Basic Info

Ehud Ben Zvi (PhD., Emory; G.M. Tucker, supervisor)
Professor Emeritus
Department of History, Classics and Religion
University of Alberta
2-28 HM Tory Building
Edmonton, AB T6G 2H4



Ehud Ben Zvi’s interests include ancient Israelite history and historiography, social memory in ancient Israel, the latter's intellectual history, and the prophetic and historiographical books that eventually became part of the Hebrew Bible. He has worked mainly in the Persian/early Hellenistic period.

Ben Zvi’s has authored or co-authored eight volumes, such as Two Sides of a Coin: Juxtaposing Views on Interpreting the Book of the Twelve/the Twelve Prophetic Books (2009); History, Literature and Theology in the Book of Chronicles (2006); Hosea (2005); Signs of Jonah: Reading and Rereading in Ancient Yehud (2003); Micah (2000) and A Historical-Critical Study of The Book of Obadiah (1996). He has edited or co-edited more than twenty-five books books including, About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period: Recent Research and Approaches from Archaeology, Hebrew Bible Studies and Ancient Near East Studies (2022, with Benedikt Hensel and Diana V. Edelman), The Hunt for Ancient Israel. Essays in Honour of Diana V. Edelman (2022, with Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, Kristin Joachimsen, and Pauline A. Viviano), Centres and Peripheries in the Early Second Temple Period (2016, with Christoph Levin), Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the 5th-2nd Centuries BCE (2016, with Diana V. Edelman), Poets, Prophets, and Texts in Play. Studies in Biblical Poetry and Prophecy in Honour of Francis Landy (2015, with Claudia V. Camp, David M. Gunn and Aaron W. Hughes), Memory and the City in Ancient Israel (2014, with Diana V. Edelman), Thinking of Water in the Early Second Temple Period, (2014, with Christoph Levin) The Economy of Ancient Judah in Its Historical Context (2015, with Marvin Lloyd Miller and Gary N. Knoppers), Imagining the Other and Constructing Israelite Identity in the Early Second Temple Period (2014, with Diana V. Edelman), Remembering Biblical Figures in the Late Persian and Early Hellenistic Periods: Social Memory and Imagination (2013, with Diana V. Edelman), Remembering and Forgetting in Early Second Temple Judah (2012, with Christoph Levin), The Concept of Exile in Ancient Israel and its Historical Contexts (2010, with Christoph Levin), The Production of Prophecy: Constructing Prophecy and Prophets in Yehud (2009; with Diana V. Edelman), A Palimpsest: Rhetoric, Ideology, Stylistics and Language Relating to Persian Israel (2009, with D.V. Edelman and F. Polak) Utopia and Dystopia in Prophetic Literature (2006), The Changing Face of Form Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (2003, with M.A. Sweeney) and Writings and Speech in Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy (2003, with M. Floyd). To these one may add co-editing thematic issues of journals, such as Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 9/4 (2020) - Thematical Issue: Tōrâ-centred Israel. When a Yehudite Concept Met Ptolemaic Egypt (with Sylvie Honigman), and Journal of the Social History of Medicine and Health Vol. III, No.2 (Dec. 2018); Special Issue: Medicine and Health: Perspectives from the Ancient World (with Wei Huang). 

He has written numerous essays on the historical and prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible in which he explores the ways in which ancient Israelites construed their past and the significance of these images of the past for them. His recent work has focused, though not exclusively, in matters of Social Memory in late Persian/early Hellenistic Israel. For more information about Ben Zvi's research, click publications.

He has served as President of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS; 2016-2018), as President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS; 2000-2001) and as President of the Pacific Northwest American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature (1995-1996). He was the first Chair of the InternationalCooperation Initiative (ICI) of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) (2006-2013) and was a Member of Council in the Society of Biblical Literature (2016-2021).

He served as (founding) co-general editor of the SBL series Ancient Near East Monographs (ANEM/MACO) for many years, and as member of other editorial boards. He was the founder of, and served for many years as well as the general editor of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (1996-2014).  He was a co-founder and co-chair of several research programs at the European Association of Biblical Studies (e.g., "Israel and the Production and Reception of Authoritative Books in the Persian and Hellenistic Periods, and "Comparing Ancient Historiographies"). He also founded and co-chaired the unit for the study of the Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts (1998-2006) at the Society of Biblical Literature, and was one of the founders of the the SBL unit Deuteronomistic History which he chaired at some point (1995-1998). He has chaired, co-chaired or served in committees of many additional research groups at various academic associations.  

Ben Zvi is interested in constructivist pedagogical approaches. He taught regularly courses on ancient Near East, ancient Israelite historiography and social memory, history of ancient Palestine (mainly Persian and Hellenistic periods), and biblical Hebrew.

He has been awarded the Killam Annual Professorship (2008-2009; University of Alberta), the 2007 Research Excellence Award (Full Professor Level; Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta), the 2005 McCalla Professorship (University of Alberta) and the 2000 Norman W. Wagner Technology Award of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, and numerous SSHRC grants through his career. In November 2015 his colleagues presented him with a FS. History, Memory, Hebrew Scriptures (Eisenbrauns/Penn State Univ. Press).

Summary of Areas of teaching:

  • Ancient Israelite History, Historiography and Social Memory
  • Memory Studies
  • Hebrew Bible
  • Ancient Near East
  • Second Temple period
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Judaism
  • Introduction to the Religions of the World (Western traditions)

Teaching Website:
Assisting You to Learn

Other Pedagogical Initiatives:
Founder and Supervisor (1999-2004) of Axis Mundi (students' journal); Advisor of Past Imperfect (students' journal; 2007-2009).