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March 14


Guest Scholar:

Lauren Monroe

Cornell Professor Monroe combines a close reading of geographical details in the biblical texts and a careful study of the archeological record to offer a fresh perspective on the origins of ancient Israel. She hypothesizes that the “Greater Israel” we know from the Bible record actually represents the careful joining of two histories from northern and southern settlements in Tirzah and Jerusalem, respectively.

(The event is in collaboration with Cornell Hillel)

Lauren Monroe; Associate Professor, Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University

Monroe received her PhD in Bible and Ancient Near East from the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. Her teaching interests include Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew at all levels, Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, and Ancient Israelite Religious and Social History. She is particularly interested in the way what it meant to be “Israelite” changed over time, and how such changes are reflected in the stratigraphy of the biblical text and the archaeological tel. She has brought Cornell students with her to excavate at an array of archaeological sites in Israel, including Tel Zayit, Tel Rehov, and Abel Beth Maacah. In her book, Josiah’s Reform and the Dynamics of Defilement: Israelite Rites of Violence and the Making of a Biblical Text (Oxford University Press, 2011) she explored the 7th century BCE religious reforms of the Judean King Josiah, whose rites of violence are a formative moment in the Bible’s representation of the emergence of monotheism. She is currently working on two monographs: one on the emergence of the Bible’s Joseph traditions, and the other on the Song of Deborah and Micro-history. Also, on the horizon is a large-scale research project entitled Tidings From Sheba, which addresses how South Arabian Sabaean inscriptions from Yemen illuminate ancient Israelite society, politics and religion.


This society seeks to gather Cornell faculty and graduate students to discuss major themes in biblical and theological studies. Discussion aims to satisfy what Simone Weil once described as the basic need of the soul to consider “every sort of opinion, without the least restriction or reserve.” To this end, we invite dialogue that explores and even challenges historic orthodox beliefs as well as those ideas that reign in the contemporary church, academy, and culture.

Our dialogue is collegial and cordial without shying away from the hard questions scholars face in their life and work. Members of the group seek to nurture discussion by listening attentively to one another, guarding the length of our responses, and avoiding diversions to pet issues unrelated to the subject at hand. In short, we seek to embody a uniquely Christian form of intellectual hospitality that we can pass on to future generations.

Chesterton House Painting