You are here

Mahri Leonard-Fleckman



Religious Studies

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., New York University
Fields: Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Studies


Contact Information

Office Phone: 508-793-3435
Office: Smith 431

Research Leave Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

facebook twitter youtube instagram wordpress 


Mahri Leonard-Fleckman was trained in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East by NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies (Ph.D. 2014). She is also a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (B.A. in Spanish and English Literature) and Union Theological Seminary in New York (M.Div.). After college, Leonard-Fleckman served in the Peace Corps Dominican Republic for two years. While in graduate school, she taught in the Religious Studies Department at Marymount High School in New York and led summer immersion trips for high school students to the Dominican Republic. Before transitioning to the College of the Holy Cross, Leonard-Fleckman was an assistant professor at the University of Scranton and at Providence College. She teaches a variety of courses on the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, including classes that cross-list with Classics; Environmental Studies; and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Research Interests

Leonard-Fleckman specializes in ancient Israelite society and politics within the context of the Ancient Near East (especially the Iron Age northern Levant and the Neo-Assyrian empire). She also specializes in literary history and the development of the Hebrew Bible. She works at the intersection of these areas to foster her deep, ongoing interest in the relationship between literature, history and society.

Her current book project (Landscaping Language: Interpreting Borders and Identities in the Iron Age Shephelah) engages with archaeology, anthropology, literary and spatial theories to explore assumed notions of identities and borders in the Shephelah (lowlands) of Israel in the Iron Age. This area has become one of the most intensely excavated regions in the world, and archaeological evidence reveals it to have been a complex social and political landscape throughout the Iron Age. There is no clear consensus on how to reconstruct or categorize people and social groups in this region, and categories derive mainly from the Bible and Neo-Assyrian witnesses. The Shephelah therefore offers a unique opportunity to reexamine the ancient written records and their diverse interpretations of social landscape—including the identities and social groups that shaped geography and gave it meaning—as well as contemporary discussions of identity, boundary construction and border crossing.

Leonard-Fleckman also engages in public scholarship and works to bridge scholarship with contemporary religious concerns and Jewish-Christian dialogue. She has published in Commonweal and America Magazine, is a regular contributor to Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic (Liturgical Press), and is currently working on a three-volume series called Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study (Liturgical Press, 2020, 2021 and 2022). 


Articles (Select)