Laura Suzanne Lieber

Laura Suzanne Lieber

Professor of Religious Studies

(919) 660-3504

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., University of Chicago 2003

  • M.A., Hebrew Union College 1998

  • B.A., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville 1994

Lieber, L. S. “Kedushah.” Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions.


Lieber, L. S. “"You have skirted This hill long enough": The tension between rhetoric and history in a Byzantine Piyyut.” Hebrew Union College Annual, vol. 80, Dec. 2009, pp. 63–114.

Lieber, L. “Portraits of righteousness: Noah in early christian and jewish hymnography.” Zeitschrift Fur Religions  Und Geistesgeschichte, vol. 61, no. 4, Sept. 2009, pp. 332–55. Scopus, doi:10.1163/157007309789346461. Full Text

Green, D. A., and L. S. Lieber. “Introduction.” Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane, May 2009. Scopus, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206575.003.0001. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “The Exegesis of Love: Text and Context in the Early Synagogue.” Review of Rabbinic Literature, vol. 11, 2008, pp. 73–99.

Lieber, L. “The poet and the tower-builders: A translation and analysis of Yannai's Piyyut for genesis 11.” Review of Rabbinic Judaism, vol. 8, no. 1, June 2005, pp. 163–88. Scopus, doi:10.1163/157007005774513972. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “The Generation that Built the Tower: Yannai on Genesis 11.” Review of Rabbinic Judaism, vol. 8, 2005, pp. 161–88.

Lieber, Laura Suzanne. “Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice. Mark Washofsky.” The Journal of Religion, vol. 82, no. 4, University of Chicago Press, Oct. 2002, pp. 670–71. Crossref, doi:10.1086/491212. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Review of Mark Washofsky, Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice.” Journal of Religion, vol. 82, University of Chicago Press, 2002, pp. 670–71.