In the Valley of the Shadow

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JAMES KUGEL was born in New York. From 1982-2003 he was Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University. He retired from Harvard to become Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University in Israel, where he has also served as chairman of the Department of Bible.

A specialist in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Kugel is the author of some sixty research articles and eleven books, including The Idea of Biblical Poetry, In Potiphar's House, On Being a Jew, and The Bible As It Was (this last the winner of the Grawemeyer Prize in Religion in 2001). His latest books are The God of Old (Free Press, 2003), The Ladder of Jacob (Princeton, 2006), and How to Read the Bible (Free Press, 2007), awarded the National Jewish Book Award for the best book of 2007. In the Valley of the Shadow is due out in 2011. He is a member of the American Academy for Jewish Research, the Association for Jewish Studies, and Editor in chief of Jewish Studies: an Internet Journal.

James Kugel – List of Publications


1. The Techniques of Strangeness (Yale University Press, 1971; Japanese translation, 1981)
2. The Idea of Biblical Poetry (Yale University Press, 1981; second edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998)
3. Early Biblical Interpretation (with Rowan Greer; Westminster Press, 1986)
4. In Potiphar's House: the Interpretive Life of Biblical Texts in Early Judaism and Christianity (HarperCollins, 1990; paperback edition, Harvard University Press, 1994)
5. On Being a Jew (Harper-Collins, 1990; paperback edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998)
6. The Bible As It Was (Harvard University Press, 1997)
7. Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as it Was at the Start of the Common Era (Harvard University Press, 1998)
8. Great Poems of the Bible (The Free Press, 1999)
9. The God of Old (The Free Press, 2003)
10. The Ladder of Jacob (Princeton University Press, 2006)
11. How to Read the Bible: a Guide to Scripture, Then and Now (Free Press, 2007)
12. In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief (Free Press, 2011)

Books Edited

13. Poetry and Prophecy (Cornell University Press, 1990)
14. Studies in Ancient Midrash (Harvard University Press, 2001)
15. Shem in the Tents of Eber: Studies on the Interaction of Hellenism and Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 2002)
16. Prayers That Cite Scripture (Center for Jewish Studies; Harvard University Press, 2006)
17. (with Lawrence Schiffman and Louis Feldman), The Outside Books: Ancient Jewish Writings Not Found in the Canon of Scripture (Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia; forthcoming, 2012)


1. "Some Medieval and Renaissance Writings on the Poetry of the Bible" in I. Twersky, Studies in Medieval Jewish History and Literature (Harvard University Press, 1979), 57-81
2. "Adverbial Kî Tôb" Journal of Biblical Literature 99 (1980), 433-36
3. "On All of Hebrew Poetry" Prooftexts 2 (1982), 209-21
4. "Is There But One Song?" Biblica 63 (1982), 329-350
(summary of above:) בין שיר לשירה במכילתא דר''י in: Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem, 1982), 141-44
5-6. "On the Bible and Literary Criticism" Prooftexts 1 (1982), 217-36; discussion, Prooftexts 3 (1983), 323-32
7."The Influence of Moses ibn Habib's Darkhei No‘am" B. D. Cooperman, Jewish Thought in the Sixteenth Century (Harvard University Press, 1983) 308-325
8. "‘The Bible as Literature' in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages" HSL: Hebrew University Studies in Literature 11 (1983), 20-70
9. "Two Introductions to Midrash" Prooftexts 3 (1983); reprinted in G. Hartman and S. Budick, Midrash and Literature (Yale University Press, 1985), 77-103
10. "Some Thoughts on Future Research into Biblical Style" Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28 (1984), 107-117
11-13. "Ecclesiastes," "Poetry, Biblical" and "Psalms" Harper's Bible Dictionary (Harper and Row, 1985), 236-37; 804-06; 833-35.
14. "Topics in the History of the Spirituality of the Psalms" A. Green, The History of Jewish Spirituality (Seabury-Winston, 1986), 113-44
15. "Torah" in A. Cohen and P. Mendes-Flohr, Contemporary Jewish ReligiousThought (Scribners, 1986), 995-1005
16. "Biblical Studies and Jewish Studies" AJS Newsletter 36 (1986), 22-24
17. "On Hidden Hatred and Open Reproach: Early Exegesis of Lev. 19:17" Harvard Theological Review 80 (1987), 43-61
18. "How Should We Teach the Bible?" The Bible and the Liberal Arts (Crawfordsville, Indiana: Wabash College, 1987), 1-20
19. "The Bible's Earliest Interpreters" Prooftexts 7 (1987), 269-83
20. "The Psalms and Wisdom," Harper Bible Commentary (Harper and Row, 1989), 396-406
21. "Qohelet and Money" Catholic Bible Quarterly 51 (1989), 32-49
22. "The Bible in the University" W. H. Propp, B. Halpern, and D. N. Freedman, The Hebrew Bible and its Interpreters (Eisenbrauns, 1990), 143-66
23. "The Case Against Joseph," Tz. Abusch, J. Huehnergard, and P. Steinkeller, Lingering Over Words: Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Literature in Honor of William L. Moran (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1990), 272-287
24. "Cain and Abel in Fact and Fable" in R. Brooks and John J. Collins, Hebrew Bible or Old Testament? (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame, 1989), 167-90
25. "Why Was Lamech Blind?" Hebrew Annual Review 12 (1990), 91-104
26. "Poets and Prophets" in Kugel, ed. Poetry and Prophecy (Cornell Univ. Press, 1990), 1-25
27. "David the Prophet" in Kugel, ed. Poetry and Prophecy (Cornell Univ. Press, 1990), 45-55
28. מדרשים שנעתקו ממקומם ("Midrashim That Ended Up in the Wrong Place") (Publications of the Israel Academy of Science, 8:3), 49-61
29. "The Story of Dinah in the Testament of Levi," Harvard Theological Review 85 (1992) 1-34 Hebrew Version: מעשה דינה בצוואת לוי in S. Japhet, המקרא בראי מפרשיו Jerusalem: Magnes, 1992), 130-40.
30."Levi's Elevation to the Priesthood in Second Temple Writings," Harvard Theological Review 86 (1993), 1-64.
31. "The Jubilees Apocalypse," Dead Sea Discoveries 1 (1994), 322-37
32. "The Ladder of Jacob," Harvard Theological Review 88 (1995), 1-24.
33. "Reuben's Sin with Bilhah in the Testament of Reuben" in David Wright, David Noel Freedman and Avi Hurvitz, Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1995), 525-554.
34. "The Holiness of Israel and its Land in Second Temple Times," Michael Fox, Texts, Temples, Traditions: Menahem Haran Festschrift (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1996), 21-32
35. "Obscurity in Hebrew Liturgical Poetry," Medievalia: A Journal of Medieval Studies 19 (1996) 221-238
36. "Wisdom and the Anthological Temper" Prooftexts 17 (1997), 9-32.
37. " ‘4Q369: The Prayer of Enosh' and Ancient Biblical Interpretation" Dead Sea Discoveries 5 (1998), 119-148
38. "Introduction," to republication of Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Johns Hopkins, 1998) ix-xxix.
39. "What the Dead Sea Scrolls Do Not Tell," Commentary vol. 106 (November 1998).
40. "Biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and the Hebrew of the Second Temple Period," in T. Muraoka and J. F. Elwolde, Diggers at the Well: Proceedings of a Third International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 166-177.
41. "Biblical Interpretation and the Ancient Israelite Sage," in Kugel (ed.), Studies in Ancient Midrash (Harvard University Press; 2001)1-26.
42. "Some Instances of Biblical Exegesis in Qumran Songs and Wisdom," in Kugel (ed.), Studies in Ancient Midrash (Harvard University Press; 2001), 155-69.
43. (with Liora Ravid), "The Calendar of the Book of Jubilees: A Reexamination" (appendix to her unpublished PhD dissertation, "Issues in the Book of Jubilees" Bar Ilan University, 2002).
44. "Biblical Authority in Judaism and the Problems of an ‘Aging Text,'" in J-M. Poffet, L'autorité de l'Ecriture (Les Editions du Cerf, 2002), 139-51.
45. "Stephen's Speech in its Exegetical Context" in Craig Evans., From Prophecy to Testament (Hendrickson, 2003), 206-18.
46. "The Scripturalization of Prayer," Prayers That Cite Scripture (Center for Jewish Studies; Harvard University Press, , 2005), 1-5.
47. "Exegetical Notes on 4Q225," Dead Sea Discoveries 13 (2006), 73-98.
48. "How Old is the Aramaic Levi Document?" Dead Sea Discoveries 14 (2007) 291-312
49. "פרשנות המקרא בקומראן" in D. Rosenthal, ed., מגילות מדבר יהודה (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi; 2009)
50. "Some Thoughts on John Barton's Oracles of God," Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 7 (2007), 12-21.
51. "Another View," Biblical Archaeology Review 34 (2008), 68-69, 84.
52. "Some Unanticipated Consequences of the Sinai Revelation: A Religion of Laws" in G. E. Brooke, et al., Significance of Sinai: Traditions About Sinai and Divine Revelation (Leiden: Brill, 2008).
53. "שירת המקרא – הא כיצד?" in Ts. Talshir, חקר המקרא היום (in press) (Jerusalem: Yad ben Tzvi, 2010)
54. "צמיחתה של ביקורת המקרא בעת החדשה" in Ts. Talshir, חקר המקרא היום (in press) (Jerusalem: Yad ben Tzvi, 2010)
55. "Early Jewish Biblical Interpretation," in J. J. Collins and D. C. Harlow, The Dictionary of Early Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010)
56. "On the Interpolations in the Book of Jubilees," Revue de Qumran 94 (2009), 215-72.
57. "Which Is Older, the Book of Jubilees or the Genesis Apocryphon?" Proceedings of the Israel Museum/Orion Center Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2008 (published 2010)
58. "One Hundred Years of the Pontifical Biblical Institute," in Parole del Centinario della Fondazione del PIB (Rome: Gregorian and Biblical Press, 2010), 79-87
59. The Beginnings of Biblical Interpretation" in M. Henze, A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism (Eerdmans, 2010)
60. "Some Translation and Copying Mistakes from the Original Hebrew of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" Proceedings of the Toronto Dead Sea Scrolls Conference (forthcoming, 2010)
61. "Judaism: an Odd Sort of Religion-of-Laws," Gruss Lecture, New York University Law School, 2010 ; available at
62. "Philo of Alexandria and the Book of Jubilees," Rome Quman Conference 2010, (forthcoming)
63. "Divine Epithets in the Book of Jubilees" (forthcoming, James C. VanderKam Festschrift, 2011)
64. "The Sources of Torah in the Book of Jubilees," Publications of the NYU Tikvah Center, 2010 (forthcoming, 2011).
65. "Commentary on the Book of Jubilees" in Feldman, Kugel, and Schiffman, The Outside Books: Ancient Jewish Writings Not Found in the Canon of Scripture (Jewish Publication Society, 2012)
66. "The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: a New Translation and Commentary," in Feldman, Kugel, and Schiffman, The Outside Books: Ancient Jewish Writings Not Found in the Canon of Scripture (Jewish Publication Society, 2012)


1. "Remembering the Holocaust" (T. DesPres, The Survivor), Harper's Bookletter (March, 1976)
2. "Our Very Own Bluebloods" (S. Birmingham, The Grandees), Midstream (Sept. 1971)
3. Pottery, Poetry and Prophecy (D. N. Freedman), The Biblical Archæology Review (Spring, 1981)
4. "Avot Yeshurun in English," (A. Yeshurun, The Syrian-African Rift, tr. Harold Schimmel) Prooftexts I (1981), 326-31
5. "Journey into a Vast Landscape" (T. Carmi, The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse) The Nation (June 27, 1981) 28-35
6. "The Book of the Honeycomb's Flow" (M. Leon, Nofet Sufim, tr. I. Rabinowitz) The Journal of Biblical Literature 105 (1986), 356-57
7. Antithetic Structure in Biblical Hebrew Poetry (J. Krasovec) The Journal of Biblical Literature 105 (1986), 704-5
8. "A Feeling of Déjà Lu" (R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry) The Journal of Religion 67 (1987), 66-79
9. "‘Whose Bible Is It?' God Speaks, Man Translates" (J. Pelikan, Whose Bible Is It?), New York Times Book Review, March 28, 2005.

James L. Kugel
Bible Department
Bar Ilan University
52900 Ramat Gan, Israel
telephone: +9722 672-2197
local U.S. (Vonage) telephone: 305 396-4886

1. Born: August 22, 1945, New York, N.Y. I am married and have four children.

2. Education:
    Yale University, B.A. (1968)
    Harvard University, Junior Fellow (1972-76)
    City University of New York, Ph. D. (1977)

3. Areas of interest: Hebrew Bible; history of biblical exegesis; Judaism.

4. Positions held: Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellow, City University (1977-78)
    Lecturer, Harvard University (1978-79)
    Assistant Professor, Religious Studies and Comparative Literature, Yale University (1979-81); Associate Professor (1981)
    Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature, Harvard University (1982-2003)
    Professor of Bible, Bar Ilan University (1991- )

5. Memberships and Offices:
    Poetry Editor, Harper's Magazine (1972-4)
    Co-founder and associate editor, Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History (1981- )
    Executive Board, Association for Jewish Studies (1983-86)
    Chairman, Department of Near Eastern Languages, Harvard University (1987-91)
    Director, Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University (1996-2001)
    Editorial Board, Jewish Studies Quarterly (1993-2003)
    Member, American Academy for Jewish Research (1999- )
    Editor in chief, Jewish Studies: an Internet Journal (2002- )
    Director, Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible, Bar Ilan University (2003- )
    Chairman, Department of Bible, Bar-Ilan University (2006- )
    Editor for Judaica, Academic Studies Press (Slavic Publications)
    Editorial Board, Themes in Biblical Narrative – Jewish and Christian Traditions (series, Brill Publications, Leiden)
    Editorial Board, פרשנות ובקורת (Bar Ilan)
    Editorial Board, שנתון המקרא (Jerusalem)
    Editorial Board, Biblische Notizen (Vienna)
    Directorate, Mossad Bialik Publications
    Academic Directorate, The Open University (Ra'anana)

6.Awards and Prizes : Phi Beta Kappa (1968), Wrexham Prize (1968), Fulbright Graduate Fellowship (1968), Danforth Graduate Fellowship (1968), Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1968), Bryant Dissertation Prize (1977), A. Mellon Fellow (1977), Ingram Merrill Fellow (1978), S. F. Morse Faculty Fellow (1981-82). The Idea of Biblical Poetry was supported by awards from the F. Hilles and A. W. Griswold Funds, and received the book prize of the American Jewish Committee (1982). Research for In Potiphar's House was sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1988-89). The Bible As It Was was supported by awards from the Alan M. Stroock Publication Fund for Jewish Studies and a grant from the Littauer Foundation. It was among five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the category of General Nonfiction. Traditions of the Bible was honored with a special session at the 1999 Society of Biblical Literature convention. The Bible As It Was and Traditions of the Bible were jointly awarded the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for the best book in Religion, 2001. How to Read the Bible was awarded the prize for the best book in any category by the National Jewish Book Awards, 2007. It was chosen as one of the New York Times "Best Books of 2007, All Categories."