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Dr Nathan MacDonald

Dr Nathan MacDonald

Reader in the Interpretation of the Old Testament

Fellow and College Lecturer in Theology, St John's College

Nathan MacDonald is accepting applications for PhD students.


Office Phone: 01223 763046

Biography:

MA, MPhil, University of Cambridge; PhD, University of Durham

After his studies in Cambridge and Durham, Nathan MacDonald taught at the University of St Andrews from 2001–12, where he was Lecturer and subsequently Reader in Old Testament. During 2007 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at Ludwig-Maximillians Universität Munich. In the same year he was awarded the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for his first book Deuteronomy and the Meaning of 'Monotheism'. In 2008 he was awarded a Sofja-Kovalevskaja Prize which enabled him to lead a research team on Early Jewish Monotheisms at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. In 2011 he was awarded the David Noel Freedman Award for Excellence and Creativity in Hebrew Bible Scholarship. In 2013 he was appointed as University Lecturer in Hebrew Bible at Cambridge University, and was made Reader in the Interpretation of Old Testament in 2016.

Subject area and speciality

Old Testament specialists:
  • Pentateuch; Former Prophets; Isaiah; Ezekiel
  • Intersection of inner-biblical interpretation, redaction criticism and the canonical approach
  • Intersection of history of Israelite religion and Old Testament theology
  • Priesthood and ritual
Jewish studies specialists:
  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • Biblical theology
  • Pentateuch and Former Prophets

College

St John's College:
Fellow and Director of Studies

Research Interests

Dr MacDonald's research focuses on the way that the Old Testament is used for religious and theological construction, and the projection of such constructions back onto the text. Consequently he is interested in the various receptions of the biblical text, but also its complex composition. It is in the text’s generation that we see the first attempts at construction, and it is also the text’s redactional complexity that prevents simple readings and so invites intellectual fashioning.

Research Supervision

Dr MacDonald is interested in supervising research in the following areas:

  •  Pentateuch; Former Prophets; Isaiah; Ezekiel
  •  Intersection of inner-biblical interpretation, redaction criticism and the canonical approach
  •  Intersection of history of Israelite religion and Old Testament theology
  •  Priesthood and ritual

Teaching

  • One God? Hearing the Old Testament (A2)
  • Intermediate Hebrew (B1a)
  • The Literature, History and Theology of the Exilic Age (B2)
  • Creation and Covenant (C2)
  • The Beginnings of Scripture: Ritual, Law and Narrative in the Pentateuch (D1a)

Key Publications

Books

PriestlyRule.jpg   NotBreadAlone.jpg   WhatDid.jpg   Deuteronomy.jpg

  • Priestly Rule: Polemic and Biblical Interpretation in Ezekiel 44 (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 476; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015).
  • Not Bread Alone: The Uses of Food in the Old Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • What did the Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet in Biblical Times (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008).
  • Deuteronomy and the Meaning of ‘Monotheism’ (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II/1; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003; 2nd edition 2012).

Edited Volumes

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  • Ritual Innovation in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 468; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016).
  • Covenant and Election in Exilic and Post-Exilic Judaism (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015).
  • (with K. Brown) Monotheism in Late Prophetic and Early Apocalyptic Literature (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II/72; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014).
  • (with I.J. de Hulster) Divine Presence and Absence in Exilic and Post-Exilic Judaism (Forschungen zum Alten Testament II/61; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013).
  • (with L. Sutter Rehmann and K. Ehrensperger) Decisive Meals: Table Politics in Biblical Literature (Library of New Testament Studies, 449; London: T&T Clark International, 2012).
  • (with M.W. Elliott and G. Macaskill) Genesis and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012).
  • (with R.J. Bauckham, D.R. Driver, T.A. Hart) The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009).
  • (with R.J. Bauckham, D.R. Driver, T.A. Hart) A Cloud of Witnesses: The Theology of Hebrews in Its Ancient Context (Library of New Testament Studies, 387; London: T&T Clark International, 2008).

Articles and Book Chapters (since 2007)

  • ‘Retribution in the Book of Numbers’, in D. Hamidović, A. Thromas and M. Silvestrini (eds.), “Retribution” in Jewish and Christian Writings: A Concept in Debate (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament II; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016).
  • ‘Did Josiah Enact a Monotheistic Reform?’, in R.S. Watson and A. Curtis (eds.), ‘How Long Will You Go Limping with Two Different Opinions?’: Creative Conversations on Canaan and the Bible (Berlin: de Gruyter, forthcoming 2017).
  • ‘Response to Richard Hess’, in R.S. Watson and A. Curtis (eds.), ‘How Long Will You Go Limping with Two Different Opinions?’: Creative Conversations on Canaan and the Bible (Berlin: de Gruyter, forthcoming 2017).
  • ‘Ritual Innovation and Shavu‘ot’, in N. MacDonald (ed.), Ritual Innovation in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 468; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), pp. 1–10
  • ‘Strange Fire before the Lord: Thinking about Ritual Innovation in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism’, in N. MacDonald (ed.), Ritual Innovation in the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 468; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), pp. 55–78.
  • ‘Aaron’s Failure and the Fall of the Hebrew Kingdoms’, in P. Dubrovský, D. Markl and J.-P. Sonnet (eds.), The Fall of Jerusalem and the Rise of the Torah (Forschung zum Alten Testament 107; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 197­–209.
  • ‘Introduction’, in N. MacDonald, Covenant and Election in Exilic and Post-Exilic Judaism (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), pp. xi–xiii.
  • 'The God that the Scholarship on Ezekiel Creates’, in P. Joyce and D. Rom-Shiloni, The God Ezekiel Creates (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 607; London: T&T Clark, International, 2015), pp. 193–202.
  • (with Ken Brown) ‘Introduction’, in N. MacDonald and K. Brown (eds.), Monotheism in Late Prophetic and Early Apocalyptic Literature (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II/72; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), pp. xi–xvii.
  • ‘The Beginnings of One-ness Theology in Late Israelite Prophetic Literature’, in N. MacDonald and K. Brown (eds.), Monotheism in Late Prophetic and Early Apocalyptic Literature (Forschungen zum Alten Testament, II/72; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), pp. 103–123.
  • ‘A Text in Search of Context: The Imago Dei in the First Chapters of Genesis’, in D. Baer and R.P. Gordon (eds.), Leshon Limmudim: Essays in the Language and Literature of the Hebrew Bible in Honour of A.A. Macintosh (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, 593; The Hebrew Bible and its Versions; London: T&T Clark International, 2013), pp. 3–16.
  • ‘Monotheism’, in J.B. Green and L.M. McDonald, The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), pp. 77–84.
  • 'Introduction', in N. MacDonald and I.J. de Hulster (eds.), Divine Presence and Absence in Exilic and Post-Exilic Judaism (Forschungen zum Alten Testament II/61; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), pp. xi-xvi.
  • 'The Spirit of God: A Neglected Conceptualization of the Divine Presence in the Persian Period', in N. MacDonald and I.J. de Hulster (eds.), Divine Presence and Absence in Exilic and Post-Exilic Judaism (Forschungen zum Alten Testament II/61; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013), pp. 95–120.
  • 'A Text in Search of Context: The Imago Dei in the First Chapters of Genesis', in D. Baer and R.P. Gordon (eds.), Leshon Limmudim: Essays in the Language and Literature of the Hebrew Bible in Honour of A.A. Macintosh (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies; London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 3–16.
  • ‘Monotheism’, in J.B. Green and L.M. McDonald, The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), pp. 77–84.
  • ‘Numbers and Deuteronomy: Common Narratives Concerning the Wilderness and Transjordan’, Journal of Ancient Judaism 3 (2012), pp. 141-165.
  • ‘The Hermeneutics and Genesis of the Red Cow Ritual in Numbers 19’, Harvard Theological Review 105 (2012), pp. 351-371.
  • ‘Research Report: Early Jewish Monotheism Research Group at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen’, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 1 (2012), pp. 137-142.
  • ‘A Trinitarian Palimpsest: Luther’s Reading of the Priestly Blessing (Num 6.24-26)’, Pro Ecclesia 21 (2012), pp. 298–312.
  • ‘Is There Happiness in the Torah?’, in B.A. Strawn (ed.),The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness: What the Old and New Testaments Teach Us about the Good Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 57-73.
  • ‘“The Eyes of All Look to You”: The Generosity of the Divine King’, in K. Ehrensperger, N.MacDonald and L. Sutter Rehmann (eds.), Decisive Meals: Table Politics in Biblical Literature (Library of New Testament Studies, 449; London: T&T Clark International, 2012), pp. 1–14.
  • ‘Numbers’, in J.N. Lohr and R.S. Briggs (eds.), A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch: Interpreting the Torah as Christian Scripture (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012), pp. 113–143.
  • (with assistance from R.S. Briggs) ‘Walter Moberly’s Contribution to the Theological Interpretation of the Pentateuch’, in J.N. Lohr and R.S. Briggs (eds.), A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch: Interpreting the Torah as Christian Scripture (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012), pp. 177–185.
  • ‘Hospitality and Hostility: Reading Genesis 19 in Light of 2 Samuel 10’, in D. Lipton (ed.), Universalism and Particularism at Sodom and Gomorrah: Essays in Memory of Ron Pirson (The Ancient Near East and its Literature; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012), pp. 185–195.
  • ‘Did God Choose the Patriarchs? Reading for Election in Genesis’, in N. MacDonald, M.W. Elliott and G. Macaskill (eds.), Genesis and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), pp. 245–266.
  • ‘Anticipations of Horeb: Exodus 17 as Inner-Biblical Commentary’, in D. Lipton and G. Khan (eds.), Studies on the Text and Versions of the Hebrew Bible in Honour of Robert Gordon (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, 149; Leiden:  E.J.   Brill, 2012), pp. 7–19.
  • ‘Edom and Seir in the Narratives and Itineraries of Numbers 20–21 and Deuteronomy 1–3’, in G. Fischer, D. Markl and S. Paganini (eds.), Deuteronomium – Tora für eine neue Generation (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte, 17; Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 2011), pp. 83–103.
  • ‘Response to Patrick Madigan, “The Curse of Monotheism”’, Heythrop Journal 51 (2010), pp. 1075–1077.
  • ‘Issues in the Dating of Deuteronomy: A Response to Juha Pakkala’, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 122 (2010), pp. 431–435.
  • ‘Israel and the Old Testament Story in Irenaeus’ Presentation of the Rule of Faith’, Journal of Theological Interpretation 3 (2009), pp. 267–284.
  • ‘Monotheism and Isaiah’, in H.G.M. Williamson and D.G. Firth (eds.), Interpreting Isaiah: Issues and Approaches (Leicester: Apollos, 2009), pp. 43–61.
  • ‘Moses as Exemplar of Faith’, in R.J. Bauckham, D.R. Driver, T.A. Hart and N. MacDonald (eds.), The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), pp. 374–382.
  • ‘The Imago Dei and Election: Reading Gen 1:26–28 and Old Testament Scholarship with Karl Barth’, International Journal of Systematic Theology 10 (2008), pp. 303–327.
  • ‘Food and Diet in the Priestly Material of the Pentateuch’, in D. Grumett and R. Muers (eds.), Eating and Believing: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology (London: T&T Clark International, 2008), pp. 17–30.
  • ‘“Gone Astray”: Dealing with the Sotah (Num. 5.11–31)’, in S. Walters (ed.), Go Figure! Essays on Figuration in Biblical Interpretation (Princeton Theological Monographs; Eugene, OR: Pickwick Press, 2008), pp. 47–64.
  • ‘Aniconism in the Old Testament’, in R.P. Gordon (ed.), The God of Israel (University of Cambridge Oriental Publications, 64; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 20–34.
  • ‘Recasting the Golden Calf: The Imaginative Potential of the Old Testament’s Portrayal of Idolatry’, in S.C. Barton (ed.), Idolatry: False Worship in the Bible, Early Judaism, and Christianity (London: T&T Clark International, 2007), pp. 22–39.

Other Publications

  • ‘Deuteronomy’, CEB Study Bible (Nashville: Abingdon Press/United Methodist Publishing House, 2013), pp. 259–324.

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