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., The University of Chicago 2003

  • M.A., Hebrew Union College 1998

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

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


Lieber, L. S. “Review of Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Song and Memory. Biblical Women in Syriac Tradition (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2010).Zeitschrift Für Religions  Und Geistesgeschichte, vol. 62, 2010, pp. 393–393.

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