Jacob L. Wright

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible
Jacob L. Wright
Phone: 404.727.4157
    • DrTheol, University of Göttingen, Germany, 2003
    • BA, University of Missouri, Kansas City, 1996

    Dr. Jacob L. Wright serves as Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Candler, as well as the Director of Graduate Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, and as an associate faculty member at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory. Prior to coming to Candler in 2007, Wright taught for several years at the University of Heidelberg, one of Europe’s oldest universities, renowned for biblical scholarship.

    He is the author of a number of articles on Ezra-Nehemiah as well as the book Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and Its Earliest Readers (de Gruyter, 2004), which won a 2008 Templeton prize, the largest prize for first books in religion. Wright published his enhanced e-book, King David and His Reign Revisited (iTunes, 2013), billed as the first publication of its kind in the humanities. His book, David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014), received an honorable mention in the theology and religious studies category at the 2015 PROSE Awards, administered by the Association of American Publishers.

    In 2014, Wright led a seven-week exploration into the purpose of the Bible through a massive open online course (MOOC) offered by Coursera. His course, “The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future,” was one of Coursera’s first MOOCs focused on religion.

    Wright delivered the prestigious 2010-11 lecture in Milieux biblique at the Collège de France in Paris, and was awarded a 2011-12 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. In 2015, he received a $50,000 Templeton Foundation grant to underwrite a new research project with the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, which will examine the highly developed discourse regarding the knowledge of God in the Hebrew Bible, as well as comparative work with the New Testament. 

    Wright has been named to Emory’s Faculty of Distinction, and is a member of Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta.

    Selected Publications
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication

    "War and Peace in the Bible," in The Jewish Study Bible.Oxford University Press,2014

    Co-editor,Warfare, Ritual, and Symbol in Biblical and Modern Contexts.Society of Biblical Literature Press,2014

    David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory.Cambridge University Press,2014

    "Commensality and Political Consolidation," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archeology.Oxford University Press,2014

    King David and His Reign Revisited.Aldina Media,2013

    "Prophets, Kings and Gewaltmonopol in the Ancient Near East," in Comment devient-on prophète.Fribourg,2013

    Co-editor and contributor,"Between Nation and State in the Book of Samuel: Ittai the Gittite," in Making a Difference: Essays in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi.Sheffield Phoenix Press,2012

    "King and Eunuch: A Study of Self-Preservation (Isa 56:3-5)," in Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 131, no. 1.Society of Biblical Literature Press,2012

    Co-editor,Interpreting Exile: Interdisciplinary Studies of Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts.Society of Biblical Literature Press,2011

    Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah-Memoir and Its Earliest Readers.De Gruyter,2004

    Selected Awards

    The Nancy Lapp Popular Book Award for David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory, American Schools of Oriental Research, 2015.

    National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2011-2012.

    Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Grant (New York), 2009-2010.

    University Research Grant, 2009-2010.

    Sir John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, the largest prize for first books in religion, for Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah-Memoir and its Earliest Readers, 2008.

    Faculty of Distinction, Emory University, 2007-present.

    Emmy Noether Grant for the interdisciplinary project "Early Christian Prayer and Its Jewish Origins," 2000-2002.

    Honors Award for the highest GPA in the Humanities, UMKC, 1996.

    "Coursera: The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose and Political Future" - Coursera class, May 20, 2014

    "Professor Jacob Wright Discusses the Origins of Noah" - April 7, 2014

    "Ancient Greece and Ancient Israel" - Conference at Tel Aviv University, October 29, 2012

    Selected courses

    Texts of Terror: Strategies for Interpreting Troublesome Texts from the Hebrew Bible

    Interpretation of the Old Testament I

    Interpretation of Old Testament II

    Methods in Jewish Interpretation of the Bible: The Book of Judges

    Interpreting Prophetic Texts: The Book/s of Jeremiah

    Interpretational Methods Seminar: Ezra-Nehemiah

    Introduction to Political Theology: The Covenant in the Hebrew Bible

    The Book/s of Jeremiah (Contextual Education Elective course)

    Contextual Education I