Newman, Judith

Judith Newman-2021-A-cropped.jpg
College: Emmanuel College
Degrees: PhD (Harvard)
Phone: 416-585-4533
Personal Website:
Teaching Category:
Regular Tenure Stream
Appointment Status:
Basic Degree


I am Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Emmanuel College and hold a joint appointment with the Department for the Study of Religion in the area of early Judaism and a cross-appointment to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. I am also a faculty member of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies within the university. Before joining the faculty in 2005, I taught at the General Theological Seminary (Episcopal) in New York City. I am an ecumenically minded lifelong Episcopalian with a special fondness for the United Church of Canada.

I became interested in the Bible and its interpretation after spending a year after college in Israel-Palestine at Nes Ammim, a Christian moshav shitufi (similar to a kibbutz) founded to improve Jewish-Christian relations in the wake of the Holocaust. While there, I lived with a couple who were emigrant American Christian evangelical millennialists waiting for the Second Coming. I had no idea how they could interpret the Bible so differently from the way I did. This encounter with dispensationalists made me realize that although I had majored in Religion, I had much more to learn about Judaism and Christianity. After two years working at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, I returned to school. I have been happily learning, teaching, writing, and learning some more ever since. I enjoy teaching a diverse range of students at all levels: curious undergraduates without religious commitment, Masters students preparing for Christian or other ministries, and doctoral students who plan to focus on research and teaching. When not teaching, writing, or editing, I love to garden, knit, follow politics, and explore new cities.

  • Specializations

    • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
    • Post-exilic Jewish literature including the Dead Sea Scrolls
    • Hellenistic Judaism
    • Formation and reception of scripture in early Judaism and Christianity
    • Ritual studies
    • Embodied cognition and lived religion
    • The political and cultural consequences of scriptural interpretation
    • Temporalities, eschatology
  • Publications


    • The Routledge Introduction to Judaism Volume I: The Babylonian, Persian, and Greco-Roman Eras: From Judean Defeat to Scribal Triumph (London/NY: Routledge) Under contract.
    • Before the Bible: the Liturgical Body and the Formation of Scripture in Early Judaism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)
    • Gebet Jakobs. (JSHRZ-NF 2.3; Güterloh: Güterlohers Verlaghaus, 2015) (German translation of “Prayer of Jacob” commentary).
    • Editing the Bible: Assessing the Task Past and Present  with John S. Kloppenborg (Resources for Biblical Studies 69; Atlanta, GA/Leiden: SBL/Brill: 2012).
    • Early Jewish Prayers in Greek, co-authored with Pieter van der Horst (Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature, Berlin: Walter DeGruyter, 2008).
    • Revisions with Bernhard W. Anderson and Steven Bishop for a fifth edition of Understanding the Old Testament.  (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006).
    • Editor, with Hindy Najman, The Idea of Biblical Interpretation: Essays in Honor of James L. Kugel. (JSJSup 83; Leiden: Brill, 2004).
    • Praying by the Book: the Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism (SBL Early Judaism and Its Literature 14; Atlanta, GA: Scholars, 1999)


    • “The Bible and American Empire” Oxford Handbook of Postcolonial Biblical Criticism R.S. Sugirtharajah, ed. (New York: Oxford; forthcoming).
    • “The Participatory Past: Resituating Eschatology in the Study of Apocalyptic” Early Christianity 10.4 (2019): 415-434.
    •  “Ritualizing the Text in Early Judaism: Two Examples of Innovation” Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 7 (2018): 449-465 
    •  “Scribal Bodies as Liturgical Bodies: The Formation of Scriptures in Early Judaism,” in Is There a Text in this Cave? Studies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke (Ariel Feldman, Maria Cioatā, and Charlotte Hempel, ed.; STDJ 119; Leiden: Brill, 2017), 83-104.
    • “The Formation of the Scribal Self in Ben Sira,” in“When the Morning Stars Sang”: Essays in Honor of Choon-Leong Seow (Scott C. Jones and Christine Roy Yoder, ed. BZAW 500; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2017), 229-240.
    •  “Hybridity, Hydrology, and Habitus: Sirach 24 and the Diachronic Formation of Judean Cultures,” in Jewish Cultural Encounters in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern World (Mladen Popovic, ed.; JSJSup Leiden: Brill, 2017), 157-176.
    • “Tracing the Use of the Bible in Colonial Land Claims in the Americas” in The Bible in Political Debate: What Does It Really Say? (Frances Flannery and Rodney Werline, ed.; London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 127-140.