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.

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).


PGR Students

Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:

  • Jiseung Choi, Post-exilic poetic literature in Yehud, and the 'theology of the poor'
  • Nathan French, The Knowledge of Good and Evil as Covenantal Knowledge: An Analysis of ועץ הדעת טוב ורע and Speech Act Theory
  • Joshua Honeycutt, The Presentation of the Priesthood in the Context of the Twelve Minor Prophets
  • Amber Shadle, Moses the Dreamer: Understanding the Vision of Moses within the Exagoge of Ezekiel the Tragedian
  • Jakub Zbrzeżny, The origin of existing Hebrew and Greek psalters in the light of Jewish, Christian and Muslim literary evidence read against manuscript tradition of the Bible and the Koran – a biblioclastic theory

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

Professor Joachim Schaper

  • Die Textualisierung der Religion (editor) (Forschungen zum Alten Testament 62), Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009.
  • ‘“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.
  • ‘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 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: