Religious Studies Ph.D. Reading list

July 1, 2016


NOTE: When secondary literature is paired with primary literature, it is suggested that you read the primary literature first.

1.    Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel (repr., Meridian, 1957)
a.    Genesis and Exodus (+ their introductions) in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/ Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007 (=NOAB)
2.    Tikva Frymer Kensky, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (Free Press, 1992)
3.    Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel (Eerdmans, 2002)
a.     “The Baal Cycle” in Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, ed. Simon Parker (SBL Press, 1997)

4.    Karel van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Harvard University Press, 2009)
a.     Deuteronomy and Jeremiah (+ their introductions) in NOAB

5.    Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Developmental Composition of the Bible (Brill, 2015)
6.    William Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Realia of Ancient Israel (Eerdmans, 2001)

Additional Resources:

The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6 vols., ed. David Noel Freedman (Yale University Press, 1992).
Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, ed., Karel van der Toorn et al. (Eerdmans, 1999).


Required Readings:

1.    Barclay, John M. G., Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE – 117 CE). Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996.
2.    Cohen, Shaye J. D., The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties. Hellenistic Culture and Society 31. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
3.    Collins, John J. The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature. 3d ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.
4.    Gruen, Erich S., Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition. Hellenistic Culture and Society 30. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1998.
5.    Nickelsburg, George W. E. Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah. 2d ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2005.
6.    Feldman, Louis H., James L. Kugel, and Lawrence H. Schiffman, eds., Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture.  3 vols. Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 2013. Read: Jubilees, chs. 1–2 (pp. 272–295); Pesher Nahum (4Q169, pp. 623–635); Philo, On the Creation of the World (pp. 882–901); 1 Enoch 1–36 (Book of the Watchers; pp. 1359–1389); Sirach 24:1–24 (Praise of Wisdom, pp. 2270–2274); 1 Maccabees 4:36–61 (Rededication of Temple, pp. 2784–2785); 13:1–14:49 (Simon Maccabee, pp. 2819–2826); 2 Maccabees 3:1–7:42 (Hellenistic Reform, Persecution, Martyrs, pp. 2841–2857); Josephus, Jewish War 2.119–166 (Excursus on Jewish Groups, 2888–2897); Against Apion, Book 2 (pp. 2898–2920); Damascus Document, Columns I-VIII (History and Self Image of the Dead Sea Sectarians, pp. 2975–2998); Some Precepts of the Torah (4QMMT, pp. 3108–3115); War Scroll, 1:1–3:12 (pp. 3116–3126).

Additional Resource:
Collins, John Joseph and Daniel C. Harlow, eds., The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2010).



1.    Danby, Herbert, The Mishnah: Translated from the Hebrew with Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes. London: Oxford University Press, 1933. Read tractates Berakoth (pp. 2–10); Peah (10–20); Abodah Zarah (437–446); Baba Metzia (347–365); Aboth (446–461), and choose 1 additional tractate in consultation with your supervisor.
2.    Fonrobert, Charlotte Elisheva and Martin S. Jaffee, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
3.    Katz, Steven T., ed., The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume Four: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Choose 10 chapters in consultation with your supervisor.
4.    Neusner, Jacob, The Components of the Rabbinic Documents: From the Whole to the Parts. 12 vols., South Florida Academic Commentary Series. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1997. Read Vol. IX, Part 1, pp. 1–16 (= Genesis Rabbah, Chapter/Parashah 1, on Gen 1:1, Creation) and Vol. IX, Part 2, pp. 189–204 (= Genesis Rabbah, Chapter/Parashah 44, on Gen 15:1–21, God’s Covenant with Abram).
5.    Rubenstein, Jeffrey L., Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
6.    Schwartz, Seth. Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001.
7.    Strack, H. L. and Günter Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash. Translated by M. N. A. Bockmuehl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.

Additional Resource:
Berlin, Adele, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.


1. The New Testament*
2. Dunn, J. D. G.  Neither Jew nor Greek. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015.
3. Ehrman, Bart. After the New Testament: 100-300 C.E. A Reader in Early Christianity. Oxford: Oxford U.P., 2015
4. Klauck, H.-J. The Religious Context of Early Christianity. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000.
5. Neufeld, Dietmar and Richard DeMaris. (eds.) Understanding the Social World of the New Testament. New York: Routledge, 2009.
6. Sanders, E. P. Paul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters, and Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015.
7. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz, The Historical Jesus. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998.

*From either:
Attridge, Harold W., Wayne A. Meeks, and Jouette M. Bassler, The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version, including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books with Concordance. San Francisco, Calif.: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006


Coogan, Michael David, Marc Zvi Brettler, Carol A. Newsom, and Pheme Perkins, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/ Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.


Primary Sources:

1.    The Qur’an
(M.A.S. Abdul Haleem, trans.) The Qur’an: A New Translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

2.    Hadith
al-Nawawī, (Ezzedine Ibrahim and Denis Johnson-Davies, trans), An-Nawawī’s Forty Hadith: An Anthology of the Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (London: Islamic Texts Society, 1997)

3.    Sufism
al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid (Claude Field trans.) The Alchemy of Happiness (New York: Routledge, 2015)

4.    Doctrine
Watt, Montgomery (trans.) Islamic Creeds: A Selection (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994)

Secondary Sources:
1.    Ahmed, Shahab. What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015)
2.    Chaudhry, Ayesha. Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition: Ethics, Law, and the Muslim Discourse on Gender (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)
3.    Hallaq, Wael. A History of Islamic Legal Theories (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Additional Resources:
Hodgson, Marshall G.S., The Venture of Islam, 3 vols. (University of Chicago Press, 1974)
Encyclopedia of Islam, III (Leiden: Brill) [electronic resource]



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