Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
PhD (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Most of the time, Professor Chavel is drawn to the religious imagination of ancient Israel, keen to revivify its ideas, modes of expression, history, and relationship to social structures. Often, he finds himself pulled to literary questions of genre, rhetoric and poetics in the Hebrew Bible. Sometimes, he ventures off into the relationship between history and forms of historiography. In all cases, he tends to keep one eye trained broadly on ancient Near Eastern culture and another trained more acutely on composition history (a.k.a. "source criticism"), manuscript history ("textual criticism") and interpretation (especially rabbinic). One example of his interdisciplinary style is his article, "The Face of God and the Etiquette of Eye-Contact: Visitation, Pilgrimage, and Prophetic Vision in Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish Imagination," published in Jewish Studies Quarterly 19 (2012). Currently, he is completing his first book, Oracular Law and Narrative History: The Priestly Literature of the Pentateuch (to be published by Mohr Siebeck), on a type of short story about law and legislation — the "oracular novella" — and its significance for priestly literature in particular and biblical historiography in general. A concentrated version of it appeared with the title "'Oracular Novellae' and Biblical Historiography — Through the Lens of Law and Narrative," in Clio 39 (2009).
On campus, Professor Chavel enjoys bringing scholarship on the Hebrew Bible into fruitful contact with other areas of research and enriching student exposure to the field and the figures active in it. He has presented at some conferences and lecture series held at the University and arranged others.