Submitted by Emanuel Costache

March 13, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations


AMHERST, Mass.—On April 4 and 5, Amherst College will honor the life and career of John J. Collins, Yale Divinity School’s Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation and one of America’s preeminent biblical scholars, with a symposium titled “The Other in Second Temple Judaism.” Featuring longtime colleagues and students of the gathering’s namesake in addition to the man himself, the conference will explore many of the issues and areas within biblical and Hellenistic Jewish writings on which Collins has shed light during his long and distinguished career.

The symposium, which is open to the public at no charge, will take place in Cole Assembly Room of the Amherst’s Converse Hall. A few of the talks on the agenda include:

  • “God’s Other: The Intractable Problem of the Gentile King in Israelite and Early Jewish Literature” by Carol Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University
  • “Israel and the ‘Other’ in Late Biblical and Early Rabbinic Thought” by Joel Kaminsky, associate professor of religion at Smith College
  • “Idolatry and Otherness: Israel and the Nations in the Apocalypse of Abraham” by Daniel Harlow, associate professor of religion at Calvin College

Also speaking will be the Samuel Green Professor of Religion at Amherst, Susan Niditch, who will deliver concluding remarks with colleagues Susan Ackermann, the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, and Adela Yarbro Collins, the Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School.

A native of Ireland, Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at Yale Divinity School in 2000. He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls. His books include The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age, The Apocalyptic Imagination and Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. He is also co-editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism and has participated in the editing of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He has served as editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature.

Additional information about the conference is available at