Areas of Study and Research
PhD (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Simeon Chavel is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He studies the genres, techniques, ideas, and history of the Hebrew Bible; the society, religion and history of ancient Israel and Judea; and their dynamic interrelationship. His approach draws on the ancient Near Eastern context, early Jewish interpretation, and modern theory. His 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.” A book nearing completion, God in the Eyes of Israel: A History of the Religious Imagination in Ancient Israel & Judea, traces ancient interest in text as an agent of religious experience that reconfigures the lived spheres of family, region, royalty, and nationhood, from the Neo-Assyrian period through the Hellenistic. Another getting underway, The Voice of Biblical Composition and the Composition of Biblical Voice, will describe how the framing voice of a literary work determines its genre, coherence, and meaning, and can be used to assess the compositional integrity or composite nature of works in the Hebrew Bible.
Prof. Chavel is associated faculty in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations as well as the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; in addition he serves on the board of the CEDAR digital humanities project and the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies.