Foundation for Jewish Studies Speakers

Benjamin Sommer

Dr. Benjamin Sommer

Dr. Benjamin Sommer is Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously, he was the director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University. He has been a visiting faculty member at the Hebrew University, Shalom Hartman Institute and the University of Chicago. Dr. Sommer received a B.A. from Yale University, a M.A. from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago.

Dr. Sommer's research focuses on the history of Israelite religion, literary analysis of the Bible, and biblical theology. An overarching concern of his scholarship involves the close and manifold relationships between biblical thought and later Jewish theology.

Dr. Sommer serves as the editor of the Psalms commentary to be published by the Jewish Publication Society Bible and is writing the first volume of that five-volume set. 

He is also the author of four books:

  • The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, recipient of the Jordan Schnitzer Award from the Association for Jewish Studies for the best book in Bible, Rabbinics, or Archeology published in 2006-2009, and also the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion from the American Academy of Religion, as one of the four best books in religious studies published in 2009.
  • A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40-66, recipient of the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize by the American Academy for Jewish Research for the best first book on ancient Judaism published in 1998.

  • Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, described in Publishers Weekly as "groundbreaking work . . . Clearly written and broad in application . . . an important read for Jewish laypeople, clergy, and scholars," and in Haaretz as "a synthesis of intellectual acuity, clarity, deep knowledge of classical Jewish texts throughout the generations along with contemporary Christian theology and ancient Near Eastern literature...Sommer is a traditionalist and yet an iconoclast - he shatters idols and prejudices in order to nurture Jewish tradition and its applicability today."

  • Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction, described by Religious Studies Review as providing "a helpful way to examine the history of Judaism by allowing the reader to follow a single topic as it undergoes change and constant refinement . . .  [recommended for] a wide audience."

The Online Learning below is from Dr. Sommer's previous teaching with the Foundation.

Online Learning for this Speaker

Bodies of God - Text
Bodies of God: Part II - Audio
Bodies of God: Part I - Audio
Bodies of God: Part IV - Audio
Bodies of God: Part III - Audio

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