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Theodore J. Lewis

Blum-Iwry Professor of Near Eastern Studies

Department of Near Eastern Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Gilman 124
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Telephone:  (410) 516-6791


Academic Background:

Ph.D. 1986 Harvard University, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
1980 Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Visiting year as an ITT International Fellow
M.A. 1979 University of Wisconsin--Madison, Hebrew and Semitic Studies
B.A. 1978 University of Wisconsin--Madison, Hebrew and Semitic Studies


Research Interests: Hebrew Bible, Northwest Semitics (esp. Ugaritic and Aramaic)


Theodore J. Lewis holds the Blum-Iwry Professorship in Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is a Semitist, a Hebrew Bible scholar, and a historian of religion. Lewis received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as an ITT Fellow. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins he taught at Harvard University and the University of Georgia. 


Lewis is an academic trustee of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.  He is General Editor of the book series Writings from the Ancient World with 17 volumes under his editorship and another 23 in preparation. He is past editor of the journals Near Eastern Archaeology and Hebrew Annual Review. He is the author of Cults of the Dead in Ancient Israel and Ugarit, and co-author of Ugaritic Narrative Poetry. He has co-edited (with Gary Beckman) Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion for the Brown Judaic Studies series.


His articles have appeared in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental ResearchJournal of the American Oriental Society, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, and Vetus Testamentum.  He is currently writing The Religion of Ancient Israel for the Yale Anchor Bible Reference Library series for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a volume on Archaic Aramaic Texts


Lewis’s research focuses on the religions of ancient Israel and Syria. In addition to the texts of the Hebrew Bible, he works with alphabetic cuneiform texts from Ugarit (Syria), our most important archival material for understanding the religion of the Late Bronze Age Levantine world.

Lewis concentrates his work on two core issues: (a) understanding the Hebrew Bible as an ancient Near Eastern text, and (b) studying Israelite and Syrian religion through both text and archaeology. His recent research has found him writing on a variety of topics ranging from Assyrian war crimes to Zerubbabel's failed bid to be the messiah of Israel, not to mention family religion, royal icons of power and persuasion, blood rituals in ancient treaties, the iconography of the gods, and incantations thought by the ancients to ward off evil.

Curriculum Vitae

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