Joint Appointment of Christine N. Thomas, Ph.D., M.Div. to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute and Xavier University - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Joint Appointment of Christine N. Thomas, Ph.D., M.Div. to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute and Xavier University

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Christine ThomasFollowing an intensive national search, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and Xavier University (XU) are proud to announce the joint appointment of Dr. Christine N. Thomas to the position of Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible.

Thomas holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a 1994 graduate of Smith College and spent the year after graduation at the University of Tokyo on a Fulbright Fellowship. Since the fall of 2013, she has served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Bible and Cognate Languages as HUC-JIR.

Thomas has an extensive background as an international scholar, lecturer and organizer or participant in a variety of conferences and workshops focused on the Hebrew Bible, specifically pertaining to the role of women and gender issues. Thomas has experience teaching courses in Biblical literature and exegesis, as well courses in ancient languages such as Aramaic, Ugaritic, and Akkadian. Thomas’s education and experience prepare her well for this joint position, in which she will critically address biblical documents for doctoral students and also teach Hebrew Bible and Theology to undergraduates. Thomas will begin her appointment at HUC-JIR and XU in the fall of 2018.

“Dr. Thomas’s expertise in a range of ancient languages and texts through training in comparative linguistics, epigraphy, and historical study of the Ancient Near East, as well as her archaeological field work in Israel, strengthens our academic programs and our vital institutional partnership with Xavier,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, HUC-JIR Interim President. “Her teaching and mentorship are a wonderful resource for our diverse community of rabbinical and interfaith graduate students on our Cincinnati campus.”

“I could not be happier to welcome Dr. Thomas to Xavier and this joint position with HUC-JIR,” said Michael J. Graham, S.J., president of Xavier University. “At a time when our world is seeing increased division, her appointment represents our concerted focus on the need for interreligious dialogue and engagement as well as religious mutuality and intellectual vitality.”

This is the second of two joint faculty appointments by HUC-JIR and Xavier, a one-of-a-kind collaboration that brings together these faith-based organizations. Xavier is a Jesuit, Catholic university and HUC-JIR is a Reform Jewish rabbinical seminary and institution of Jewish higher education. The first joint appointment was made in 2017 to an historian, Dr. Jennifer Grayson, Assistant Professor of Jewish History.

The relationship between XU and HUC-JIR dates back to 2008 when they came together to create a Jewish and Interfaith Studies Program, offered to students at both institutions. It is believed to be the first partnership of its kind between a Jesuit, Catholic university and a Reform Jewish rabbinical seminary and institution of Jewish higher education.

Prior to that, in 2005, Xavier launched the opening of an exhibit documenting Pope John Paul II’s life-long relationship with the Jewish people in collaboration with Hillel of Cincinnati and The Shtetl Foundation. "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People," traveled around the world, including the Skirball Museum on the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR in 2012.

Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. Founded in 1831, the University is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks it No. 5 among master’s-level universities in the Midwest and The Princeton Review names it one of the “Best 377 Colleges in America.”

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.