Laura Suzanne Lieber
Professor of Religious Studies
My primary area of research is in the area of synagogue poetry ("piyyut") from Late Antiquity and the Byzantine period. I examine these works from a variety of perspectives, including literary, performative, and comparative (particularly with early Christian hymnography in Syriac and Greek), and also as a genre of early Jewish biblical interpretation. In recent years, I have begun to integrate the study of material culture into my analysis of these literary works, as part of taking a more fully "contextual" approach to literary analysis. My most recent work approaches late ancient hymnography through the lens of theater studies and performance.
Education & Training:
Ph.D., The University of Chicago 2003
M.A., Hebrew Union College 1998
B.A., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 1994
Lieber, L. S. “Piyyut.” Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History, and Culture, edited by Judith Baskin, Cambridge UP, 2011, pp. 479–80.
Lieber, L. S. “The Song of Songs.” Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History, and Culture, edited by Judith Baskin, Cambridge UP, 2011, pp. 552–53.
Lieber, L. S. ““Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry)".” The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, edited by Gideon Bohak, Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2011.
Lieber, L. S. “Post-Biblical Exegesis: Parashat Tetzaveh.” The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Andrea Weiss, URJ Press / Women of Reform Judaism, 2008, pp. 490–91.
Lieber, L. S. “Penitential Themes in Early Synagogue Poetry.” Penitential Prayer: Origins, Development, and Impact, edited by Mark J. Boda et al., vol. 3, SBL / Brill, 2008, pp. 99–125.
Lieber, L. S. “Confessions from A-Z: Penitential Forms in Early Synagogue Poetry.” Penitential Prayer: Origins, Development, and Impact, edited by M. Boda et al., Society of Bibilical Literature, 2008, pp. 99–125.
Lieber, L. S. “Piyyut.” The Encyclopedia of Judaism, vol. 3, Brill, 2005, pp. 2000–19.
Lieber, L. S. “‘O, my dove in the cranny of the rocks, let me see your face!’ Targum, piyyut, and the literary life of the ancient synagogue.” Paratext and Megatext As Channels of Jewish and Christian Traditions, edited by August A den Hollander et al., BRILL, 2003.
Lieber, L. S. “Jewish Worship.” The Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient Media, edited by E. Stern et al., T&T Clark.
Lieber, L. S. “Stage Mothers: Performing the Matriarchs in Genesis Rabbah and Yannai.” Genesis Rabbah Conference Volume, edited by P. Schaefer et al., de Gruyter.
Lieber, L. S. “The Plot within the Piyyut: Retelling the Story of Balak on the Liturgical Stage.” The Journal for Textual Reasoning, vol. 8, 2014.
Lieber, L. S. “The Play’s the Thing: The Theatricality of Jewish Aramaic Poetry from Late Antiquity.” Jewish Quarterly Review, 2013.
Lieber, Laura S. “The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature.” Interpretation a Journal of Bible and Theology, vol. 66, no. 3, July 2012, pp. 334–35.
Lieber, L. S. “Review of Geza Vermes, Jesus in the Jewish World.” Theology, vol. 115, 2012, pp. 53–54.
Lieber, L. S. “Review of Deborah Green, The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature.” Interpretation, vol. 66, 2012, pp. 334–35.
Lieber, L. S. “Themes and Variations: Yannai on Exod. 3:1 and Deut. 6:4.” Prooftexts, vol. 30, Jewisht Theological Seminary, 2011, pp. 180–213.
Lieber, L. S. “Review of Isa Aron, Steven M. Cohen, Lawrence A. Hoffman, and Ari Y. Kelman, Sacred Strategies, Transforming Synagogues from Functional to Visionary (Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 2010).” Worship, 2011, pp. 270–72.
Lieber, L. S. “Essays on Michael Fishbane, Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology.” The Ccar Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, edited by L. Edwards, 2011.
Lieber, L. “Themes and variations: Yannai on exodus 3:1 and Deuteronomy 6:4.” Prooftexts Journal of Jewish Literature History, vol. 30, no. 2, Dec. 2010, pp. 180–216. Scopus, doi:10.2979/prooftexts.30.2.180. Full Text
Lieber, L. S. “The rhetoric of participation: Experiential elements of early hebrew liturgical poetry.” Journal of Religion, vol. 90, no. 2, Apr. 2010, pp. 119–47. Scopus, doi:10.1086/649845. Full Text