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Robert S. Kawashima, Associate Professor

120 Anderson Hall
Hebrew Bible, Comparative Literature, Ancient Mediterranean Religions

Robert Kawashima holds a joint appointment in the Department of Religion and the Center for Jewish Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the faculty of the University of Florida, he was a Faculty Fellow at UC Berkeley and a Dorot Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.

His work is broadly comparative, focusing on the Hebrew Bible in relation to both the ancient Mediterranean world and the literary and intellectual history of the West; other research interests include literary theory, linguistics, epic, and the novel. He has written on various aspects of the Hebrew Bible — linguistic, literary, legal — as well as on Homer and literary theory. His first book, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode, was a finalist for the Koret Jewish Book Award, under the category: Autobiography, Biography and Literary Studies. He is co-editor, with Gilles Philippe and Thelma Sowley, of a recently published festschrift: Phantom Sentences: Essays in Linguistics and Literature Presented to Ann Banfield. His current book project, The Archaeology of Ancient Israelite Knowledge, is an analysis of Israel’s religious traditions informed by Foucault’s investigations into the history of systems of thought.


  • Phantom Sentences: Essays in Linguistics and Literature Presented to Ann Banfield, co-edited with Gilles Philippe and Thelma Sowley (Peter Lang, 2008)
  • Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode (Indiana University Press, 2004)


  • “Literary Analysis,” in The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, ed., Craig Evans, Joel Lohr, and David Petersen, Formation and Interpretation of Old Testament Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 83-104
  • “Could a Woman Say ‘No’ in Biblical Israel? On the Genealogy of Legal Status in Biblical Law and Literature,” Association for Jewish Studies Review 35 (2011): 1-22
  • “The Syntax of Narrative Forms,” in Narratives of Egypt and the Ancient Near East: Literary and Linguistic Approaches, ed. F. Hagen, J. Johnston, W. Monkhouse, K. Piquette, J. Tait, M. Worthington (Leuven: Peeters, 2011), 341-69
  • “Sources and Redaction,” in Reading Genesis: Ten Methods, ed. Ronald Hendel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 47-70
  • “‘Orphaned’ Converted Tense Forms in Classical Biblical Hebrew Prose,” Journal of Semitic Studies 55.1 (Spring 2010): 11-35
  • “What is Narrative Perspective? A Non-historicist Answer,” in Phantom Sentences: Essays in Linguistics and Literature Presented to Ann Banfield, 105-126
  • “Comparative Literature and Biblical Studies: The Case of Allusion,” Prooftexts 27 (2007): 324–344
  • “The Priestly Tent of Meeting and the Problem of Divine Transcendence: An ‘Archaeology’ of the Sacred,” Journal of Religion 86 (2006): 226-57
  • “A Revisionist Reading Revisited: On the Creation of Adam and then Eve,” Vetus Testamentum 56 (2006): 46-57
  • “Homo Faber in J’s Primeval History,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 116 (2004): 483-501
  • “Verbal Medium and Narrative Art in Homer and the Bible,” Philosophy and Literature 28 (2004): 103-17
  • “The Jubilee Year and the Return of Cosmic Purity,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 65 (2003): 370-89
  • “The Jubilee, Every 49 or 50 Years?” Vetus Testamentum 53 (2003): 117-20
  • “From Song to Story: The Genesis of Narrative in Judges 4 and 5,” Prooftexts 21 (2001): 151-78


  • Review of The Invention of Hebrew, by Seth L. Sanders, (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009), Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 30.3 (2012), in press
  • Review of Creation and Chaos in the Primeval Era and the Eschaton, by Hermann Gunkel (trans. K. William Whitney, Jr.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), Toronto Journal of Theology 24 (2008): 111-13
  • Review of Style and Structure in Biblical Hebrew Narrative, by Jerome T. Walsh (Collegeville, Minn: The Liturgical Press, 2001), Hebrew Studies 44 (2003): 243-45

Recent awards:

Waldo W. Neikirk Term Professor in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Florida, 2011-2012