Postdoctoral Fellow, IAS Princeton
Jillian Stinchcomb studies the formation and reception of biblical texts through a focus on materials written in and near the ancient eastern Mediterranean and Near East. She primarily works with Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts and compares these with parallel traditions found in Arabic, Ethiopic, Syriac, and Latin sources. She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.A. in Religion from Yale University. Most recently, she was the Kay Postdoctoral Fellow in Mediterranean Cross Cultural Textual Traditions at Brandeis University. Her scholarship focuses on issues of power and difference in narrative texts, especially as these are articulated through the lenses of gender, race, and social status. Her work is animated by questions such as: How do gender, race, and dis/ability function when used to describe people who hold power? How does an audience’s need for historical, allegorical, or theological truth impact the stories told about biblical figures? How does the meaning of biblical narratives change over time, from the original context to later interpretation? These questions are at the fore of her book project, Legible Alterity, which tracks the reception of the Queen of Sheba in first millennium CE literary and cultural contexts. The book argues that, despite a heterogeneity of traditions, the Queen of Sheba’s difference from Solomon is predicated on their fundamental similarity in status, and that interest in the figure blossomed in the wake of the emergence of Islam. During her time at IAS, she will be researching the Queen of Sheba as an instance of cultural co-production. Her other research interests include targumim, which are Aramaic translations of biblical texts, Ethiopic traditions and their relationship to Second Temple Jewish literature, and literary culture in and near Palestine at the time of the stabilization of the Masoretic text of the Bible. When she is not working on these projects, she likes to hang out with her cat, Pudge, or go camping.