighting centralisation and exclusive Yahwism as part of the deuteronomic formulation of Israelite ethnic identity.
In the midst of my work on Israelite ethnic identity and the book of Deuteronomy, I had cause to reflect on the widely accepted theory that Deuteronomy, especially in chapters 13 and 28, is a subversive literary reception of the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon. In Israel and the Assyrians: Deuteronomy, the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon, and the Nature of Subversion (Society of Biblical Literature, 2014) I challenged this theory, arguing that the evidence for such a relationship between Deuteronomy and the Succession Treaty is wholly inadequate. I also rejected the suggestion that Deuteronomy is a subversive appropriation of more general Assyrian concepts of political loyalty. To achieve this I drew on theories of adaptation and allusion, providing the theoretical foundation for a discussion of subversion and its detection and staking my claim in one of the most contentious areas of 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. For more on how I reached these conclusions, see here.