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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Stuart Weeks, MA MPhil DPhil

Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43963
Room number: Abbey House B07

Contact Professor Stuart Weeks (email at


After postgraduate study at Oxford, I worked at Queen's College, Birmingham for three years, and then came to Durham in 1995. Here, my main teaching responsibility has been the second-year course in Literature and Theology of the Old Testament, which is a survey of the main types of literature set against their broader historical and cultural background. With my colleague, Prof. Robert Hayward, I also teach a third-year course (Issues in Old Testament Study), which looks at key areas of interest in the discipline, and I do some advanced Hebrew teaching as well. My other courses reflect personal interests outside mainstream biblical study. Having had to learn several varieties of ancient Egyptian for my doctoral work, I teach Middle Egyptian at MA level, and I also teach an exegetical course at this level, focusing on the technical skills involved in the examination of biblical texts.  At various points in the past, I have also taught on aspects of ancient Near Eastern literature and religion, the Septuagint and Ugaritic language.

My doctoral work was an examination of certain common claims about the origin of biblical wisdom literature, and I questioned the assumptions that this literature was associated with the professional life or education of the administrative class in Israel. This work was subsequently published as Early Israelite Wisdom (Oxford: OUP, 1994). I have continued to be interested in wisdom literature, and have written a number of articles on the subject, along with an introduction. My general understanding is that the biblical wisdom literature is a type of literary discourse, which may be characterised in part by its interest in how individuals can act, or learn how to act, in a way that offers life and prosperity. Unlike many other scholars, though, I believe that this interest must be placed firmly in the context of broader Jewish religious ideas. I have argued this at length with respect to the first section of the book of Proverbs (chapters 1-9), and more generally with respect to the wisdom corpus as a whole in my Introduction to the Study of Wisdom Literature (T&T Clark, 2010). Apart from my research on wisdom literature, I also have a strong interest in text criticism, and I co-edited an important volume of textual witnesses to the book of Tobit. I am currently bringing these interests together in a commentary on Ecclesiates, which I have been contracted to write for the International Critical Commentary series, and ideas arising from this work underpin my most recent monograph, Ecclesiastes and Scepticism (T&T Clark, 2012). I have also written on several other areas, and have a general interest in questions of history and early Jewish identity.

Research Interests

  • Biblical wisdom literature
  • Relationship between biblical and ancient Egyptian literature
  • Text criticism, esp. Septuagint


Authored book


Chapter in book

  • Weeks, Stuart (2018). Tobit. In Early Jewish literature an anthology. Wright, Archie, Herms, Ron & Embry, Brad Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 368-382.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2016). Is "Wisdom Literature" a Useful Category?. In Tracing Sapiential Traditions in Ancient Judaism. Najman, Hindy, Rey, Jean Sebastien & Tigchelaar, Eibert J. C. Leiden Boston: Brill. 174: 3-23.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2016). Solomon and Qoheleth. In Megilloth Studies: The Shape of Contemporary Scholarship. Embry, Brad J. & Erickson, Amy Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press. 78: 71-86.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2015). The Place and Limits of Wisdom Revisited. In Perspectives on Israelite Wisdom: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar. Jarick, John London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. 3-23.
  • Stuckenbruck, Loren & Weeks, Stuart (2015). Tobit. In T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. Aitken, James K. London New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. 237-260.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2015). Wisdom, Form and Genre. In Was There a Wisdom Tradition? New Prospects in Israelite Wisdom Studies. Sneed, Mark R. Society of Biblical Literature. 23: 161-178.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2014). The Inner-Textuality of Qoheleth's Monologue. In Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually. Kynes, W. & Dell, K. London New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. 587: 142-156.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2013). “Fear God and Keep his Commandments” Could Qohelet Have Said This?. In Wisdom and Torah: The Reception of ‘Torah’ in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period. Schipper, Bernd & Teeter, Andrew Brill. 163: 101-118.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2013). Notes on Some Hebrew Words in Ecclesiastes. In Interested Readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J. A. Clines. Aitken, James K., Clines, Jeremy M. S. & Maier, Christl M. Society of Biblical Literature. 373-384.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2013). Texts without Contexts: The Dating of Biblical Texts. In Dating Egyptian Literary Texts. Moers, Gerald, Widmaier, Kai, Giewekemeyer, Antonia, Lümers, Arndt & Ernst, Ralf Hamburg: Widmaier Verlag. 11: 599-616.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2013). The limits of form criticism in the study of literature, with reflections on Psalm 34. In Biblical interpretation and method essays in honour of John Barton. Dell, Katharine & Joyce, Paul Oxford: Oxford University Press. 15-25.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2011). A Deuteronomic Heritage in Tobit?. In Changes in Scripture: Rewriting and Interpreting Authoritative Traditions in the Second Temple Period. von Weissenberg,Hanne Pakkala, Juha & Marttila, Marko de Gruyter. BZAW 419: 389-404.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2011). Literacy, Orality, and Literature in Israel. In On Stone and Scroll: Essays in Honour of Graham Ivor Davies. Aitken,James K. Dell,Katharine J. & Mastin,Brian A. Berlin: de Gruyter. BZAW 420: 465-478.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2010). Predictive and Prophetic Literature: Can Neferti Help us Read the Bible?. In Prophecy and the Prophets in Ancient Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar. Day, John T&T Clark. Series Volume: 531 25-46.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2009). Jeremiah as a Prophetic Book. In Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah. Barstad, H. & Kratz, R.G. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter. BZAW 388: 265-274.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2006). Man-made Gods? Idolatry in the Old Testament. In Idolatry false worship in the Bible, early Judaism, and Christianity. Barton, S.C. London: T&T Clark. 7-21.
  • Weeks, Stuart. (2006). Some neglected texts of Tobit the third Greek version. In Studies in the Book of Tobit a multidisciplinary approach. Bredin, M. London: T&T Clark. 12-42.
  • Weeks, Stuart (2005). Wisdom Psalms. In Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel. Day, J. London, New York: T&T Clark International. 292-307.
  • Stuckenbruck, Loren & Weeks, Stuart (2004). The Medieval Hebrew and Aramaic Texts of Tobit. In Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. Jeremy Corley & Vincent Skemp Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America. Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 38: pp. 71-86.
  • Weeks, S.D.E. (2001). 'Ecclesiastes'. In The Oxford Bible Commentary. Barton, J. & Muddiman, J. Oxford: OUP. 423-429.
  • Weeks, Stuart (1999). Whose Words? Qoheleth, Hosea and Attribution in Biblical Literature. In New Heaven and New Earth, Prophecy and the Millennium. Essays in honour of Anthony Gelston. Harland, P.J. & Hayward, C.T.R. Leiden: Brill. 151-170.
  • Weeks, Stuart (1999). Wisdom in the Old Testament. In Where Shall Wisdom be Found? Wisdom in the Bible, the Church and the Contemporary World. Barton, Stephen C. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. 19-30.

Journal Article


Indicators of Esteem

  • Editorial: Co-editor International Critical Commentary: Apocrypha Series
  • Editorial: Editorial board of the Hebrew Bible Monographs series from Sheffield Phoenix Press.
  • External examiner: External examiner for universities of London and St Andrews.
  • Invitations to speak.: I have been invited to speak at a number of research seminars, including those at Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge, and have given two short and one full-length paper at conferences of the Society for Old Testament Study.
  • Peer reviewer (funding): Peer reviewer for the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Peer reviewer (publications): Peer reviewer for publishers (OUP, SOTS Monograph series).
  • Publication: I have been contracted to write the commentary on Ecclesiastes for the prestigious International Critical Commentary series.