Covenant Foundation Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies
Room 207 Peabody Hall

Having graduated Harvard (A.B., M.A., Ph.D) under the tutelage of Frank Moore Cross, George Ernest Wright, Thomas O. Lambdin and Thorkild Jacobsen, Baruch Halpern spent 16 years at York University in Toronto, moving to Penn State in 1992. His publications include 4 books, the most recent of which was David's Secret Demons, and a number of edited volumes and articles. While considered a historian, he insists on the import of language, archaeology and ethnology for the understanding not just of ancient texts, such as the Bible, but also of ancient living patterns and technologies.

"My interests run to anything involving the continuum from theologies to what we distinguish from them as philosophy or natural science, from the level of ritual or that of technics up to (usually Greek) theorizing, or theology. You cannot know the culture without knowing the material culture, either. So we need to combine text with what's in the ground, and, when our evidence is a little dirigible, we also need ethnological help, preferably from our region. This is no different in terms of reconstructing thought than needing to know the central and related languages involved. You can't do everything at once. But if your career trajectory is to be among the real elite, the people whom people who you read read (and if you can figure that syntax out, you're halfway there), then you have to start with basics, fairly systematically, and remember that a degree is only a credential, and doesn't mean you should stop learning, or especially stop learning from professionals."

Formerly editor of the American Schools of Oriental Research Dissertation Series, of the series Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East (now, Culture and History of the Ancient Near East), whose books have won prizes from two scholarly societies, Dr. Halpern is also a former codirector of the Megiddo Expedition and Survey of the Jezreel Valley, as well as of an archaeological survey in southeastern Cilicia (Turkey). He does not play hockey, or much baseball, but is an avid fan of each.


PhD, Harvard