Pamela Barmash

Pamela Barmash

Professor of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew
PhD, Harvard University
research interests:
  • Hebrew Bible
  • Law and justice
  • History of law
  • Law and literature
  • Religions of the Ancient Near East
  • History of scriptural interpretation
  • History and memory
  • Rabbinic Judaism
  • Linguistic and literary development of the Hebrew language

contact info:

mailing address:

  • MSC 1121-107-113
    Washington University
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Pamela Barmash has published widely on biblical and ancient Near Eastern law and on history and memory.

Barmash received her BA from Yale, rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and PhD from Harvard. In her academic scholarship, she addresses issues of law and justice in her book Homicide in the Biblical World (2005, Cambridge University Press) and in her edited volume The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law (2019, Oxford University Press). She shows how Jews have transformed the story of the Exodus and the celebration of Passover to meet changing needs and concerns in Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations (2015, Lexington Books, edited with W. David Nelson). She is currently finishing a monograph on the Laws of Hammurabi, and she is editing a book on how the transition from one empire to another in antiquity influenced how communities remember and imagine themselves. In her rabbinic writing, she is the author of teshuvot (rabbinic responsa) on contemporary issues in Judaism.

She teaches courses at WashU on modern perspectives on the Bible, law and justice, mythology, the problem of evil, traditional Scriptural interpretation, and biblical and ancient Jewish history, culture, and religion.

She is the editor of Hebrew Studies, and she served as the director of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies at Washington University from 2005-2011. She has been a fellow at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Selected Publications

The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law (2019, Oxford University Press)

Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations (2015, Lexington Books, edited with W. David Nelson)

Homicide in the Biblical World (2005, Cambridge University Press)

The Laws of Hammurabi: At the Confluence of Royal & Scribal Traditions

The Laws of Hammurabi: At the Confluence of Royal & Scribal Traditions

Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations

Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations