Peter Machinist

Peter Machinist's primary interests are in the cultural, intellectual, and social history of the ancient Near East, focusing particularly on ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible and on ancient Mesopotamia. Within this framework, his research and teaching are especially concerned with the comparative study of cultures, including such topics as the ideology of imperialism and other forms of group identification; ancient historiography; mythology; prophecy; Assyrian history; and the history of modern biblical and other Near Eastern scholarship. Machinist received his education at Harvard University (AB), Yale University (MPhil, PhD), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been teaching at Harvard University since 1991, becoming Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages in 1992, and serving both in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as a member of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and in the Harvard Divinity School. Earlier, he taught in departments of religion or Near Eastern Studies at Case Western Reserve University (1971-77), the University of Arizona, Tucson (1977-86), and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1986-90). He also was visiting lecturer (1981) and Lady Davis Visiting Professor in Jewish History (2003) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany (1984-85) and of the Oxford University Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2008-09), and was awarded a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland (2009).