Hebrew Bible & Old Testament

The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament subject area is an international and inclusive research community based in Oxford.  The subject area is home to a vibrant and international community where teaching and research focuses on the texts and traditions of the Hebrew Bible, their Ancient Near Eastern, Persian and Hellenistic contexts.  Must attention is also given to Hellenistic Jewish literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, Rabbinic literature, and the Peshitta. Through a wide range of collaborative teaching, lectures and seminars, we bring the study of the Hebrew Bible into conversation with the Humanities and the Social Sciences, especially through the Oriel College Centre for the Study of the Bible. Creativity and collaboration are hallmarks for the intellectual community in Oxford, with a broad range of methods to the study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

Research Centres & Projects

Centre for the Study of the Bible

Lead by Prof Hindy Najman and generously funded by Oriel College and two private philanthropic organisations, the Centre aims to revitalize and enhance the study of the Bible in the University by providing a forum for risk-taking research projects that integrate scriptural traditions – Jewish, Christian and Islamic – into the many disciplines of the Humanities.


Vitality of Judaism: Text, Performance and Magic

Springing from an ongoing book project by Prof Hindy Najman, this planned exhibit at the Ashmolean museum will showcase artefacts like the recently uncovered mosaics of the synagogue of the ancient village of Huqoq. Each display will feature discoveries that have shed new light on the history of ancient Jewish people and their religious and ritual beliefs and behaviours.


The Hebrew Bible and Old Testament community have opportunities to meet at a broad array of seminars. Varying in theme from term to term, the Old Testament seminar and the Early Biblical Interpretation seminar are communal staples. In addition, students can join postholders for an advanced biblical Hebrew reading group – an excellent opportunity to develop fluency and literacy in the language. All these seminars, plus further workshops and lectures are housed within the Centre for the Study of the Bible in Oriel College. Benefitting from the wider life of the college, the Centre provides a vibrant, supportive environment where scholars engage the biblical texts from multiple perspectives.