Eric Jarrard

Assistant Professor of Religion

Scholar of Biblical Studies with a focus on the Hebrew Bible, its ancient Near Eastern context, and the history of its interpretation.

Eric Jarrard is a Lecturer in Religion. He received his doctorate in Hebrew Bible from Harvard University, an MTS from Emory University, and his BA in Religious Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.

His research employs social-scientific approaches to investigate how communities assign and negotiate meanings to the textual life cycles of the Hebrew Bible beginning with its ancient Near Eastern context and focusing specifically on late antiquity (c. 500 BCE – 200 CE) and contemporary American culture.

His current book, The Exodus and Law in Monuments and Memory, enlists postcolonial theory to think about how ancient Middle Eastern monuments have shaped the way the Bible talks about history and law.

His research and courses also address the resonances of biblical themes within contemporary popular culture. Examples include: the use of horror theory to discuss the externalization of social anxieties as monsters in Jordan Peele’s Get Out and the book of Daniel, Jewish identity and biblical exposition in the films of Darren Aronofsky, the figure of Black Moses in Zora Neale Hurston and Alain Mabanckou's Petit Piment, and an investigation of the biblical deed-consequence nexus and Game of Thrones.

His research has been published in Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Biblical Interpretation, Vetus Testamentum, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and is forthcoming in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. On the topic of the Bible and popular culture, Eric has a monograph, The Bible and Hip Hop, under contract with Lexington/Fortress Press, and chapter contributions to Theology and Game of Thrones (Lexington), The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Monsters, and The Routledge Handbook of the Hebrew Bible in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry.

His classes at Wellesley include:

Class Number Title
CPLT/REL 112Y Monsters
JWST/REL 104 Study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
JWST/REL 106 Queer Bible
JWST/REL 201 Bible and Pop Culture [Topics]
JWST/REL 209 Bible & Film
JWST/REL 344 Gods of Stone: Monuments and the Sacred
JWST/REL 346 Bible & Politics [Topics]
REL 101 Intro to Religion
REL 111Y FYS: Jesus of Nazareth
REL 345 Seminar: Enslavement and the Bible

Current and upcoming courses

  • Critical introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, studying its role in the history and culture of ancient Israel and its relationship to ancient Near Eastern cultures. Special focus on the fundamental techniques of literary, historical, and source criticism in modern scholarship, with emphasis on the Bible's literary structure and compositional evolution. (JWST 104 and REL 104 are cross-listed courses.)