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 ElsnerDavid 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. Faculty members of the Bible area will provide sample exam bibliographies to students.

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

Sample Courses

  • Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
  • Introduction to New Testament: Texts and Contexts
  • Interpreting the Gospel according to Matthew
  • Law in Biblical Literature
  • Muses and Saints: Poetry and the Christian Imagination
  • The Gospel According to Mark
  • The Pastoral Epistles
  • The Radiant Pearl: Introduction to Syriac Literature and its Historical Contexts
  • The Corinthian Correspondence
  • Science and Scripture: Jewish Philosophical Exegesis in the Middle Ages
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistle of Barnabas
  • Ritual, Cult, and Magic in the Hebrew Bible
  • Race and the Bible
  • The Corpus Hermeticum
  • Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi
  • Debating Christians and Other Adversaries: Greek and Syriac Dialogues in Late Antiquity
  • Early Christian Rhetoric
  • Introduction to Papyrology
  • The Documentary Hypothesis
  • Critical Methods in the Study of the Hebrew Bible
  • The Controversial Apostle (Paul)