“I am interested in the literature and religion of ancient Israel. I focus on biblical law in its ancient Near Eastern context and on the way that biblical law was later reinterpreted in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Second Temple literature. I have also explored the relation of the Bible to later western intellectual history. My latest book, Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel, deals with the problem of divine justice in the Decalogue and on the importance of academic biblical studies for current work in the humanities on canon theory. I am a member of the Center for Jewish Studies and one of the affiliated members of the Law School.”
- history of interpretation
- Jewish studies
- Hebrew Bible
- cuneiform law
- ancient Near Eastern studies
- literary approaches to biblical studies
- divine revelation
- Ph.D. : Brandeis University, 1991.
- Visiting Researcher: Biblical and Semetic Languages, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1979–80.
- M.A.: McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1978.
- B.A. : York University, Toronto, 1974.
Selected Awards and Honors
- Elected Fellow, American Academy for Jewish Research (2010– )
- Henry Luce Senior Fellow in Religion, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC (2010)
- Scholar of the College Award, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota (2010–13)
- Imagine Fund Award Winner (2009)
- Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin/Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship (2007)
- National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Research Stipend (2004)
- Appointment to membership in Biblical Colloquium (2003)
- McNight Arts and Humanities Summer Fellowship (1999)
- Co-recipient of the 1999 Salo W. Baron Award for Best First Book in Literature and Thought from the American Academy for Jewish Research
- University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid (1998)
- Member, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), School of Social Science (1997)
- Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (1997)
- NEH Summer Grant nomination; Indiana University Fellowship (1995)
- Stroum Fellowship for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies, University of
- Washington (1987)
- “Transgenerational Punishment in the Ten Commandments and the Alternative Notion of Individual Retribution,” Triangle Seminar for Jewish Studies, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC, April 11, 2011.
- Interviewed for and quoted in “Six Other Calamities Blamed on Divine Retribution,” by Dan Gilgoff, Belief Blog, CNN.com, March 16, 2011
“God’s Doubt and the Akedah,” text study at Beth Jacob Congregation, Saint Paul: April 25, 2010
- “Teaching Creation,” Minneapolis Minne-CAJE conference, Saint Paul: January 17, 1999
- “Authorship and Authority in the Bible,” Hillel Sunday Faculty Brunch: January 10, 1999