Edward Surman

Research Interests

  • Environment and Religion
  • Women in the Hebrew Bible
  • Digital Humanities and Religious Studies
  • Origins/development of YHWH-worship and Judaism
  • Origins/development of Mazda-worship and Zoroastrianism

Research Areas

  • Hebrew (Language)
  • Hebrew Bible Studies
  • Near Eastern Studies
  • Digital Humanities
  • Religions


Current Projects
Digital Approaches to Religious Studies
A curated survey of digital tools, approaches, and projects, this volume is intended as an introduction to the use of technology in the study of religion.

Untitled Project (with Dr. Mariam Youssef)
This volume examines the depiction of sex workers in the Hebrew Bible. It considers both the linguistic and religio-historical construction of characters who are described as sex workers by appellation, action, or implication. The study challenges traditional interpretations of these characters and offers new ways of understanding the language of sex work in the Hebrew Bible.

Past Projects
Shaped By the Land: On the Ecological Roots of Monotheism
A revision of my doctoral dissertation, this project examines the role of natural landscapes on the origins of the earliest religions deemed monotheistic. It considers the effects of parallel mobile social and agriculturally marginal environmental contexts on the development of the worship of Ahura Mazda (and Zoroastrianism) and the worship of YHWH (and Judaism). The study reveals a number of markers of environmental influence that have come to define these religions as well as the category of monotheism.

Daughters of Mercy: Women in the Book of Exodus (with Dr. Mariam Youssef)
This collaboration takes up dual examinations of characters identified as women in the biblical book of Exodus. A tribute to Tammi Schneider, in this volume I use her method of “verbing the character” to explore the linguistic construction of these characters alongside Mariam Youssef’s investigation into the lived experiences of women represented in and affected by these narratives. The result is quantitative textual data put into conversation with modern cases studies and critical theories to produce a complex and novel reading of the women of Exodus.


Ph.D in Religion, Claremont Graduate University, 2019
Dissertation: Mobile Societies, Mobile Religions: On the Ecological Roots of Two Religions Deemed Monotheistic
M.A. in Religion, Claremont Graduate University, 2016
Thesis: Mobile People, Mobile God: Mobile Societies, Monotheism, and the Effects of Ecological Landscapes on the Development of Ancient Religions