University of Minnesota
Ellie and Herbert D. Katz Distinguished Fellowship

Research Topic

Imagining Sinai: Revelation and Textuality in Ancient Israel


Bernard M. Levinson is professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies and of Law at the University of Minnesota, where he holds the Berman Family Chair in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible. His research focuses on biblical and cuneiform law, textual reinterpretation in the Second Temple period, and the relation of the Bible to Western intellectual history and constitutional theory. His newest research extends into the reception of biblical law in the early modern and modern periods.

Levinson received his PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. He has taught at Indiana University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Washington, and Middlebuy College.

Selected publications

  • co-edited with Robert P. Ericksen, The Betrayal of the Humanities: The Transformation of the University during the Third Reich (Indiana University Press, forthcoming)
  • Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  • Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (Oxford University Press, 1997)



Focusing on the broad contexts in which Jewish (and Israelite) law was developed by and for Jews, and in which it operated, treating law as a necessary component for understanding the broader dynamics of culture, history, governance, and economics of each place and period. 


Interrogating the relationship between ancient Israelite culture and neighboring cultures in the Ancient Near East.