Mark Stratton John Matthew Smith (born December 6, 1956) is an American professor and Biblical scholar who currently holds the Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.
Born in Paris to Donald Eugene Smith and Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Reichert, Smith grew up in Washington, D.C. with his six sisters and two brothers. For elementary school, he attended Blessed Sacrament School. For grades 7-12, he went to St. Anselm's Abbey School.
Smith began his university studies at The Johns Hopkins University receiving his B.A. in English in 1976. He received his Masters in theology at Catholic University of America in 1978. His studies included courses with Patrick Skehan, Joseph Fitzmyer, and Aloysius Fitzgerald. He received a Masters of Theological Studies, concentrating in biblical studies, at Harvard Divinity School, in 1981. At Harvard, Smith studied with Frank Moore Cross, Thomas Lambdin, William Moran, Michael D. Coogan, Paul Hanson, Dieter Georgi and George MacRae. Primarily studying West Semitic languages and literatures, including Hebrew Bible, Smith took an M.A. (1982), M.Phil. (1983), and Ph.D. (1985) in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Yale University. His advisor and director of his dissertation on Kothar wa-Hasis, the Ugaritic Craftsman God, was Marvin H. Pope, author of many works on Ugaritic and biblical religion, including two major commentaries in the Anchor Bible series on the Song of Songs and Job. At Yale, Smith also studied with Franz Rosenthal, Brevard Childs, Robert R. Wilson, and W. W. Hallo. While writing his dissertation, he studied at the Hebrew University for a year (1984–1985) under Jonas C. Greenfield.
After graduate school, Smith focused on the history of Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion. He also began to explore the representation of deities and divinity in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East from the Bronze Age to the Greco-Roman period. For several summers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he also studied Dead Sea Scrolls with John Strugnell at the Ecole Biblique. This work issued in the publications of four manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Smith's contributions to the study of the Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitic texts as well as Ugaritic literature and religion are in refs.
Smith has been married since 1983 to the archaeologist Elizabeth M. Bloch-Smith, author of Judahite Burials and Beliefs about the Dead. They are the parents of Benjamin, Rachel and Shulamit.
Fellowships and honors
- Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, New York University, 2007
- Frank Moore Cross Publications Award, American Schools of Oriental Research, 2005
- Golden Dozen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, New York University, 2001
- Fellow, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1998
- Faculty Merit Award for Research, Saint Joseph's University, 1995
- Morse Fellow, Yale University, 1993
- Dorot Dead Sea Scrolls Fellow (summer), W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research, 1990
- Mellon Faculty Fellowship Leave (spring term), Yale University 1989
- Recipient of the Mitchell Dahood Memorial Prize 1988, 1990
- Post-doctoral fellow W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research, 1988
- Annual Professor, W. F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research, 1987
- Mary Cady Tew prize for best first-year graduate student, Yale University, 1982
- Member, Catholic Biblical Association of America, Society of Biblical Literature, Colloquium for Biblical Research, Old Testament Colloquium, and Association for Jewish Studies
- Chairperson, Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series
- Co-editor, Forschungen zum Alten Testament Series, published by Mohr Siebeck
- Psalms: The Divine Journey (New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1987).
- The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (San Francisco/New York: Harper & Row, 1990).
- The Laments of Jeremiah and Their Context: A Literarv and Redactional Study of Jeremiah 11-20 (Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series, vol. 42; Atlanta, GA: Scholars, 1990).
- The Origins and Development of the Waw-Consecutive: Northwest Semitic Evidence from Ugarit to Qumran (Harvard Semitic Studies Series, vol. 39; Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1991).
- The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume 1. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2 (Vetus Testamentum Supplements series, vol. 55; Leiden: Brill, 1994).
- The Pilgrimage Pattern in Exodus, with contributions by Elizabeth M. Bloch-Smith (Journal for the Society of Old Testament Supplement Series, vol. 239; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997).
- The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
- Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2001).
- The Memoirs of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004).
- The Rituals and Myths of the Goodly Gods (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006).
- God in Translation: Deities in Cross-cultural Discourse in the Biblical World (Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008).
- The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume 2. Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.3-1.4 (Vetus Testament Supplement series, vol. 114; Leiden: Brill, 2009). Co-authored with Wayne T. Pitard.
- Exodus (Fascicle 2, Old Testament, The New Collegeville Bible Commentary series; Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, in press; to appear in 2009).
- Stories From Ancient Canaan (second revised and expanded edition; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, to be published in 2009).
Co-authored with Michael D. Coogan.
- “Berît ‘åm/berît ‘ôlåm: A New Proposal for the Crux of Isa 42:6,” Journal of Biblical Literature 100 (1981) 241-43.
- “The 'Son of Man' in Ugaritic,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983) 59-60.
- “The Magic of Kothar wa-Hasis, the Ugaritic Craftsman God, in KTU 1.6 VI 49-50,” Revue biblique 91 (1984) 377-80.
- “Baal's Cosmic Secret,” Ugarit-Forschungen 16 (1984) 295-98.
- “Divine Travel as a Token of Divine Rank,” Ugarit-Forschungen 16 (1984) 397.
- “Baal in the Land of Death,” Ugarit-Forschungen 17 (1985) 311-14.
- “Jeremiah IX 9 - A Divine Lament,” Vetus Testamentum 37 (1985) 97-99.
- “Interpreting the Baal Cycle,” Ugarit-Forschungen 18 (1986) 313-39.
- “Mt. Ll in KTU 1.2 I 19-20,” Ugarit-Forschungen 18 (1986) 458.
- “God Male and Female in the Old Testament: Yahweh and his 'asherah,” Theological Studies 48 (1987) 333-40.
- “Biblical and Canaanite Notes to the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice from Qumran,” Revue de Qumran 12 (1987) 585-88.
- “'Seeing God' in the Psalms: The Background to the Beatific Vision in the Hebrew Scriptures,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 50 (1988) 171-83.
- “Jews and Judaism in the Catholic Lectionary,” in Fireball & The Lotus: Emerging Spirituality from Ancient Roots (edited by Ron Miller and Jim Kenney; Sante Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1987) 56-64.
- “Death and Afterlife in Ugarit and Israel” (a review article, with Elizabeth M. Bloch-Smith), Journal of the American Oriental Society 108 (1988) 277-84.
- “Death in Jeremiah IX, 20,” Ugarit-Forschungen 19 (1988) 289-93.
- “Setting and Rhetoric in Psalm 23,” Journal for the Society of Old Testament 41 (1988) 61-66.
- “Divine Form and Size in Ugaritic and Israelite Religion,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 100 (1988) 424-27.
- “The Structure of Psalm LXXXVII,” Vetus Testamentum 38 (1988) 357-58.
- “God and Zion: Form and Meaning in Psalm 48,” Studi epigrafici e linguistici 6 (1989) 67-77.
- “The Near Eastern Background of Solar Language for Yahweh,” Journal of Biblical Literature 109 (1990) 29-39.
- “Poetic Structure in KTU 1.3 I 4-21,” Ugarit-Forschungen 22 (1990) 317-19.
- “The Levitical Compilation of the Psalter,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 103 (1991) 258-63.
- “Converted and Unconverted Perfect and Imperfect Forms in the Literature of Qumran,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 284 (1991) 1-16.
- “The Waw-Consecutive at Qumran,” Zeitschrift für Althebraistik 4 (1991) 161-64.
- “4Q462 (Narrative) Fragment 1: A Preliminary Edition,” Revue de Qumrân 57-58/15 (1991 = Mémorial Jean Starcky I: Textes et études qumrâniens [edited by Emile Puech and F. García Martinez; Paris: Gabalda, 1991]) 55-77.
- “The Psalms as a Book for Pilgrims,” Interpretation 46 (1992) 156-66.
- “Rephaim,” in Anchor Bible Dictionary. Volume 5. O-Sh (edited by D. N. Freedman; New York: Doubleday, 1992) 674-76.
- “The Theology of the Redaction of the Psalter: Some Observations,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 104 (1992) 408-12.
- “The Invocation of Dead Ancestors in Ps 49:12c,” Journal of Biblical Literature 112 (1993) 105-7.
- “Redactional Theology of Biblical Books: An Example from the Psalter,” in In Service of the Church: Essays on Theology and Ministry honoring Reverend Charles L. Froehle (edited by V. J. Klimoski and M. C. Athans; St. Paul, MN: The Saint Paul Seminary/School of Divinity, University of Saint Thomas, 1993) 121-27.
- “Introduction,” in Marvin H. Pope, Probative Pontificating in Ugaritic and Biblical Studies: Collected Essays (edited by Mark S. Smith; Ugaritisch-Biblische Literatur series, volume 10; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1994) 1-13.
- “Myth and Myth-making in Ugaritic and Israelite Literatures,” in Ugarit and the Bible: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ugarit and the Bible, Manchester, September 1992 (edited by G. J. Brooke, A. H. W. Curtis and J. F. Healey; Ugaritisch-Biblische Literatur 11; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1994) 293-341.
- “Yahweh and the Other Deities of Ancient Israel: Observations on Old Problems and Recent Trends,” in Ein Gotte allein? JHWH-Verehrung und biblischer Monotheismus im Kontext der israelitischen und altorientalischen Religionsgeshichte (edited by W. Dietrich and M. A. Klopfenstein; Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 139; Freiburg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994) 197-234.
- “The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Volume I: Corrections to Transcriptions,” Ugarit-Forschungen 26 (1994) 455.
- “Correspondence” (invited response to G. A. Rendsburg, review of The Origins and Development of the Waw-Consecutive), Hebrew Studies 35 (1994) 248-49.
- “The *qatala Form in Ugaritic Poetry and Hebrew Narrative,” in Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom (edited by D. P. Wright, D. N. Freedman, and A. Hurvitz; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1995) 787-801.
- “Anat's Warfare Cannibalism and the Biblical Herem,” in The Pitcher Is Broken: Memorial Essays in Honor of Gösta W. Ahlström (edited by L. K. Handy and S. Holloway; JSOTSupplement series 190; Sheffield: JSOT, 1995) 368-86.
- “The God Athtar in the Ancient Near East and His Place in KTU 1.6 I,” in Solving Riddles and Untying Knots: Biblical, Epigraphic, and Semitic Studies Presented to Jonas C. Greenfield (edited by Z. Zevit, S. Gitin and M. Sokoloff; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1995) 627-40.
- “Mythmaking and Mythology in Canaan and Israel,” in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (edited by J. M. Sasson; four volumes; New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1995) 3.2031-41.
- “The Literary Arrangement of the Priestly Redaction of the Book of Exodus: A Preliminary Investigation,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 58 (1996) 25-50.
- “How To Write a Poem: The Case of Psalm 151A in 11QPsa 28:3-12,” in The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira: Proceedings of a Symposium held at Leiden University, 11–14 December 1995 (edited by T. Muraoka and J. F. Elwolde; Studies in the Texts of the Judean Desert 26; Leiden: Brill, 1997) 182-208.
- “Psalm 8:2b-3: New Proposals for Old Problems,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 59 (1997) 637-41.
- “The Heart and Innards in Israelite Emotional Expressions: Notes from Anthropology and Psychobiology,” Journal of Biblical Literature 117/3 (1998) 427-36. To be translated into German for a volume entitled, Anthropologische Aufbrüche: Alttestamentliche Menschenkonzepte und anthropologische Positionen und Methoden (edited by Andreas Wagner; Forschungen zum Alten Testament; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, in press).
- “Terms of Endearment: 'Dog' (klbt) and 'Calf' (‘gl) in KTU 1.3 III 44-45,” in “Und Mose schrieb dieses Lieb auf...”. Studien zum Alten Testament und zum Alten Orient: Festchrift für Oswald Loretz zur Vollendung seines 70. Lebenjahres mit Beiträgen von Freuden, Schülern und Kollegen (edited by M. Dietrich and I. Kottsieper; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1998) 713-16.
- “The Death of ‘Dying and Rising Gods’ in the Biblical World: An Update, with Special Reference to Baal in the Baal Cycle,” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 12/2 (1998) 257-313.
- “A Potpourri of Popery: Marginalia from the Life and Notes of Marvin H. Pope,” Ugarit-Forschungen 30 (1998) 645-64.
- “Matters of Space and Time in Exodus and Numbers,” in Theological Exegesis: Essays in Conversation with Brevard S. Childs (edited by C. Seitz and K. Greene-McCreight; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999) 182-207.
- “Grammatically Speaking: The Participle as a Main Verb of Clauses (Predicative Participle) in Direct Discourse and Narrative in Pre-Mishnaic Hebrew,” in Sirach, Scrolls and Sages: Proceedings of a Second International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ben Sira and the Mishnah, held at Leiden University, 15–17 December 1997 (edited by T. Muraoka and J. F. Elwolde; Studies in the Texts of the Judean Desert 33; Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 1999) 278-332.
- “Ugaritic Studies and the Hebrew Bible, 1968-1998 (with an Excursus on Judean Monotheism and the Ugaritic Texts),” in Congress Volume. Oslo, 1998 (edited by A. Lemaire and M. Saebø; Vetus Testamentum Supplements; Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2000) 327-52.
- “’I Will Now Arise' (Psalm 12:6): Four Marks of Social Justice in Scripture,” in Jesuit Education 21: Conference Proceedings on the Future of Jesuit Higher Education. 25–29 June 1999 (edited by M. R. Tripole; Philadelphia: Saint Joseph's University Press, 2000) 119-23.
- “W. F. Albright and His 'Household': The Cases of C. H. Gordon, M. H. Pope and F. M. Cross,” in “A Wise and Discerning Mind”: Essays in Honor of Burke Long (edited by S. M. Olyan and R. C. Culley Brown Judaic Studies 325; Providence, Rhode Island: Brown Judaic Studies, 2000) 221-44.
- “The Infinitive Absolute as Predicative Verb in Ben Sira and the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Preliminary Survey,” in Diggers at the Well: Proceedings of a Third International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira (edited by T. Muraoka and J. F. Elwolde; Studies in the Texts of the Judean Desert 36; Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2000) 256-67.
- “El,” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (edited by D. N. Freedman; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000) 384-86.
- “Re-reading Monotheistically: God in the Bible in Recent Literature” (review article of J. Miles: God: A Biography, P. Ricouer, Figuring the Sacred, and Aspects of Monotheism, essays by D. B. Redford, W. Dever, P. K. McCarter and J. J. Collins), Religious Studies Review 27/1 (2001) 25-31.
- “Taking Inspiration: Authorship, Revelation, and the Book of Psalms,” in Psalms and Practice: Worship, Virtue, and Authority (edited by S. B. Reid; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001) 244-73.
- “The Poetics of Exodus 15 and Its Position in the Book,” in Imagery and Imagination in Biblical Literature: Essays in Honor of Aloysius Fitzgerald, F. S. C. (edited by L. Boadt and M. S. Smith; Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 32; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2001) 23-34.
- “The Divine Family at Ugarit and Israelite Monotheism,” in The Whirlwind: Essays on Job, Hermeneutics and Theology in Memory of Jane Morse (edited by S. L. Cook, C. L. Patton and J. M. Watts; JSOTSupplement Series 336; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) 40-68.
- “Remembering God: Collective Memory in Israelite Religion,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 64 (2002) 631-51.
- “Reading, Writing and Interpretation: Two Notes on Jubilees and Pseudo-Jubilees,” in Hamlet on a Hill: Semitic and Greek Studies Presented to Professor T. Muraoka on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday (edited by M. F. J. Baasten and W. Th. van Peursen; Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 118; Leuven: Peeters, 2003) 441-47.
- “Ugaritic Studies and Israelite Religion: A Retrospective View,” Near Eastern Archaeology 65/1 (2002) = The House That Albright Built (Centennial Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, November 1999; edited by J. E. Wright; American Schools of Oriental Research, appeared in 2003) 17-29.
- “When the Heavens Darkened: Yahweh, El, and the Divine Astral Family in Iron Age II Judah,” in Symbiosis, Symbolism, and the Power of the Past: Canaan, Ancient Israel, and Their Neighbors – From the Late Bronze Age through Roman Palaestina (edited by W. G. Dever and S. Gitin; the AIAR Anniversary Volume; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003) 265-77, plus comment on page 558.
- “Astral Religion and the Representation of Divinity: The Cases of Ugarit and Judah,” in Prayer, Magic and the Stars in the Ancient and Late Antique World (edited by S. Noegel, J. Walker and B. M. Wheeler; Magic in History series; University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003) 187-206.
- “Deities and Demons: Israel,” in Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (edited by Sarah Iles Johnston; Cambridge, MA/London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004) 402-4.
- “The Polemic of Biblical Monotheism: Outsider Context and Insider Referentiality in Second Isaiah,” in Religious Polemics in Context: Papers presented to the Second International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden 27–28 April 2000 (edited by T. L. Hettema and A. van der Kooij; Leuven: Peeters, 2004) 201-34.
- “Littérature et religion d’Ougarit et d’Israël – les differences dans la resemblance,” Théolib Nouvelle Série: numéro 29, année VIII/1 (2005) (Paris: Société de presse du libéralisme théologique) 5-25.
- “Ugaritic Literature,” The Bible Today (2005) 165-69.
- “Like Deities, Like Temples (Like People),” in Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel (edited by John Day; Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, formerly Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement series, vol. 422; London/New York: T. & T. Clark, 2005) 3-27.
- Review article of Ziony Zevit, The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallelactic Approaches, Maarav 11/2 (2004; appeared 2006) 145-218.
- “In Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6-7): Between Text and Archaeology,” in Confronting the Past: Archaeological and Historical Essays on Ancient Israel in Honor of William G. Dever (edited by S. Gitin, J. E. Wright and J. P. Dessel; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006) 275-82.
- “The Structure of Divinity at Ugarit and Israel: The Case of Anthropomorphic Deities versus Monstrous Divinities,” in Text, Artifact, and Image: Revealing Ancient Israelite Religion (edited by Gary Beckman and Theodore J. Lewis; Brown Judaic Studies 346; Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2006) 38-63.
- “Primary and Secondary Religion in Psalms 91 and 139: A Response to Dr. Andreas Wagner,” in Primäre und sekundäre Religion als Kategorie der Religionsgeschichte des Alten Testament (edited by Andreas Wagner; Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 364; Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006) 99-103.
- “Biblical Narrative between Ugaritic and Akkadian Literature: Part I: Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible: Consideration of Recent Comparative Research,” Revue Biblique 114/1 (2007) 5-29.
- “Biblical Narrative between Ugaritic and Akkadian Literature: Part II,” Revue Biblique 114 (2007) 189-207.
- ”’Your People Shall be My People’: Family and Covenant in Ruth 1:16-17,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 69 (2007) 242-58.
- “Recent Study of Israelite Religion in Light of the Ugaritic Texts,” in Ugarit at Seventy-Five (edited by K. Lawson Younger Jr.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2007) 1-25.
- “Counting Calves at Bethel,” in “Up to the Gates of Ekron: Essays on the Archaeology and History of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honor of Seymour Gitin” (editor-in-chief, Sidnie White Crawford; editors, Amnon Ben-Tor, J. P. Dessel, William G. Dever, Amihai Mazar, and Joseph Aviram; Jerusalem: The W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research/The Israel Exploration Society, 2007) 382-94.
- “Ancient Near Eastern ‘Myths’ and the Hebrew Bible: Interim Reflections,” in Was ist der Mensch, dass du seiner gedenkst? (Psalm 8,5): Aspekte einer theologischen Anthropologie. Festschrift für Bernd Janowski zum 65. Geburstag (edited by Michaela Bauks, Kathrin Liess and Peter Riede; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2008) 487-501.
- “’Sacred Marriage’ in the Ugaritic Texts? The Case of KTU/CAT 1.23 (Rituals and Myths of the Goodly Gods),” in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity (edited by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008) 93-113.
- “Light in Genesis 1:3 - Created or Uncreated: A Question of Priestly Mysticism?” in Birkat Shalom: Studies in the Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Literature, and Post-Bibllical Judaism Presented to Shalom M. Paul on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (edited by Chaim Cohen et al.; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008) 125-34.