The Bible Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is among the leading departments in the world for research in the Hebrew Bible. The Department accepts students at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Research and teaching conducted at the Department represent a wide range of specialties and interests, including linguistic, historical, comparative and literary analysis of the Hebrew Bible, integrating the study of premodern exegesis and recent methods of inquiry. The Department integrates research in the areas of the history of Israel in Antiquity, Semitic languages, ancient Near Eastern cultures and literatures, religious studies and archaeology with critical research of the formation, development, composition and transmission of the texts comprising the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the ancient translations.
The curriculum is based on the in-depth study of the following subjects:
- The written text in its original language(s) and within its historical context; its literary layers, and their stages of composition and transformation into Scripture.
- The history of Biblical religious thought.
- The genres represented in the Biblical literature, their characteristics and style.
- Ancient Near Eastern literature relating to the Bible.
- Traditional commentary of the Bible, with emphasis on Inner-Biblical exegesis, exegesis in the literature of the Second Temple era, and the contribution of medieval Jewish commentators.
The undergraduate program includes introductory courses to these fields of knowledge, which make up modern Biblical research. Early studies also include a course dedicated to close readings in one of the books of the Former Prophets (Joshua–Kings) as well as other electives. At the second stage of their studies, students participate in more advance courses dedicated to additional Biblical books, as well as in research seminars on Biblical literature, religious thought in the Bible, historiography and more. Students may choose from a variety of electives offered by the Department of Bible and by other departments at the Hebrew University.
The Graduate program offers an opportunity to participate in advanced seminars taught by leading scholars in the field. Graduate students are required to study an additional ancient language (generally Greek, Akkadian or Egyptian) and to conduct independent research under the guidance of a senior faculty member at the Bible Department. The MA thesis may engage with either a distinctly Biblical topic, or an inter-disciplinary topic that links Biblical scholarship with another discipline.
The Bible Department also sponsors “The Bible and the Ancient Near East” graduate program at the Rothberg International School (Rothberg International School), taught in English.
The Florence and Philip Dworsky Center for Biblical Research grants a small number of scholarships each year to selected students requiring financial aid.
The department takes part in training its students to teach the Bible, as Biblical studies form part of the curriculum in Jewish schools in Israel and overseas. Excellent students highly committed to the field of education are encouraged to apply to the Revivim program, which trains its graduates to teach Bible in high-schools, and awards them both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.
Department Head: Departmental Office:
Prof. Nili Wazana Ms. Anat Haim Jani
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Room 4603 (Humanities)
The Great Isaiah Scroll – among the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls to be discovered, in 1947.
It is the longest (734 cm) and best preserved of all Biblical scrolls.
The scroll’s fifty-four columns, written in Hebrew, include
The entire book of Isaiah.