Old Testament Studies

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Divinity at the University of Aberdeen was ranked 1st in the UK for overall quality of research

Old Testament Studies

The Old Testament has been taught at the University of Aberdeen since its inception in the fifteenth century. In 1673, a professorial Chair of Hebrew and Semitic Languages was founded in order to provide a permanent, solid basis for the study of the Old Testament and neighbouring fields with the requisite philological and historical rigour.

Click the tabs below for more information on what Aberdeen has to offer by way of research expertise and doctoral supervision, how to apply, and what students can expect when studying with us.

Old Testament Studies in Aberdeen

Staff in this area teach across a wide range of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and related ancient Near Eastern topics. A special feature of Old Testament studies at the University of Aberdeen is the attention that is given, both in research and teaching, to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, and related writings.


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Old Testament Studies at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Professor Joachim Schaper: Supervision can be offered in: the field of the study of Deuteronomy, with special attention to the interaction between Deuteronomy and (other) legal texts in the Hebrew Bible, on the one hand, and to the place of Deuteronomy in the development of Israelite religion, and especially the rise of monotheism from the seventh century BC onwards, on the other; the history of the Hebrew language from its beginnings to the Hellenistic period, with a special view to classical Hebrew poetry; subjects related to the Minor Prophets, especially on Haggai and Zechariah 1-8, as well as Trito-Isaiah, and on the parallels (or lack thereof) between Israelite and Neo-Assyrian prophecy; any area of the history of ancient Israel and Judah, especially the late pre-exilic and the Persian periods; any aspect of the theology and literary history of the Pentateuch, with a special interest in the role Deuteronomy played in that history; any aspect of the Greek Bible, and especially on the Pentateuch and the Old Greek Psalter.

Dr Nathaniel Greene: Supervision can be offered in: Northwest Semitic languages and literatures broadly conceived (but especially those of the Levantine Iron Age through to the early Roman period and including Aramaic, Ugaritic, and Canaanite Dialects), West Semitic scribal praxis, the Deuteronomistic History—especially studies focusing on the Book of Samuel and its compositional history, complimentary studies within Hebrew Bible that bring together both textual and archaeological remains of the ancient Near East, the social and political history of ancient Israel, and archaic state formation.

Dr Jakub Zbrzeżny: Supervision can be offered in: textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible and its versions (Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic), the First Book of Maccabees and its reception, sacrifice in Second Temple Judaism, Jewish traditions in the Christianity of Late Antiquity and early Islamic period, Palestinian Arabic dialects and culture as vehicles for understanding the Bible, and, as a co-supervisor for projects involving computer scientists, application of machine learning to Semitic languages. 


Affiliated staff

Dr Sam Newington: Supervision can be offered in the field of ancient Greek religion with particular focus on comparisons with Biblical and Near Eastern traditions (creation narratives especially).



The following are some selected publications relating to Old Testament Studies by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Professor Joachim Schaper

  • Media and Monotheism: Presence, Representation, and Abstraction in Ancient Judah. Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 33. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019.
  • ‘“Real Abstraction” and the Origins of Intellectual Abstraction in Ancient Mesopotamia: Ancient Economic History as a Key to the Understanding and Evaluation of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value’, in a volume commemorating Peter Damerow, edited by M. Schemmel, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin, 2017.
  • The New Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. I (co-editor, with J. Carleton Paget): From the Beginnings to 600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, 979 pp.
  • ‘The Question of a “Biblical Theology” and the Growing Tension between “Biblical Theology” and a “History of the Religion of Israel” from Johann Philipp Gabler to Rudolf Smend, Sen.’, in: M. Saebo, P. Machinist and J. L. Ska (eds.), Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012, pp. 625-650.
  • Die Textualisierung der Religion (editor) (Forschungen zum Alten Testament 62), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
  • ‘The Written Word Engraved in Stone: The Interrelationship of the Oral and the Written and the Culture of Memory in Deuteronomy and Joshua’, in: S. C. Barton, L. T. Stuckenbruck and B. G. Wold (eds.), Memory in the Bible and Antiquity (WUNT/I), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007, pp. 9-23.

Dr Nathaniel Greene

  • Warlord and Scribe: The Nascent Israelite State beneath Its Textual Veneers. State College, PA: Eisenbrauns. Forthcoming.
  • “The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov: A Palaeographic Test Case.” In The Ancient Israelite World. Ed. George Pierce and Kyle Keimer. Routledge. Forthcoming.
  • “The Rhetorical Force of the Divine Feminine: An Assessment of the Feminine Imagery of Yahweh in Deutero-Isaiah.” Under review with Catholic Biblical Quarterly.
  • “Saul.” SBL Bible Odyssey. 2020. Available online: https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/main-articles/saul
  • “Creation, Destruction, and a Psalmist’s Plea: Re-thinking the Poetic Structure of Psalm 74.” JBL 136.1 (2017): 85–101.
  • “The Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl: New Images and Old Readings,” BASOR 377 (2017): 1–9.
  • With Jeremy M. Hutton. “A New Reading of the Latin–Aramaic Neses Bilingual (PAT 0994), Aramaic Line 2.” Analele Banatului.
  • With Eleonora Cussini, Maura K. Heyn, Jeremy M. Hutton, and Catherine Bonesho. “The Harvard Semitic Museum Palmyrene Collection.” BASOR 380 (2018): 231–46.
  • With Jeremy M. Hutton. “A Note on the Aramaic Text of the Bilingual Guras Inscription (PAT 0251 = CIL III 3.7999 = CIS 3906).” Dacia 60 (2016 [appeared Sept., 2017]): 293–300.
  • With Heather D. D. Parker, and Ashley Fiutko Arico. “Ancient Near Eastern Material Culture Studies and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).” Pages 61–8 in The Future of the Past: From Amphipolis to Mosul, New Approaches to Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ed. Konstantinos Chalikias, Maggie Beeler, Ariel Pearce, and Steve Renette. Available online: https://www.archaeological.org/news/sitepreservationhcaspecialpubs/21700.
  • With Heather D. D. Parker. “Field of View: Northwest Semitic Palaeography and Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).” Pages 209–39 in Epigraphy, Philology & The Hebrew Bible: Methodological Perspectives on Philological & Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible in Honor of Jo Ann Hackett. Ed. Jeremy M. Hutton and Aaron D. Rubin. Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2015.
  • With Maura K. Heyn, and Jeremy M. Hutton. “A Re-edition of PAT 738 (CIS 4379).” Maarav 19.1 (2012), [appeared January, 2014]: 91–115.

Dr Jazub Zbrzezny

  • Biblioclasm and the Scriptures: An Investigation of the Phenomena. FRLNT, Vol. 285. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Forthcoming [2024]. 
  • With Duchovny, D., Eisenstein, N., Gottlieb, L., Ratzon, E., “A computational analysis of the special Talmudic Tractates,” Journal of Jewish Studies. [Forthcoming]. 
  • “Liber Orationum Psalmographus: Nieobecne Dzieło Reformy Soborowej” [= “Liber Orationum Psalmographus: The Missing Piece of the Conciliar Reform”], Warszawskie Studia Teologiczne 23.2 (2010): 169–80. [Polish]
  • With Sobotka, P., “Litania do Najświętszej Maryi Panny przyjęta przez Zakon Kaznodziejów” [= “The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary Adopted by the Order of Preachers”], Prace Filologiczne 52 (2007): 301–38. [Polish]

Dr Sam Newington

  • Stuckenbruck, L.T., Lewis, S. & Newington, S. (eds), Animals and Monsters in Ancient Religion and Culture (Oxford: Taylor and Francis Group, forthcoming 2017)

Some helpful links for further information and resources in Old Testament Studies include: