Stephen C. Russell

Stephen C. Russell

Assistant Professor of Ancient History
Room number: 
08.65.11 NB

Education

Ph.D. New York University, 2008
Post. Grad. Dip. University of Oxford, 2001
BA University of Pennsylvania, 1996

 

Bio

My research focusses on the Hebrew Bible and the social, political, and legal world that produced it in the first millennium BCE. I read biblical literature in light of archaeological evidence from ancient Israel and literary evidence from other ancient Near Eastern societies. The questions I ask as I read the Bible are shaped by my own experience as a Jamaican and by conversations taking place across the humanities and social sciences about space, place, and power. 

My first book, Images of Egypt in Early Biblical Literature (De Gruyter, 2009), offered a regional paradigm for understanding the development of the biblical traditions about Israel's origins in Egypt. My second book, The King and the Land (Oxford University Press, 2016), maps monarchic production of space and discourse about it in the Iron Age Levant. In Space, Land, Territory and the Study of the Bible (Brill, 2017), I map eight approaches to the study of space and their implications for reading the Bible. I have also published several articles and book chapters on aspects of biblical and ancient Near Eastern law.

Publications

Books

Images of Egypt in Early Biblical Literature: Cisjordan-Israelite, Transjordan-Israelite, and Judahite Portrayals. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 403. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2009. 

The King and the Land: A Geography of Royal Power in the Biblical World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Space, Land, Territory and the Study of the Bible. Leiden: Brill, 2017. (Originally published as Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation 1.4 [2016]: 1–64.)

Edited Volume

“Crime and Punishment in the Bible and the Near East.” Special issue, Near Eastern Archaeology 78.4 (2015).

Journal Articles

“The Legal Background of the Theme of Land in the Book of Joshua.” Hebrew Studies 59 (2018): 111–128.

“Enemies, Lands, and Borders in Biblical Crossing Traditions.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History 4 (2018): 163–176.

“Biblical Jubilee Laws in Light of Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Period Contracts.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 130 (2018): 189–203.

“Space, Land, Territory and the Study of the Bible.” Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation 1.4 (2016): 1–64.

“The Syntax of the Legal Metaphor in Hosea 2:4.” Journal of Semitic Studies 61 (2016): 389–402.

“Gate and Town in 2 Sam 15:1–6: Spatial and Corporate Dimensions of Absalom’s Political Strategy.” Journal of Ancient History 3 (2015): 1–20.

“The Hierarchy of Estates in Land and Naboth’s Vineyard.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 38 (2014): 453–469.

“Ideologies of Attachment in the Story of Naboth’s Vineyard.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 44 (2014): 13–28.

“Abraham’s Purchase of Ephron’s Land in Anthropological Perspective.” Biblical Interpretation 21 (2013): 153–70.

Book Chapters

“Samuel’s Theophany and the Politics of Religious Dreams.” Pages 111–135 in Esther J. Hamori and Jonathan Stökl, eds., Perchance to Dream: Essays on Dream Divination in Biblical and Other Ancient Near Eastern and Early Jewish Sources. Ancient Near Eastern Monographs 21. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2018.

“Religious Space and Structures.” Pages 356–377 in John Barton, ed., The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Companion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

“The Structure of Judicial Administration in the Moses Story.” Pages 317–329 in Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H.C. Propp, eds., Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International, 2015.

Survey Articles

“Temples and Sanctuaries.” In Christopher Matthews, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

“Biblical Law in the Hebrew Bible.” In Christopher Matthews, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Exodus as a Theme.” In Naomi Seidman, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Book Reviews

Review of Elaine T. James, Landscapes of the Song of Songs: Poetry and Place. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Review of Biblical Literature (2018). <https://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/11758_13117.pdf>

Review of Nili Wazana, All the Boundaries of the Land: The Promised Land in Biblical Thought in Light of the Ancient Near East. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013. Journal of Religion 95 (2015): 389–391.

Review of Jeffrey L. Cooley, Poetic Astronomy in the Ancient Near East: The Reflexes of Celestial Science in Ancient Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, and Israelite Narrative. HACL 5. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013. Review of Biblical Literature (2015). 

Review of Anne Marie Kitz, Cursed Are You! The Phenomenology of Cursing in Cuneiform and Hebrew Texts. Winona Lake, Ind: Eisenbrauns, 2014. Review of Biblical Literature (2015). 

Review of Thomas Petter, The Land between the Two Rivers: Early Israelite Identities in Transjordan. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2014. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 14 (2014). 

Review of A. Graem Auld, I & II Samuel. Old Testament Library. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011. Scottish Journal of Theology 67 (2014): 236–238.

Review of Benjamin D. Sommer, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Scottish Journal of Theology 66 (2013): 483–485.

Review of Koowon Kim, Incubation as a Type-Scene in the Aqhatu, Kirta, and Hannah Stories: A Form-Critical and Narratological Study of KTU 1.14 I–1.15 III, 1.17 I–II, and 1 Samuel 1:1–2:11. VTSup 145. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 13 (2013). 

Review of David Miano, Shadow on the Steps: Time Measurement in Ancient Israel. SBL Resources for Biblical Study 64. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010. Journal of the American Oriental Society 133 (2013): 30–31.

Review of Yair Lorberbaum, Disempowered King: Monarchy in Classical Jewish Literature. New York: Continuum, 2011. Biblical Interpretation 20 (2012): 489–90.

 

Research

Competetive Conference Papers

“Leviticus 25 in Light of Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Contracts.”
     Annual Meeting: Economics in the Biblical World Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2017

“Agrarian Ideology in the Book of Conquest.”
     Annual Meeting: Hebrew Scripture and Cognate Literature Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2016

“The Foreign Architecture of Solomon’s Temple in Anthropological Perspective.”
     Annual Meeting: Hebrew Bible, History, and Archaeology Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2013

“Naboth’s Vineyard and Max Gluckman’s Hierarchy of Estates in Land.”
     Annual Meeting: Biblical Law Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2012

“Remembered Spaces of Judgment and Absalom’s Political Strategy (2 Sam 15:2–6).”
     Annual Meeting: Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2012

“The House of Jehu and Tribal Notions of Land.”
     Annual Meeting: Social Sciences and the Interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2011

“The Spatial Fix in the Development of Biblical Monotheism.”
     Annual Meeting: Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2010

“The Narrative Significance of Samuel’s House Burial in 1 Sam 25:1.”
     Annual Meeting: Reading, Theory, and the Bible Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2010

“The Assembly of Yahweh’s People: Judahite Pilgrimage and Israelite Muster.”
     Annual Conference: Hebrew Bible Division
     Association of Jewish Studies, December 2009

“The Imagined Landscape of the Bethel Sanctuary.”
     Annual Meeting: Book of the Twelve Prophets Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2009

“The Mythological and Military Background of the Root ‘BR in Exod 15:16.” 
     Annual Meeting: Hebrew Scriptures and Cognate Literature Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2008

Invited Conference, Symposium, and Colloquium Papers

“The Legal Background of the Theme of Land in the Book of Joshua.”
     Bible Seminar
     Columbia University, February 2017

“Enemies, Lands, and Borders in Biblical Crossing Traditions.”
     Hic Sunt Dracones: Creating, Defining, and Abstracting Place in the Ancient World
     Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
    
 New York University, October 2016

“The Hierarchy of Estates in Land in the Book of Joshua.”
     Annual Meeting: Joshua–Judges Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2015

“Absalom’s Gate.”
     Jewish Studies Speaker Series
     Jewish Studies Department
     Tulane University, October 2015

“Land Rights in the Story of Naboth’s Vineyard.”
     Law, Crime, and Human Rights in Global History: Celebrating John Jay College’s Fiftieth Anniversary
     History Department
     John Jay College, cuny, March 2015

“The Politics of Gates and Towns in the Ancient Levant.” 
     Near Eastern Studies Departmental Colloquium
     Cornell University, December 2013

“What do the Bible and Wikipedia Have in Common?”
    Jewish Studies Program Lecture Series
     Temple University, November 2013

“Samuel’s Theophany in its Ancient Context.” 
     Annual Meeting: Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts Section
     Society of Biblical Literature, November 2013

“Sources of Judicial Authority in the Moses Story.” 
     Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus between Text and Memory, History and Imagination
     University of California, San Diego, June 2013

“Abraham’s Purchase of Ephron’s Land.”
    Bible Seminar
     Columbia University, December 2012

“The House of Jehu and Naboth’s Ancestral Land (1 Kgs 21).”
     Old Testament Research Colloquium
     Princeton Theological Seminary, March 2012

“Judahite Pilgrimage and Israelite Wartime Assembly in 1 Kings 8.”
     Memory and Identity Working Group
     Near Eastern Studies Department
     University of California, Berkeley, March 2011

“Beyond Sacred Space: A Geography of Power in the Hebrew Bible.”
     Jewish Studies Working Group
     Graduate Theological Union, January 2011

“Jeroboam’s Calves and Early Israelite Traditions about Egypt.”
     Symposium on the Golden Calf Stories
     Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
     New York University, October 2007

 

Course taught

“Honors Seminar: The Idea of the Common Good Across Disciplines.” Spring 2018
“Senior Thesis in Humanities and Justice Studies.” Spring 2018
“Senior Seminar in History.” Fall 2017
“Reading Scholarship in Humanities and Justice.” Fall 2017
“Research Methods in History.” Spring 2017
“Justice in the Western Traditions.” Spring 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019
“Historiography.” Fall 2016
“Microhistories: David, King of Judah.” Fall 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2018
“Law and Society in the Ancient Near East.” Spring 2015
“Microhistories: Sennacherib, King of Assyria.” Spring 2015, Spring 2015, Spring 2015
“Warfare in the Ancient Near East and Egypt.” Fall 2015, Fall 2014
“Microhistories: Ancient Jerusalem.” Fall 2014, Fall 2014