David Levenson

Associate Professor of Religion
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Dr. David Levenson

Contact Information

Religions of Western Antiquity
Office Location
314 Dodd Hall
(850) 212-5099
Resume / CV


David Levenson (Ph.D. '80, Harvard University, New Testament and Christian Origins) teaches introductory and intermediate-level courses in New Testament and ancient Judaism and advanced courses in "Greek Religious Texts," "Religions of the Graeco-Roman World," "Judaism in the Graeco-Roman World," "Rabbinic Judaism in Antiquity," "Jewish-Christian Relations in Antiquity," and Greek, Hebrew. Syriac, and Aramaic. He also regularly offers undergraduate and graduate seminars on the gospels. Professor Levenson's primary research areas are (1) Jewish-Christian relations in Antiquity with special attention to images of Jews and Judaism in popular narratives and historiography from the first through the fifth centuries and (2) Josephus. He is currently engaged in writing a commentary (which will also include a new translation) with Thomas Martin, College of the Holy Cross, on Book Six of Josephus' Jewish War, for the new Josephus Commentary series edited by Steven Mason, and published by E.J. Brill. He and Professor Martin are also working on the ancient Latin translation of the Jewish War, with the aim of producing a critical edition of Book Six. In addition to work on Josephus, and ancient Jewish-Christian relations, Professor Levenson is preparing a translation and commentary for the Hebrew Apocalypse of Elijah (Sefer Eliyyahu).

Research Interests

  • New Testament and Early Christianity 
  • Josephus
  • Hellenistic and Rabbinic Judaism 
  • History of Biblical Interpretation 
  • Jewish-Christian Relations in Antiquity 
  • Religious Conflict and Competition in the Graeco-Roman World 
  • Jews and Judaism in the New Testament and Christian Historiography through Late Antiquity 
  • Syriac

Selected Publications

  • "The Ancient Latin Translations of Josephus," with Thomas Martin, in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Josephus, ed. H. Chapman and Z. Rodgers (Hoboken, NJ) (forthcoming) 
  • "The Latin Josephus on Jesus, John the Baptist, and James: Critical Texts of the Latin Translation of the Antiquities and Rufinus' Translation of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History Based on Manuscripts and Early Printed Editions," with Thomas Martin, Journal for the Study of Judaism 45 (2014), 1-79.
  • "The Palestinian Earthquake of May 363 in Philostorgius, the Syriac Chronicon miscellaneum and the Letter Attributed to Cyril on the Rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple," Journal of Late Antiquity 6 (2013), 60-83. 
  • "Messianic Movements," Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited by A.J. Levine and M.Z. Brettler (Oxford University Press, 2011), 530-535. 
  • Akairos or Eukairos? The Nickname of the Seleucid King Demetrius III in the Transmission of the Texts of Josephus' War and Antiquities," Journal for the Study of Judaism 40 (2009): 307-341 (with Thomas Martin).
  • "The Ancient and Medieval Sources for the Emperor Julian's Attempt to Rebuild the Jerusalem Temple," Journal for the Study of Judaism 35 (2004): 409-460. 
  • "University Religion Departments and Teaching About the Bible in Public High Schools: A Report from Florida," Religious Studies News, AAR Edition 17/2 (March 2002), pp. 3,7,10 (republished in SBL Forum, Nov/Dec 2003)
  • "Julian, the Emperor," in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, ed. Everett Ferguson. Second edition. New York: Garland Press, 1997 
  • "Different Texts or Different Texts: The Contexts of Biblical Studies," in Hebrew Bible or 
    Old Testament?
    , ed. R. Brooks and J.J. Collins, University of Notre Dame Press, 1990.

Current Research Projects

  • Translation and Commentary on Josephus' Jewish War, Book 6  (Brill Josephus Project, edited by Steven Mason) (with Thomas Martin, Holy Cross)
  • Critical Edition,Translation and Commentary on Hebrew Book of Elijah (with Martha Himmelfarb, Princeton University).
  • "The Ancient Latin Translation of Josephus' Jewish War: State of the Question" "Syriac Translation of Josephus' Jewish War."
  • "Anti-Judaism in the Gospel of Matthew" (Plenary paper at the International Symposium on the Interpretation of the Bible as a Force for Social Change, sponsored by the Evangelische Akademie Arnoldshain and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, October 19-21, Arnoldshain, Germany.) [download essay]
  • “The Date of the Earthquake of 363CE in the Syriac Chronicon Miscellaneum”.

Teaching Specializations

  • New Testament and Early Christianity 
  • Hellenistic and Rabbinic Judaism 
  • Religions of the Graeco-Roman World 
  • Jewish-Christian Relations 
  • Hebrew 
  • Greek 
  • Aramaic/Syriac 

Recent Courses

Spring 2018
HBR1103: Beginning Hebrew II

A continuation of HBR 1102 or 1120, completing the study of Biblical Hebrew grammar and reading closely four or five chapters from the Hebrew Bible(for example, Ruth, Jonah, or Genesis 1-4. Prerequisite: One semester of either Biblical or Modem Hebrew or permission of the instructor. Note that students may take both HBR 1103 and HBR 1121 (Modem Hebrew II). Meets the foreign language requirement for the BA degree. No language laboratory required.

HBR1121: Elementary Modern Hebrew II

This course continues the introduction to modem Hebrew begun in HBR 1120. Cultural orientation and the practical use of Hebrew in meaningful situations. Oral comprehension, speaking, and writing are emphasized through a communicative approach. May not be taken by native speakers. May not be taken concurrently with HBR 1120 and/or 2220.

REL4290-01: Seminar on the Gospel of John

This course consists of advanced work in biblical studies for undergraduates. 

REL4914: Tutorial in Latin Religious Texts
Fall 2017
HBR1102/RLG5204-01: Beginning Hebrew I

This course is an introduction to the basic grammar, syntax, and phonology of modern and classical Hebrew.  Meets the foreign language requirement for the BA degree.  No language laboratory required.   

HBR2222/RLG5204-02: Intermediate Hebrew

This course focuses on translation and commentary on selected Hebrew readings. Meets the foreign language requirement for the BA degree. No language laboratory required. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Modern or Biblical Hebrew.

REL4290/RLG5297: Biblical Studies: Rabbinic Judaism in Antiquity

This course consists of advanced work in biblical studies for undergraduates.  Topics vary.  May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.  May be repeated within the same semester.