PO Box 400126
Department of Religious Studies
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4126
wisdom literature in the ancient Near East ▪ nature and revelation in Jewish wisdom literature ▪ visuality and aurality in religious literature ▪ the intersection of historical and literary methodologies in the study of ancient texts ▪ Jewish religious practices in the Second Temple Period ▪ the application of theories from cultural anthropology to the study of the Hebrew Bible ▪ Jewish and Christian biblical interpretation in antiquity and modernity ▪ ethnicity and religious identity in antiquity ▪ Judaism in Latin America
Most of my research and writing aims to interpret ancient Jewish wisdom literature. I am currently researching visual and aural modes of perception in the Jewish Wisdom tradition. Judaism has often been thought of as a religion of the word, but a recent trend in Jewish Studies has shown that, despite biblical injunctions against pictorial representations of the Israelite deity, Jews at various points in time and place have cultivated visuality. My book-length project contributes to this variegated view of Judaism and the visual by recovering an important visual element in one of the foundational sources of Judaism. In addition to visual observations on nature and everyday life, Jewish sages valued the oral transmission and aural reception of sapiential instruction. I am particularly interested in cases of symbolic synesthesia, in which wisdom authors combine visual and aural metaphors or describe one sensation (seeing or hearing) in terms of another.
Wisdom's Root Revealed: Ben Sira and the Election of Israel. Edited by Hindy Najman, JSJSup 139. Leiden: Brill, 2009.
"Election and Knowledge in the Wisdom of Solomon," The Book of Wisdom and Hellenistic Jewish Philosophy, ed. Geza G. Xeravits, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming, expected 2010).
Review of T. A. Perry, God's Twilight Zone: Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2008), in Biblical Theology Bulletin (forthcoming).
“Sapiential Synesthesia: The Confluence of Light and Word in Ben Sira’s Wisdom Instruction,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 20-24 November 2009.
“Visual and Aural Metaphors in Proverbs and Sirach,” Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 20-24 November 2009.
“The Election of Israel in the Wisdom of Ben Sira,” Association for Jewish Studies 40th Annual Conference, Washington, DC, 21-23 December 2008.
University Teaching Fellowship, Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost, University of Virginia, 2009-2010.
Summer Research Fellowship, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Virginia, 2009.
Publication Grant for Wisdom's Root Revealed, Arts and Sciences and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, University of Virginia, 2008.
Excellence in Diversity Fellowship, University of Virginia, 2007-2008.