David H. Aaron - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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David H. Aaron, Rabbi, Ph.D.

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Contact Information

(513) 487-3265

Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation


Rabbinical Program, Cincinnati; School of Graduate Studies, Cincinnati
Academic Field: 
Bible and Cognate Studies

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David H. Aaron has been Professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation at the HUC-JIR/Cincinnati since 1998. He is also Co-Chair of the Editorial Board for the Hebrew Union College Press, with Prof. Jason Kalman. 

Aaron earned a doctorate from the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University; he holds Rabbinical Ordination from HUC-JIR (Cincinnati ‘83). Prior to coming to HUC-JIR, Aaron taught Bible and Rabbinic Literature in the Religion Department of Wellesley College (1991-98) and Biblical Studies at Boston’s Hebrew College (1987-91).

Aaron’s scholarly articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including Harvard Theological Review, Journal of the Academy of Religion, The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Approaches to Ancient Judaism, Hebrew Union College Annual, and AJS Review. He is a contributor to the Brill Encyclopedia of Midrash (2005); the Blackwell Companion to Judaism (2004), and the Encyclopedia of the Hebrew Language and Linguistics (2010).


Selected Publications and Edited Works

Subversive Principles: Toward and Ethics for Reading Avot [forthcoming].

Approaching Daybreak: Causality in a Complex World [forthcoming].


Genesis Ideology: Essays on the Uses and Meanings of Stories (Cascade Press, 2017).

Translating the Essence of Piety [a novel, currently under review]

Etched in Stone: The Emergence of the Decalogue. New York: T & T Clark, 2006

Biblical Ambiguities: Metaphor, Semantics, and Divine Imagery. Leiden: Brill, 2001

Reflections on a Cognitive Theory of Culture and a Theory of Formalized Language for Late Biblical Studies, in Ehud Ben Zvi and Diana Edelman, eds., Bringing the Past to the Present in the Late Persian and Early Hellenstic Period: Images of Central Figures (Sheffield Academic Press, 2012).

The Ruse of Zelophehad’s Daughters, Hebrew Union College Annual (2009) 1-38.

Language and Midrash, Encyclopedia of Midrash: Biblical Interpretation in Formative Judaism.  Jacob Neusner and Alan J. Avery-Peck, eds. 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2005) 400-11.

Pre-Modern Biblical Interpretation and the Challenge of New Historicism, The Forum, Society of Biblical Literature, June 2004 (http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=260).

Envisioning a Liberal Judaism and its Ethics of Reading (2003), CCAR–HUC-JIR Joint Commission for Sustaining Rabbinic Education, pp.1-32; on-line http://huc.edu/jointcomm/programs/sefirah/sefirah2003/confirm/.

The First Loose Plank. On the Rejection of Reason in the Pittsburgh Principles of 1999, CCAR Journal (Fall 2001) 87-116.

Early Rabbinic Exegesis on the So-Called Hamitic Myth. Journal of the American Academy of  Religion 63,4 (1995) 721-759.  Rejoinder, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65,1 (1996) 189-192, on Responses by Steven McKenzie and Donald Matthews (183-188).

Imagery of the Divine and the Human: On the Mythology of Genesis Rabba 8 §1. The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 5 (1995) 1-62.