Areas of Study and Research
PhD (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
I study the genres, techniques, ideas, and history of the Hebrew Bible; the society, religion and history of ancient Israel and Judea; and their dynamic relationship. My approach integrates archaeology, the ancient Southwest Asian context, early Jewish interpretation, and modern theory. My book Oracular Law and Priestly Historiography in the Torah (Mohr Siebeck, 2014) analyzes the combination of law and narrative in The Priestly History (a Pentateuchal source) through a distinct set of four “oracular novellas.” Current projects include God in the Eyes of Israel: A History of the Religious Imagination in Ancient Israel & Judea, which traces ancient interest in text as an agent of religious experience used to reimagine the lived spheres of family, region, royalty, and nationhood, from the Neo-Assyrian period through the Hellenistic; Coherence, Criticism and the Hebrew Bible, which addresses the definitive Chicago question: biblical criticism is all well and good in practice, but does it work in theory? And an art-historical study of finger-pointing at the gods and related motifs on a wide range of media in the period of the Assyrian empire. Also, I write a blog, The Bible Sleuth, on biblical poetry.
Prof. Chavel also serves on the board of the CEDAR digital humanities project. and is a member of the Core Faculty of The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.