Mark S. Smith

Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies; Skirball Professor of Bible

Catholic University of America, MA, 1978; Harvard Divinity School, MTS 1981; Yale University, MA, 1982; PhD 1985

Office: 53 Washington Square South, Room 209

Phone: (212)998-8975

Research Interests

Bible; Israelite religion and culture; Ugaritic literature and religion; Hebrew grammar; Dead Sea Scrolls


Mark S. Smith has held the Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University since 2000. Professor Smith completed his PhD at Yale in 1985, after taking Masters degrees from the Catholic University of America, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale University. He graduated with a BA in English from The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to 2000, he taught at Yale University and Saint Joseph’s University. In 2004 Professor Smith was the Catholic Biblical Association visiting professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He has served twice as Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in 1997 and in 2011. He was honored as President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America in 2010-2011, and in 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is also a two-time winner of New York University’s Golden Dozen Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the recipient of the Frank Moore Cross award for publication awarded by the American Schools of Oriental Research.

Professor Smith’s publications and research range from the Late Bronze Age literature and religion of Ugarit, to the Hebrew Bible and Israelite religion. His work has focussed in particular on God and other gods and goddesses. He has authored over 100 essays and articles, including first editions of four minor manuscripts from Cave Four of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has authored thirteen books and co-authored four others.

External Affiliations

Society of Biblical Literature; Catholic Biblical Association; Colloquium for Biblical Research; Old Testament Colloquium; Association for Jewish Studies; Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series, Editor

Select Publications


co-author, Stories From Ancient Canaan (Westminster John Knox, 2012)

Exodus (Liturgical Press, 2011)

The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1 (Fortress, 2010)

God in Translation: Deities in Cross-Cultural Discourse in the Biblical World (Mohr Siebeck, 2008; Eerdmans. 2010)

co-author, The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume 2. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.3-1.4 (Brill, 2009)

The Memoirs of God: History, Memory, and the Experience of God in Ancient Israel (Fortress Press, 2004).  Portuguese edition: O memorial de Deus: História, memória e a experiência do divino no Antigo Israel (Paulus Editora, 2006)

The Sacrificial Rituals and Myths of the Goodly Gods, KTU/CAT 1.23: Royal Constructions of Opposition, Intersection, Integration and Domination (Society of Biblical Literature/Brill, 2006)

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (Oxford University Press, 2001; paperback edition, 2003)

Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century (Hendrickson Publishers, 2001)


“Ancient Near Eastern ‘Myths’ and the Hebrew Bible: Interim Reflections,” in Was ist der Mensch, dass du seiner gedenkst? (Psalm 8,5): Aspekte einer theologischen Anthropologie. Festschrift für Bernd Janowski zum 65. Geburstag (edited by Michaela Bauks, Kathrin Liess and Peter Riede; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008) 487-501.  

“’Sacred Marriage’ in the Ugaritic Texts? The Case of KTU/CAT 1.23 (Rituals and Myths of the Goodly Gods),” in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity (edited by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008) 93-113.  

“Light in Genesis 1:3 - Created or Uncreated: A Question of Priestly Mysticism?” in Birkat Shalom: Studies in the Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Literature, and Post-Bibllical Judaism Presented to Shalom M. Paul on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday: Volume 1 (edited by Chaim Cohen et al.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008) 125-34.  

“Theism and Violence in the Ancient World:  
The Argument of Jan Assman” (crítica bibliográfica /review essay of Jan Assmann, Of God and Gods: Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism), Sefarad 69/1 (2009) 229-35. 

“Herz und Innereien in israelistischen Gefühläußerungen: Notizen aus der Anthropologie und Psychobiologie,” in Anthrologische Aufbrüche: Alttestamentliche und interdisziplinäre Zugänge zur historischen Anthropologie (edited by Andreas Wagner; Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten Testament und Neuen Testaments, volume 232; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009) 171-81.  German translation of “The Heart and Innards in Israelite Emotional Expressions: Notes from Anthropology and Psychobiology,” Journal of Biblical Literature 117/3 (1998) 427-36.   

“What is Prologue is Past: Composing Israelite Identity in Judges 5,” in Thus Says the Lord: Essays on the Former and Latter Prophets in Honor of Rober R. Wilson (edited by John J. Ahn and Stephen L. Cook; Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies volume 502; New York/London: T & T Clark, 2009) 43-58.  

“Ugarit, Texts and Literature,” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (edited by Katherine Sackenfeld et al.; Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2010).  

“What is a Scriptural Text in the Second Temple Period?  Texts between their Biblical Past, their Inner-Biblical Interpretation, Their Reception in Second Temple Literature, and their Textual Witnesses,” in The Dead Sea Scrolls at 60: Scholarly Contributions of New York University Faculty and Alumni (edited by Lawrence H. Schiffman and Shani Tzoref; Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 89; Leiden: Brill, 2010) 271-98.  

“The Blessing God and Goddess: A Longitudinal View from Ugarit to “Yahweh and ...his asherah” at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud,” in Enigmas and Images: Studies in Honor of Tryggve N. D. Mettinger (edited by Göran Eidevall and Blazenka Scheuer; Coniectana Biblica Old Testament Series 58; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011) 213-26.  

“God in Translation: Cross-Cultural Recognition of Divinity in Ancient Israel,” in Reconsidering the Concept of Revolutionary Monotheism (ed. Beate Pongratz-Leisten; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011) 241-70.  

“Why was ‘Old Poetry’ Used in Hebrew Narrative? Historical and Cultural Considerations about Judges 5,” in Puzzling out the Past: Studies in the Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures in Honor of Bruce Zuckerman (ed. Marilyn J. Lundberg, Steven Fine, and Wayne T. Pitard; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2012) 197-212.

“Textual Interpretation in 7th-6th Century Israel: Between Competition, Textualisation and Tradition,” in Textual Criticism and Dead Sea Scrolls Studies in Honour of Julio Trebolle Barrera: Florilegium Complutense (ed. Andrés Piquer Otero and Pablo A. Torijano Morales; Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 158; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 317-23.  

“God in Israel’s Bible: Divinity between the World and Israel, between the Old and the New,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 74/1 (2012) 1-27 (presidential address).  

“The Concept of the ‘City’ (‘Town’) in Ugarit,” in Die Stadt im Zwölfprophetenbuch (ed. Aaron Schart and Jutta Krispenz; BZAW 428; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012) 107-46.  

“The Problem of the God and His Manifestations: The Case of the Baals at Ugarit, with Implications for Yahweh of Various Locales,” in Die Stadt im Zwölfprophetenbuch (ed. Aaron Schart and Jutta Krispenz; BZAW; 428 Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012) 205-50.


Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research (2011); Annual Professor, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (2011); President, The Catholic Biblical Association of America (2010-2011); Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, NYU (2005 and 2007); Frank Moore Cross Publications Award, American Schools of Oriental Research (2005); Fellow, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (1998); Faculty Merit Award for Research, Saint Joseph's University (1995); Morse Fellow, Yale University (1993); Dorot Dead Sea Scrolls Fellow, W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research (1990); Mellon Faculty Fellowship Leave, Yale University (1989); Recipient of the Mitchell Dahood Memorial Prize (1988, 1990); Post-doctoral fellow W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research (1988); Annual Professor, W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research (1987)