Professor Sommer will join us for Shabbat morning davening at Temple Beth Israel and give the dvar torah on Parashat Tazria exploring the categories of tumah (impurity) and taharah (purity).
Dr. Benjamin D. Sommer joined the faculty of The Jewish Theological Seminary as professor of Bible in July 2008. Previously, he served as the director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University, where he taught since 1994. Dr. Sommer teaches Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism, and religions of the ancient Near East, specializing in the history of Israelite religion, literary analysis of the Bible, and biblical theology.
Long an active lecturer and scholar-in-residence, Dr. Sommer has taught rabbis, Jewish educators, and laypeople in a variety of settings in the United States and Israel. He has been a visiting faculty member at various institutions, including the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and the University of Chicago.
Dr. Sommer’s book The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2009) received the 2009 Jordan Schnitzer Award from the Association for Jewish Studies for the best book published in the years 2006–2009 in biblical studies, rabbinics, or archaeology. Dr. Sommer is also the editor of the Psalms volumes of the Jewish Publication Society Bible Commentary series. He is working on a book, to be titled Artifact or Scripture? The Jewish Bible Between History and Theology, which will examine whether the Bible, understood as the ancient Near Eastern document it is, can be relevant to modern Jewish thought.
Dr. Sommer holds a PhD in Bible from the University of Chicago, an MA in Near East and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, and a BA in Philosophy and Judaic Studies (summa cum laude, with distinction in both majors) from Yale University.