Duke University

Marc Brettler

Marc Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. He has taught at Brandeis University, Yale University, Brown University, Wellesley College and Middlebury College. He has also taught in various adult Jewish education settings, including the Wexner Heritage Program, the innovative Meah program in Boston, and has served as scholar-in-residence for the Foundation for Jewish Studies in Washington DC. He is actively involved in many aspects of Jewish communal life, and has served on the board of Boston’s Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center and Gann Academy’s the New Jewish High School.

A graduate of Brandeis University, he has published and lectured widely on metaphor and the Bible, the nature of biblical historical texts, and gender issues and the Bible.

He is co-editor of the Jewish Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 2004 (second edition, 2014).  That book has won a National Jewish Book Award, as was called “a masterpiece” in a review in the Times Literary Supplement. Most recently, he published How to Read the Bible (Jewish Publication Society), which has been called “an eye-opening journey through a familiar text, a fresh look at an old story,” and was the award winner in the Judaism category of the Best Books 2006 Book Awards. A slightly revised version was published in paperback by Oxford University Press as How to Read the Jewish Bible. Other books are Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew, published by Yale University Press, and Reading the Book of Judges, published by Routledge.  His books The Creation of History in Ancient Israel and The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically and Religiously (co-authored), are now available in paperback.

He served as an associate editor of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, and has contributed to all ten volumes of My People’s Prayer Book, a commentary on the siddur, which won a National Jewish Book Award in 2008. He also wrote the section on “Our Biblical Heritage” in My People’s Passover Haggadah. He is co-editor, with Amy Jill Levine, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament, which reached number 31 on Amazon and was featured in the religion section of the New York Times. He has written for The Forward, has appeared on the Television series “Mysteries of the Bible,” was heard on the National Public Radio show “All Things Considered,” and was interviewed on “Fresh Air” by Terry Gross. While serving as a senior research fellow at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem, he began writing a commentary on Psalms 91-119 for the Jewish Publication Society Bible Commentary.

He is committed to applying innovative methods to classroom teaching, including teaching via the internet, and is the recipient of the Michael A. Walzer Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Keter Torah Award from the Boston Bureau of Jewish Education. He spent his most recent sabbaticals studying, teaching, and lecturing in Israel, England, China, and Japan.

Lectures:

  • A Biblical Perspective on the Haggadah
  • Biblical Views of Intermarriage
  • Feminist and Anti-Feminist Visions in the Bible
  • From the Bible to The Rabbis: Late Biblical Texts as Transitional
  • Genesis as History/ Genesis as History and Myth
  • How did the Bible become the Bible?
  • How to Read the Bible
  • Is the Bible Fair?
  • Is the Bible Kosher? Biblical Food Laws
  • Is the Bible True?
  • Is There Such a Thing as Jewish Biblical Interpretation?/How Do Jews Interpret the Bible?
  • Law and the Bible
  • Notions of Biblical Revelation
  • On Biblical Translations
  • Prayer in the Bible
  • Rabbinic Prayer: Continuity and Discontinuity with the Bible
  • Right and Rite in the Bible
  • Song of Songs: Love and Sex in the Bible
  • Symphony and Cacophony in the Bible
  • The Bible as an Ancient Near Eastern Text
  • The book of Judges
  • The book of Psalms
  • The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament: One Jewish Perspective
  • The Ten Commandments in the Bible and in American Life
  • Who were the Prophets?
  • Will the Real Biblical God Please Stand Up?