Alison G. Salvesen


Professor of Early Judaism and Christianity; Supernumerary Fellow in Oriental Studies, Mansfield College 

Faculty / College Address:

Oriental Institute / Mansfield College


Research Interests:

My main research is in the area of ancient interpretations of the Hebrew Bible. This includes the Greek Septuagint, the later Jewish Greek versions, the Aramaic Targums, the Peshitta Syriac version, and St Jerome's Vulgate translation. I also work on the reception history of these versions during the formative periods of rabbinic Judaism and of Christianity.

Current Projects:

Member of the Executive Committee of the Hexapla Institute and Project, to create an electronic database of the surviving material from Origen's multicolumnar Old Testament. My own work for the project is an edition of the Greek fragments of the Book of Exodus.

An editor of the Bible of Edessa Project, overseeing a series of annotated English translations of the books of the Peshitta Syriac Old Testament and Apocrypha.

Researching for a monograph on the Syrian Orthodox scholar and bishop, Jacob of Edessa (d. 708), to incorporate selected highlights of his works in modern English translation.

Co-editing with T. Michael Law of The Oxford Handbook of the Septuagint.

Courses Taught:

I regularly teach Introduction to Septuagint studies; Septuagint and patristic texts; early versions and exegesis of the Hebrew Bible; textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible; Biblical Hebrew prose composition; Syriac texts; Targum Aramaic.

Recent Publications:

  • I-II Samuel in the Syriac Version of Jacob of Edessa, Monographs of the Peshitta Institute, Leiden, 10 (Leiden: Brill, 1999) (xlix + 170, 125 pp.).
  • "Symmachus and the dating of Palestinian Targum Tradition" Journal of the Aramaic Bible 2 (2000) 233-45.
  • "Jacob of Edessa's knowledge of Hebrew" in Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Texts. Essays in Memory of Michael Weitzman, eds. A. Rapoport-Albert and G. Greenberg (Sheffield 2001) 457-67.
  • "Infants or Fools in Eden? An Ambiguity in Early Syriac Tradition" in Hamlet on a Hill. Semitic and Greek Studies presented to Professor T. Muraoka on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, eds. M.F.J. Baasten and W.Th. van Peursen (Leuven 2003), 433-440.
  • "A Convergence of the Ways? The Judaizing of Christian Scripture by Origen and Jerome" in The Ways that Never Parted, eds. A. Yoshiko Reed and A. Becker, Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum (T'bingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003).
  • "Psalm 135(136).25 in a Jewish Greek inscription from Nicea", in Semitic Studies in Honour of Edward Ullendorf, ed. G. A. Khan (Leiden/Boston, 2005), 212-221.
  • "Pigs in the Camps and the Breasts of my Lambs: Song of Songs in the Syriac Tradition", in Perspectives on the Song of Songs-Perspektiven der Hoehliedauslegunged. A. Hagedorn. BZAW 346 (Berlin, 2005), 260-273.
  • "The Growth of the Apocrypha" in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies", eds J. Rogerson and J. Lieu (Oxford, 2006), 489-517.
  • "The Genesis Texts of Jacob of Edessa: a Study in Variety" in Text, Transmission, and Tradition: Studies on the Text of the Peshitta and its Use in the Syriac Tradition, Festschrift for Konrad Jenner, eds B. ter Haar Romeny and W. van Peursen (MPIL; Leiden, 2006).
  • "Without shame or desire: attitudes towards childhood in early Syriac writers" Scottish Journal of theology 59/3 (2006), 1-20.
  • “Messianism in Ancient Bible Translations in Greek and Latin” in Redemption and Resistance, eds. M. Bockmuehl and J.N. Carlton Paget (Edinburgh, 2007), 245–61.
  • “Jacob of Edessa’s Life and Work: A Biographical Sketch”, and “Jacob of Edessa’s Version of 1–2 Samuel: Its Method and Text-Critical Value,” in Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture of His Day, eds. R.B. ter Haar Romeny and K.D. Jenner (MPIL; Leiden: 2008), 1–10, 127–144.
  • “The Peshitta of 2 Samuel 11–12 and its Reception History” in Malphono w-Rabo d-Malphone: Studies in Honor of Sebastian P. Brock, ed. G. Kiraz (Piscataway, NJ, 2008), 559–573.
  • “La version de Jacques d’Édesse” in L’Ancien Testament en syriaque, Etudes Syriaques 5, eds. F. Briquel-Chatonnet and Ph. Le Moigne (Paris, 2008), 121–140.
  • “The Authorial Spirit? Biblical Citations in Jacob of Edessa’s Hexaemeron”, Aramaic Studies 6.2 (2008), 207–225.
  • “The relationship of LXX and the Three in Exodus 1–24 to the readings of Fb” in Jewish Reception of Greek Bible Versions, eds. N. de Lange, J. Krivoruchko, and C. Boyd-Taylor (Mohr, Tübingen, 2009), 103-127.
  • “Keeping it in the Family? Jacob and his Aramean Heritage according to Jewish and Christian Sources”, in The Exegetical Encounter between Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity, eds. E. Grypeou  and H. Spurling. Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series, 18 (Brill, Leiden, 2009), 205-220.
  •  “A Well-Watered Garden (Isaiah 58:11): Investigating the Influence of the Septuagint”, in “Translation Is Required”: The Septuagint in Retrospect and Prospect, ed. R.J.V. Hiebert. SBLSCS (2010), 207-26.

    • “Was Jacob Trilingual? Jacob of Edessa's Knowledge of Hebrew Revisited”, in Studies on Jacob of Edessa, eds. G.Y. Ibrahim and G.A. Kiraz (Piscataway, 2010), pp. 93-105.

    • “Midrash in Greek? An Exploration of the Versions of Aquila and Symmachus in Exodus”, in On Stone and Scroll. Essays in Honour of Graham Ivor Davies. (De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston, 2011), pp. 523-536.

    • “Early Syriac, Greek, and Latin Views of the Decalogue”, in Jeffrey P. Greenman & Timothy Larsen, eds., The Decalogue through the Centuries: From the Hebrew Scriptures to Benedict XVI (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012), 47–66.

    • “The Role of Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion in Modern Commentaries on the Bible” in Let Us Go Up to Zion. Essays in Honour of H.G.M. Williamson on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, eds. I. Provan and Mark Boda (Leiden/Boston, 2012), 95-112.

    • “Did Aquila and Symmachus shelter under the Rabbinic Umbrella?” in Greek Scripture and the Rabbis.eds. Timothy M. Law and Alison G. Salvesen; CBET 66. Peeters Press, Leuven. (2012), 107-25.

    • “Textual Criticism. Textual and Literary Criticism and the Book of Exodus: The Role of the Septuagint” Biblical Interpretation and Method. Essay in Honour of John Barton, eds. P.M. Joyce and K. Dell (Oxford, 2013), 37–51.

  • ‘“Tradunt Hebraei...  The problem of the function and reception of Jewish midrash in Jerome’, in M. Fishbane and J. Weinberg (eds) Midrash Unbound. Transformations and Innovations. London: Littmann Library (2013) 57–81.

  •  ‘The Tabernacle Accounts in LXX Exodus and their Reception in Hellenistic Judaism’, in K. De Troyer, T.M. Law T and M. Liljeström (eds) In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes. Studies in the Biblical Text in Honour of Anneli Aejmelaeus. CBET 72. Leuven: Peeters (2014) 555–71.
  • ‘Aquila, Symmachus and the Translation of Proof-texts’, in W. Kraus and S. Kreuzer (eds) Die Septuaginta –Text, Wirkung, Rezeption. 4. Internationale Fachtagungveranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D),Wuppertal 19.–22. Juli 2012. WUNT 325; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (2014) 154-68.

Further Info:

Photograph of Alison Salvesen