Julianna Smith photo

Julianna K. Smith, Ph.D.

Assistant professor of Hebrew Bible

Email:[email protected]

Location: Robert Barclay Center
2nd Floor - Room 205

About me

I love ancient texts. Ancient texts give us a window into how people thought about their lives, the world, the realm of the gods, and their relationship with other people and peoples. Learning about the past is fun. Learning about the past can also shed light on our present. When we dig into ancient texts, we can see how people in the past dealt with empire and authoritarianism. We learn about how ancient ruler harnessed the power of religion and ideology to control a population. We also learn how thought leaders advocated for social boundaries, and how brave individuals challenged and transgressed those boundaries. Ultimately, we see dynamics in the past that can help elucidate the dynamics of the present.

The courses I teach center ancient texts and reflect on modern contexts. We learn as much as we can about the text’s historical moment. We show it and its writers hospitality by curiously leaning in and listening to it. We also examine ourselves and our own contexts as readers. We are in a dynamic relationship with these ancient texts. The magic in reading ancient texts happens when we are attentive to both sides of that dynamic. I encourage you to join me in the study of the ancient world and ourselves!


  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (Hebrew Bible)
  • M.A., Portland Seminary of George Fox University
  • M.A., The Ohio State University, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (Arabic)
  • B.A., Malone University, Political Science

Research interests

  • Torah
  • Jewish literature of the Second Temple period
  • Gender in the ancient world
  • Gender-based violence
  • Political power in the ancient world