Tuesday, Oct. 10th: Robert Holmstedt, “Parallelism, R.I.P— The Syntax of Biblical Hebrew Poetry”

*** Room change: the seminar will now meet in Swift 208 ***

Dear colleagues,

Please join the Hebrew Bible Workshop on Tuesday, October 10th at 12:30 pm in Swift 208 for Prof. Robert Holmstedt (Toronto), who will present his paper “Parallelism, R.I.P— The Syntax of Biblical Hebrew Poetry”:

“In typical scholarly fashion, a model that has been known to be a descriptive failure for a century continues to be taught to unsuspecting students of the Bible and used in commentaries to little good end. What is it about the poetic “parallelism” first described by Robert Lowth in the 18th century that makes it an affliction more unshakeable than the common cold? Michael O’Connor (whose 1980 opus, Hebrew Verse Structure, provides a compelling linguistically grounded description of the poetic line) has called the endurance of Lowthian parallelism a “horror” that wreaks havoc on lexical semantics and “is beyond the comprehension of any sensitive student of language.” In this study I offer a poetic convention grounded in widely attested grammatical structures to replace the unworkable parallelism, which we may now provide with a proper burial.”

Workshop attendees are encouraged 1. to read Professor Holmstedt’s paper ahead of time, and then 2. to prepare the following Psalms, which will be discussed in a seminar-type setting, with the paper in mind: Psalms 4, 23, 67, 84, 93, 108, 114, 121, 124, and 134.

Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to me at jjcross@uchicago.edu to receive a PDF of the paper if you are planning on attending.

Finally, you may be interested in attending a lecture by Prof. Holmstedt on the previous day (Monday the 9th) at Wheaton College, at the college’s Archaeology Lecture Series. His talk is entitled “Palaeography, History, and the Power of Naming: The World’s Oldest Alphabet is … Hebrew?”, and the topic will be Petrovich’s recent, controversial claims concerning the Hebrew language and the first alphabet. For more information, email BTSUndergradStudies@wheaton.edu.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Spring Quarter Schedule

The Hebrew Bible Workshop meets on Monday afternoons, from 4:30–6pm, in Swift 106, unless noted otherwise.

April 18:     Jordan Skornik, PhD candidate in Hebrew Bible, title TBA

May 2:        Allison Gray, PhD candidate in New Testament studies, will be offering a                                  public defense of her dissertation, “Weaving Lives for Virtuous Readers:                                  Gregory of Nyssa as Biographer” (This event is hosted by Early                                         Christian Studies Workshop)

May 9:          Jacqueline Vayntrub, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Brandeis                                      University “Beauty, Wisdom, and the Poetics of Description in Proverbs                                    31:10–31”

May 23:       Jaime Waters, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, DePaul University, will                        present a paper on threshing floors in Ancient Israel.

Details of upcoming presentations by Aslan Cohen and Sun-Bok Bae will be listed shortly!

We look forward to seeing you at our workshop!

Cathleen and Jessie


Welcome to the 2015–2016 Hebrew Bible workshop! This year’s coordinators are Jessie DeGrado and Cathleen Chopra-McGowan. We have an exciting year of events and presentations ahead of us.

To kick off this year’s workshop, James Covington (PhD student in New Testament) will be presenting his paper, “Telling the Flood Stories in LXX Genesis,” on October 5. This presentation is cosponsored with the Early Christian Studies Workshop.

Please return to this page soon for the rest of our fall quarter schedule! We are looking forward to seeing you at the workshops.

Jessie and Cathleen


Spring Quarter Schedule

Monday April 20, 4:30-6:00pm (S106) – Jordan Skornik, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will be presenting his paper entitled “The Idea of Biblical Prophecy.”

Monday, May 4, 4:30-6:00pm (S106) – Joseph Cross, PhD student in NELC, will be presenting his paper  “Does Deuteronomy 8:7-10 Allude to the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe?”

Monday, May 11, 4:30-6:00pm (S106) – Christine Hayes, Robert F. and Patricia R. Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale University, will be presenting her paper entitled “What’s Divine about Divine Law?”

Tuesday, May 12, Time and Location TBD, The Hebrew Bible Workshop and the Craft of Teaching program will be co-sponsoring a pedagogy workshop with Prof. Christine Hayes of Yale University. More information to come.

Monday, May 25, 4:30-6:00pm (S106) – Chloe Blackshear, PhD student in Comparative Literature, will be presenting her paper entitled “Truly David: A Biblical King and (Some of) His Versions.”

Technology Exchange Round-up

After a successful technology exchange meeting on Feb 11, we have decided to make much of the material shared available to everyone via this blog, as well as a few things that we didn’t have time to share yesterday. Keep checking back periodically; more resources will be added over the coming days and weeks.

Program tutorials:

An overview of Right-to-Left support in Nisus: Nisus basic r-t-l notes

Highlighting, Searching styles & ranges, copying reference lists in Accordance: Highlights, Style, Range, Copy Refs in Accordance

Useful Websites and Links: 

Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East Periodicals list with RSS links: periodicals

Winter 2015 Schedule

Monday, January 12, 4:30-6:0pm (Swift 106): Cathleen Chopra-McGowan, PhD student in Hebrew Bible, will be presenting a paper entitled “The Trees of the Field are not Human” An examination of Deut 20:19-20.”

Wednesday, February 11, 4:30-6:0pm (Swift 106), Technology Exchange: This is a chance for us to share with each other bits of knowledge about useful computer programs for our research. There will be at least four of us presenting on five different programs or aspects of programs: Nisus (a word processor), Accordance, Preview, Bookends, and ArcGIS (an archaeology/mapping program). There may also be some time for informal presentations and discussions about other programs.

Wednesday, February 25, 4:30-6:00pm (Swift 106), Liane Marquis, PhD student in Hebrew Bible, will be presenting a paper entitled “Narrative and Ritual in the Inauguration of the Priestly Tabernacle.”

Monday, March 9, 4:30-6:00pm (Swift 106), Drew Burlingame, PhD student in NELC, will be presenting a paper entitled “A New Reading of the ʿAmmān Citadel Inscription.”

Fall 2014 Schedule

Monday, October 6, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Kelli Gardner, PhD student in Hebrew Bible, will be presenting her paper, “Woman-as-City: A Reversed Trope in the Song of Songs.”

Monday, October 20, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): David Vanderhooft, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Boston College, will be presenting a paper entitled “Ezekiel in Babylon.”

Monday, October 27, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Naphtali Meshel, Assistant Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Princeton University, will be presenting a paper entitled “The Other Grammurs.”

Monday, November 10, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): Matt Richey, PhD student in NELC, will present a paper entitled “Local Northwest Semitic Scripts of the Early Iron Age.”

Wednesday, December 3, 4:30-6:00 (Location TBA): In honor of the recent publication of books by Prof. Jeffrey Stackert (A Prophet Like Moses: Prophecy, Law, and Israelite Religion) and Prof. Simeon Chavel (Oracular Law and Priestly  Historiography in the Torah), the workshop will be hosting a book party. Two students, Nathan Mastnjak, PhD student in NELCand Richard Zaleski, PhD student in New Testament, will offer brief remarks in response to the books, which will be followed by light refreshments and informal conversation.

Spring 2014 Schedule

Tuesday, April 1st, 4:30-6:00 in Swift 106, “Reading Texts for Meaning Across the Divinity School: A Discussion Across the Committees”:  Jeffrey Stackert, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, will begin the discussion with remarks on biblical hermeneutics and then Richard Rosengarten, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature, and Ryan Coyne, Assistant Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology will offer responses from their respective disciplines.  A brief reception will follow.  This event is co-sponsored by the Religion and Literature Club.

Monday, April 7th, 4:30-6:00PM in Swift 106. Jacqueline Vayntrub, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “In the Mouth of Fools: What it means to Speak a Mashal.”

 Monday, April 28th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Charles Huff, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “Divine Repose and Community Outrage: Punishment in P and H.”

Monday, May 19th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 201, Marshall Cunningham, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will present a paper entitled, “Jacob-Israel as Herald: Historical Context and the Rhetoric of Isa 40–48.”

Tuesday, May 27th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Charles Otte III, PhD Candidate in NELC, will present a paper entitled, “Hebrew Roots: Academic Heuristic or Component of Grammar?”

Monday, June 2nd, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 106, Ada Taggar-Cohen, Professor at Doshisha University, will present a paper entitled, “Manifestations of Royal Ideology in Hittite Rituals.”

Monday, June 9th, 4:30-6:00, in Swift 403, Sarah Yardney, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will workshop her in-progress dissertation proposal on textual criticism and the history of interpretation in Samuel.