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Mahri Leonard-Fleckman



Religious Studies

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


Contact Information

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

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Mahri Leonard-Fleckman is an assistant professor of Religious Studies and an affiliate of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. from New York University in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in Spanish and English Literature, after which she served in the Peace Corps Dominican Republic. Before transitioning to the College of the Holy Cross, Leonard-Fleckman was an assistant professor at the University of Scranton (2015-2016) and at Providence College (2016-2018). 

Prof. Leonard-Fleckman is a historian of the Ancient Middle East who specializes in the Iron Age Levant, and a literary historian of the Hebrew Bible with special attention to the former prophets (Joshua - Kings). Much of her work lies at the intersection of literature, history and anthropology. She is the author of The House of David: Between Political Formation and Literary Revision (Fortress Press, 2016), which examines the development of Israel's early monarchy in relation to first-millennium Aramaean polities and the literary history of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. She is also the co-author of The Book of Ruth in the Wisdom Commentary Series (with Alice Laffey, Liturgical Press, 2017), the first series to offer detailed feminist interpretation of every book of the Bible. Her current project, Fashioning the Other: Scribal Representations and Social Landscapes of the Iron Age Shephelah, explores the Shephelah or "lowlands" of ancient Israel in relation to broader issues of identity and archaeological debates on the region's social composition. The project is funded by grants from the Catholic Biblical Association (2018-2019, 2021-2022).

Prof. Leonard-Fleckman is also active in public scholarship, bridging academic work 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 the three-volume series Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study (Liturgical Press, 2020, 2021 and 2022), a 2021 finalist for an Excellence in Publishing Award through the Association of Catholic Publishers.


  • RELS 126 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
  • RELS 242 Sex, Gender & the Hebrew Bible (cross-listed with GSWS)
  • RELS/CLAS 299 God(s) and (Wo)men in Antiquity (cross-listed with Classics and GSWS)
  • RELS 299 Land and Creation (cross-listed with Environmental Studies)

Selected Publications

  • "Ally or Enemy? Political Identity and Ambiguity in the Tales of David and Gath." Pages 211-224 in Sara Kipfer and Jeremy Hutton, eds. The Book of Samuel and its Response to Monarchy. BWANT 228. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer (2021).
  • "'All the גבול of Israel': Israel's 'Boundaries' in David's Wanderings. Pages 103-126 in Hannes Bezzel and Reinhard G. Kratz, eds. David in the Desert: Tradition and Redaction in the "History of David's Rise." BZAW 514. Berlin: de Gruyter (2021).
  • "Judges." In John J. Collins, et al., eds. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. London: Bloomsbury, T & T Clark (2020 online; print edition 2021).
  • "Julian of Norwich believed ‘All will be well.’ Would she say so today?” America Magazine. June 24 (2020).
  • "Song of Plagues: How Psalm 91 Helps Us Pray during Pandemic.” Commonweal. April 18 (2020).
  • "Blurred Lines: The Enigma of Iron Age Timnah.” Biblical Archaeology Review. July-Oct (2019): 79-83.
  • "Life in the Ruins. Reading the Hebrew Bible in a Time of Crisis.” Commonweal. May 4 (2019).
  • "Scribal Innovation, Education, and the Female Body in Ezekiel and Proverbs.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 35/1 (2019): 35-50.
  • “The House of X Formula in Assyrian Documentation and Aramaean Social Structure.” Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 7/2 (2018): 140-171.
  • “Utterance of David, the Anointed of the God of Jacob (2 Sam 23:1-7).” Journal of Biblical Literature 137/3 (2018): 667-683.
  • "Stones from Heaven and Celestial Tricks: The Battle at Gibeon in Joshua 10." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79/3 (2017): 385-401.
  • “Samson and Our Reactions to the Strong Man.” Word & World, 37/3 (2017): 217-225.
  • “Judah Bookends: The Priority of Israel and Literary Revision in the David Narrative.” Vetus Testamentum 65/3 (2015): 401-413.