Debra Scoggins Ballentine focuses on ancient Israelite and Judean history, religion, and literature. She views literary and material data as social artifacts that reflect engagement with their contemporary contexts. In describing the scope of her field of study, she explains that, “Ancient Israel and Judah were situated geographically between more powerful and expansive empires in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and any study of biblical traditions must foreground this geo-political context. Because of this, Biblical Studies is necessarily comparative and interdisciplinary.” In teaching courses such as the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Ballentine explores with students how ancient cultic traditions are thoroughly embedded in their historical setting, yet resonant with many cross-cultural social dynamics: “Whether my students are familiar with biblical traditions or not, they find that these ancient texts really come to life when we study what types of political events or social controversies the authors were facing.” The Conflict Myth and the Biblical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) is Ballentine's first book. Broadly, she analyzes how ancient authors adapted traditional mythic themes of divine combat to further specific political and theological ideologies.
The Conflict Myth & the Biblical Tradition
Oxford University Press (2015)
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
- Society of Biblical Literature
- North American Association for the Study of Religion