Cathleen Kavita Chopra-McGowan

Junior Fellow
I hope to present two chapters of my dissertation in the Marty Seminar this year, My study examines the literary construction of the “event” of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians in the sixth century BCE and aims to show that despite scholarly efforts at reconstructing "what really happened" during the siege and in its aftermath, what we have in the Hebrew Bible are highly subjective, ideological presentations that each reflect the particular view of their authors and as a result, there is no single “event” but rather only after the fact representations. In my dissertation, I study three texts–Lamentations, Ezekiel, and the end of Kings– that each purport to describe the destruction of Jerusalem, but do so with widely divergent accounts, ideologies, and goals. Each telling competes with another, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, to be the “authoritative” account to form the memory of what happened.  
I am excited to be a Marty Fellow, both for the chance to share my own work with an audience beyond Hebrew Bible and for the chance to learn about other fellows’ research and writing processes. I look forward to being challenged and motivated by my colleagues and to spending the time delving deeply into each other's work. Some of my most fruitful questions have developed out of conversations with my classmates and professors at the Divinity School, and I am excited to continue and expand such inquiry through the Marty fellowship.