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


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 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 literary historian of the Hebrew Bible, and a historian of the Ancient Middle East who specializes in the Iron Age Levant. 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) and co-author of The Book of Ruth in the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press, 2017), the first series to offer detailed feminist interpretation of every book of the Bible. In her current book project, she explores the possibilities of reparative readings of the past in light of present realities, focusing on literary constructions of the "other" in ancient Israel and broader issues of identity and borders. 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 interreligious 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 award-winning, three-volume series Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study (Liturgical Press, 2020, 2021 and 2022).

Current and Upcoming Courses

  • RELS 126 Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (Fall 2021; Spring 2022)
  • RELS 242 Sex, Gender & the Hebrew Bible (Fall 2021; cross-listed with GSWS)
  • Resistance: Then and Now (Spring 2022; Honors Seminar with Prof. Dominic Machado)
  • Land, Creation and the Bible (cross-listed with ENVS)

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.