Ethan Schwartz—“Rethinking the Comparative Study of Biblical and Ancient Mediterranean Prophecy.”

Dear colleagues,

It is my pleasure to invite you our next event, which will take place on Monday, Nov. 5, in Swift 201. Ethan Schwartz, who is a PhD Candidate in Hebrew Bible at Harvard University, will be presenting his dissertation prospectus: Rethinking the Comparative Study of Biblical and Ancient Mediterranean Prophecy.

Here is the abstract of Ethan’s project:

The contextualization of biblical prophecy against the backdrop of ancient Mediterranean divination is one of the liveliest comparative enterprises in biblical studies today. Many aspects of the Latter Prophets in particular have been shown to have remarkable nonbiblical analogues. However, there is one such aspect that has largely eluded this comparison: the prophets’ critique of established authority on behalf of (what they claim to be) God’s true demands of Israel. This is a significant lacuna because this critique of authority is not just one aspect among many but rather a centrally thematized, orienting idea—so much so that scholars, theologians, and laypeople alike often reflexively use the word “prophetic” as a shorthand for principled opposition to illegitimate authority. Amidst so much continuity between biblical and ancient Mediterranean prophecy, what are we to make of this striking discontinuity? In this presentation, which is an overview of my in-progress dissertation, I argue that it actually stems from a larger incongruence between the two corpora: the biblical prophetic texts have been thoroughgoingly shaped into literature in a way that their nonbiblical counterparts have not been. The prophetic critique of authority must be understood as part of a multifaceted literary project. In light of this, I suggest a new avenue for comparative analysis that offers better prospects for understanding the Latter Prophets’ critique of authority within their ancient Mediterranean context.

We hope to see you all then.


Aslan Cohen Mizrahi.


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The Job Market for Bible: Two Recent Successes

Monday, October 15, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, Swift 208

On October 15th, the Hebrew Bible Workshop, the Early Christian Studies Workshop, and the Craft of Teaching will be co-sponsoring an event that will offer a unique, field-specific perspective on the job market. The panel will bring together two DivSchool Professors with two former advisees who have recently been hired as Faculty in institutions of higher learning. On the Hebrew Bible side, Professor Simeon Chavel will be speaking with his former student, Prof. Jacqueline Vayntrub, who received a PhD in Northwest Semitic Philology from UChicago in 2015 and is now serving as Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. As for Early Christianity, Professor Margaret M. Mitchell will be speaking with her former advisee, Prof. Allison Gray, who graduated from her PhD in New Testament and Early Christian Literature in 2016, and is now Assistant Professor of Theology at St. Mary’s University. Together, the panelists represent two field-specific examples of an advisor/advisee relationship that contributed to the latter’s success in the job market. The aim of this session is for the panelists to discuss the main challenges and lessons from their experiences together. To that end, each participant will answer common questions from her own perspective, expecting that sometimes their perspectives on the same issues may not match.

Fall 2018 Schedule.

We are very proud to announce our calendar of events for the fall quarter of 2018. You may download the calendar here.
  • Thursday, October 11, 17:00-18:30, Swift 106: Professor Jennie Grillo, “Sages Standing in God’s Holy Fire”: Reading for Martyrdom in Greek Daniel.
  • Monday, October 15, 17:00-18:30, Swift 208. The Job Market for Bible: Two Recent Successes. A conversation on the academic job market with Professors Margaret Mitchell, Simeon Chavel, Allison Gray and Jacqueline Vayntrub (moderated by Prof. Jeffrey Stackert). Co-sponsored by the HB and ECS Workshops, and The Craft of Teaching.
  • Monday, November 5, 17:00-18:30, Swift 201: Ethan Schwartz, Rethinking the Comparative Study of Biblical and Ancient Mediterranean Prophecy.
  • Monday, November 12, 17:00-18:30, Swift 201:Matthew Susnow, House of the Deity: A Perspective from Bronze Age Canaan.
  • Monday, November 26, 17:00-18:30, Swift 201: Justin Moses, The Meaning of אות in Exodus 3:12.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns, suggestions, or questions.


Looking forward to seeing everyone!
Aslan Cohen Mizrahi.