The Bible area seeks to understand and interpret the Jewish and Christian scriptures and related texts in their historical and cultural settings as well as in their subsequent roles as canonical texts for Judaism and Christianity. Contributing to these goals are four interrelated areas of research: the historical contexts of these scriptures from ancient Israel to the Roman empire, the history and transmission of biblical and post-biblical literature, the history and methods of exegesis, and biblical and post-biblical theology.  

Faculty: Simeon ChavelJas ElsnerMichael FishbaneDavid MartinezMargaret M. MitchellJeffrey Stackert, Erin Galgay Walsh

Associated Faculty: J. David Schloen, Sofia Torallas Tovar

Students in the Bible Area choose one of four concentrations for their academic program in research and teaching: 1. Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East;  2. Hebrew Bible  and Early Jewish Literature; 3. Jewish and Christian Bible; and 4. New Testament and Early Christian Literature.

Progress Conference format

The progress (or pre-exam) conference is normally held in the spring quarter of the second year, or the fall of the third year.  In Bible, the progress conference is held with the student's panel of examiners for the qualifying examinations, and will normally include assessment of coursework to date, cogency of the course of study petition, readiness for qualifying examinations, and development of the dissertation project. A report from the advisor and a timeline for the qualifying examinations is submitted to the Dean of Students following the conference. 

Written Examinations

The Bible Area offers six examinations:

1: History and Religion of Israel and its Ancient Near Eastern Setting
2: Literature of Israel and its Ancient Near Eastern Setting
3. Christian Origins
4. New Testament and Related Texts
5. Special field for Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East
​6. Special field for New Testament and Early Christian Literature

Exams 1 and 2 (PDF)
Exams 3 and 4 (PDF)

Complete area guidelines

Sample Courses

  • BIBL 30601 Introduction to Judaic Civilization. Robinson
  • BIBL 31000 Jewish History and Society: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Chavel
  • BIBL 31300 Greek Tragedy. Asmis
  • BIBL 31800 Family Matters in Ancient Israel. Chavel
  • BIBL 32500 Introduction to New Testament: Texts and Contexts. Mitchell 
  • BIBL 32700 Law in Biblical Literature. Chavel
  • BIBL 36300 Plutarch: Isis and Osiris. Martinez
  • BIBL 39900 Song of Songs. Fishbane
  • BIBL 41000 Amos. Stackert
  • BIBL 41801 Justin Martyr. Martinez
  • BIBL 42000 The Gospel According to Mark. Mitchell
  • BIBL 42010 Ancient Sexualities and Early Christianity. Jay
  • BIBL 42100 The Thessalonian Letters. Mitchell
  • BIBL 42400 Isaiah 40-66: Babylon and Yehud. Chavel
  • BIBL 43200 Colloquium: Ancient Christianity. Mitchell
  • BIBL 43400 Science and Scripture: Jewish Philosophical Exegesis in the Middle Ages. Robinson
  • BIBL 43501 The Question of Jewish Intellectual Culture. Fishbane
  • BIBL 43600 The Pastoral Epistles. Mitchell
  • BIBL 43801 Ritual, Cult, and Magic in the Hebrew Bible. Stackert
  • BIBL 43900 I Corinthians. Mitchell
  • BIBL 44400 Lucian of Samosata. Martinez
  • BIBL 44500 Philo of Alexandria. Martinez
  • BIBL 45200 Studies in Midrash: Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer. Fishbane
  • BIBL 45500 The Bible and Its Ancient Interpreters. Fishbane
  • BIBL 45700 Studies in Midrash: Leviticus Rabba. Fishbane
  • BIBL 46400 Israelite Love Lyrics: the Song of Songs. Chavel
  • BIBL 46900 Wrath of God in the Hebrew Bible. Fishbane
  • BIBL 47200 Reconsidering Patristic Biblical Interpretation. Mitchell
  • BIBL 50400 Early Christian Rhetoric. Mitchell
  • BIBL 50805 Textual Knowledge and Authority: Biblical and Chinese Literature. Chavel/Saussy
  • BIBL 51000 Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds. Martinez
  • BIBL 51401 The Documentary Hypothesis. Stackert