Ph.D., New York University
Fields: Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Studies
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. in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from New York University's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She received her B.A. in Spanish and English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. After college, she 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 (2015-2016) and at Providence College (2016-2018).
Professor Leonard-Fleckman is a historian of the Ancient Near East who specializes in the Iron Age Levant, and a literary historian of the Hebrew Bible (including the compositional, transmission, and interpretive histories of scriptural texts). Her deep, ongoing interest is the relationship between literature, history and society. 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 the Bible (2 Samuel & 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 book project, tentatively titled Landscaping Language: The Shaping of Identities and Borders in the Iron Age Shephelah, engages with archaeology, anthropology, and art history to explore the social composition of ancient Israel's Iron Age Shephelah (lowlands) in relation to the diversity of written representations of the area and its people through the first century C.E. (including the Bible, Neo-Assyrian Royal Annals, and Josephus's Antiquities).
Professor Leonard-Fleckman is also active in public scholarship and works to bridge academic work with contemporary religious concerns and Jewish-Christian dialogue. She has published in Commonweal and America Magazine and is currently working on the three-volume series Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study (Liturgical Press, 2020, 2021 and 2022).
- RELS 126 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
- RELS 199 Sex & Gender in 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)
- "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.