Professor of Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages
The Jewish Theological Seminary
Benjamin Sommer is Professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Previously he was Director of the Crown Family Center for Jewish Studies at Northwestern University. He has been a visiting faculty member at Hebrew University, the Shalom Hartman Institute, the University of Chicago, and Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University, and a Fellow of the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at the New York University Law School, the Yad Hanadiv Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has described Sommer as “a traditionalist and yet an iconoclast – he shatters idols and prejudices in order to nurture Jewish tradition and its applicability today” and characterized his thought 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.”
His most recent book, Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition, was awarded the Goldstein-Goren Prize in Jewish thought for 2014–2016 and was named a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and the Jordan Schnitzer Prize of the Association for Jewish Studies. Publishers Weekly selected the book as a recommended book in religion, describing it as a “groundbreaking work . . . clearly written and broad in application.” His book, The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel, received the Jordan Schnitzer Prize as well as the book prize in textual studies from the American Academy of Religion. His first book, A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40–66, received the Salo Wittmayer Baron Prize from the AAJR.
Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition (The Anchor Bible Reference Library; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015)
The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
A Prophet Reads Scripture: Allusion in Isaiah 40-66 (Contraversions; Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998)
Yehezkel Kaufmann and the Reinvention of Jewish Exegesis of the Bible, co-edited with Thomas Staubli and Job Jindo (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis; Freiburg and Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Freiburg and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017)
Jewish Concepts of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 2012)