Professor of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences
Professor Klawans joined the Department of Religion and the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies in the fall of 1997. Professor Klawans is a specialist in the religion and religious literature of ancient Judaism. He teaches courses in Western Religion, the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish history, and Rabbinic literature. He has published articles in journals such as AJS Review, Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Jewish Studies, New Testament Studies, Numen and Religious Studies Review. He is also editor for ancient Judaism for the journal Currents in Biblical Research (http://cbi.sagepub.com/). Professor Klawans’s first book, Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism was published by Oxford University Press in 2000, and received awards as a best first book for that year from both the American Academy of Religion and the American Academy for Jewish Research. This book explores varied attitudes toward impurity and sin as expressed in the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinic literature and the New Testament. Professor Klawans’s second book was published in 2005, also by Oxford University Press: Purity Sacrifice and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism. This book aims to correct a number of misconceptions about the practice of sacrifice in the ancient world, and the understanding of it in the modern world. It was selected as a finalist in the Jewish Thought category for a 2005-2006 Koret International Jewish Book Award.
Professor Klawans spent the 2010-2011 academic year on sabbatical with the support of an American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship. During that year, he largely completed his third book, entitled, Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism. This book re-examines the theology of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, as well as the theological views Josephus attributes to the major Jewish groups of his day: the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. The book argues that matters of belief played an important role, alongside Jewish law, in ancient Jewish sectarian disputes.