Dr Arjen Bakker

Dr Arjen Bakker
College Lecturer in Theology and Religion / Associate Director of the Centre for the Study of the Bible

I am lecturer in Hebrew Bible at Oriel College. I am also Associate Director of the Centre for the Study of the Bible.

I studied Religious Studies, Jewish Thought, and Theology at the University of Amsterdam, the Catholic University of Leuven and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. My doctoral dissertation focused on wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leuven 2015). I worked at the Centre for Septuagint Studies in Leuven, and I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Haifa and at the Qumran Institute in Groningen, before coming to Oriel College.

Research interests

I am interested in the ways in which texts and traditions transform over time, and how they shape culture and society from antiquity to the present. I am also interested in practices of performance and the interaction between performance, interpretation and textualization.

I am working on a project on the Book of Isaiah that examines the transition of the latest stage of the book’s redaction to the early stages of its interpretation as attested in a variety of sources from the Second Temple period.

A second project focuses on the formation of the self and the formation of community in ancient Judaism and Christianity. This project reacts to Michel Foucault’s work on the hermeneutics of the subject which argues that modern Western practices of subject-formation are rooted in the Christian appropriation of the Greco-Roman cultivation of the self. In response to this claim, I examine a range of Jewish and Christian sources that develop ancient practices and traditions in a Hellenistic cultural framework.

I have a broad interest in all topics related to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint and Judaism in the Greco-Roman period. The title of my first book is The Practice of Wisdom in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which examines the entanglement of practices and concepts and will be published by Brill in the STDJ series in 2019.

Selected publications

“The Praise of the Luminaries in the Similitudes of Enoch and its Parallels in the Qumran Scrolls.” Meghillot 13 (2017): 1-14. (Hebrew)

“Sages and Saints: Continuous Study and Transformation in Musar le-Mevin and Serek ha-Yahad.” In Tracing Sapiential Traditions in Ancient Judaism, edited by H. Najman, J.-S. Rey and E.J.C. Tigchelaar, 106-118. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

"The God of Knowledge: Qumran Reflections on Divine Prescience Based on 1 Sam 2:3.” Revue de Qumran 26/103 (2014): 361-74.