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Cambridge Forum for Jewish Studies



Areas of Research Interest:

Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
Scribal Culture
The Book of Ben Sira
Second Temple Judaism
Dead Sea Scrolls
Second Temple Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

Doctoral Research

Thesis title: Scribal Culture in Ben Sira (Sir 38:1-15; 41:1-15; 43:11-19; 44-50)

My doctoral thesis investigates elements of scribal culture within Ben Sira and then compares the data with wider scribal culture in order to offer greater historical context for Ben Sira's text, to characterize Ben Sira's individual scribalism, and to offer new insights into Ben Sira. I use a data-oriented methodology and aim to avoid the ambiguity of terms such as influence, parallel, and impact. My thesis demonstrates the multiple layers of scribal culture and characterization of individual scribal culture, and responds to issues of ancient compositional limitations such as multiple text use, material culture of reading and writing, harmonization, and the role of memory. I conclude that this information tells us more about how Ben Sira was written.


Key publications: 


  • Scribal Culture in Ben Sira (Sir 38:1-15; 41:1-15; 43:11-19; 44-50), JSJ Supplements, Leiden: Brill, under review

Journal Articles

  • ‘The Qumran Psalms Scroll Debate and Ben Sira: Considering the Evidence of Textual Reuse in Sir 43:11-19,’ Dead Sea Discoveries 23:1 (2016), 27-50
  • ‘Balsam, Bitumen, and Soap: Herodian Medicine Production and Jewish-Roman Trade,’ submitted to a peer-reviewed journal
  • ‘Beyond Eulogy or Encomium: Simon the High Priest as Ben Sira’s Patron,’ submitted to a peer-reviewed journal

Book Chapters

  • ‘Scribal Culture and Scholarship in Ancient Egypt and Early Hellenistic Judaism,’ Proceedings Volume of Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies, Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies ‘Israel in Egypt,’ under review in September
  • ‘What Did Ben Sira’s Bible and Desk Look Like?’ in Proceedings Volume, University of St Andrews 2014 Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies: Readers and Their Texts, Leiden: Brill, forthcoming
Other publications: 

Encyclopaedia Articles

  • ‘Lice (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament),’ Encyclopedia of the Bible & Its Reception (De Gruyter), in preparation

  • ‘Judah, Son of Jacob (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible),’ Encyclopedia of the Bible & Its Reception (De Gruyter), forthcoming

Book reviews

  • The True Herod, Geza Vermes, London: Bloomsbury, 2014. (ISBN 9780567575449), xxv + 181 pp., hb £20,’ Reviews in Religion & Theology, forthcoming
  • Transforming Visions: Transformations of Text, Tradition, and Theology in Ezekiel. Edited by William A. Tooman and Michael A. Lyons. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co, 2010,’ Reviews in Religion & Theology 21:3 (2014), 405-07
  • ‘Karin Hedner Zetterholm, Jewish Interpretation of the Bible: Ancient and Contemporary. xiv + 210 pp. Fortress Press, Minneapolis MN, 2012,’ Vetus Testamentum 63:3 (2013), 513
  • ‘Matthias Henze (ed.), A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism. xv + 568 pp. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI; Cambridge, 2012,’ Vetus Testamentum 63:2 (2013), 341-42
  • Second Temple Studies IV: Historiography and History, Alice Hunt (ed.), T&T Clark, 2012,’ Reviews in Religion & Theology 20:3 (2013), 432-34
  • Dust or Dew: Immortality in the Ancient Near East and in Psalm 49, Janet Smith, James   Clarke, 2012,’ Reviews in Religion & Theology 20:2 (2013), 318-21

Online Publications

  • Dead Sea Scrolls teaching and learning materials for A-Level students for My HE+ at (March 2015)
  • ‘The Faith-Spangled Banner: Changes in American Attitudes and Belief in All Directions,’ The Religious Studies Project, (June 2012), short link to article:
  • Numerous historical bibliography blog articles for Queens’ College Old Library Books Blog, (2012-16)
PhD in Divinity
Supervisor for Theology & Religious Studies Tripos
Recent Polonsky Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow (Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies, Oxford) - 2016
Invited Lecturer for B3 Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period paper
Dr Lindsey Arielle Askin
Not available for consultancy


Collaborator profiles: 
Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
Graeco-Roman World
Old Testament
Hebrew Language
Wisdom Literature
Biblical Interpretation
Biblical Hebrew