ESR hires Julianna K. Smith as assistant professor of Hebrew bible

Earlham School of Religion has hired Julianna K. Smith as its new assistant professor of Hebrew bible.

Smith is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Los Angeles in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Culture. Her dissertation is on “Stories of Sexual Violence as Boundary Markers in the Early Jewish Reception of the Hebrew Bible.”

“I am excited that Julianna will be joining the ESR faculty,” said Stephen Angell, Leatherock Professor of Quaker Studies and the chair of the search committee.

“She conducts research in numerous languages – mastering many of them – including Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Aramaic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and French.”

Smith is a Quaker who has received training at Quaker institutions of higher education, including Portland Seminary of George Fox University and Malone University. She has lectured and assisted in teaching courses at UCLA, Portland Seminary, and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She has studied and worked abroad in both North Africa and West Asia.

“As I continue to wrestle with how various group identities relate to unjust power structures, I continue to return to Quaker values of embracing difference and working toward justice and peace in order to gain insight on how best to navigate an unjust world,” Smith said. “Having been intellectually, socially, and spiritually formed in Quaker institutions of higher learning, joining the community at ESR represents a homecoming of sorts for me. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to teach, learn, and serve among Friends once again.”

In welcoming Julianna to campus, Gretchen Castle, ESR Dean noted, “We are thrilled to welcome Julianna to ESR as one who has a deep understanding of the Hebrew Bible, of spiritual and justice engagement, and of Quakerism. Julianna is a rare find and a perfect fit for ESR.”

Smith’s partner, Nathan Widdicombe, will be joining her as she begins her work at ESR. She will begin at the seminary for online and intensive courses in fall 2022 and in-person for the start of spring 2023. 

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