Dr. Benjamin G. Wright

Benjamin G. Wright
University Distinguished Professor
Religion Studies, Bible, Early Judaism, Christianity
1975, B.A. Ursinus College, cum laude (Philosphy/Religion)
1978, M.Div. Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, summa cum laude (Biblical Studies)
1988, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (Christian Origins)
Department of Religion Studies 184 Williams Hall


Selected Publications


The Letter of Aristeas: ‘Aristeas to Philocrates’ or ‘On the Translation of the Law of the Jews’. Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015. [ISBN: 978-3-11-043904-5]

Praise Israel for Wisdom and Instruction: Essays on Ben Sira and Wisdom, The Letter of Aristeas and the Septuagint. JSJSup 131; Leiden: Brill, 2008. [ISBN: 978-90-04-16908-1]. (Go to Brill's website)

A New English Translation of the Septuagint [NETS]. Co-editor with Albert Pietersma. New York: Oxford, 2007 [ISBN: 9780195289756]. (Find NETS on OUP's website)

Conflicted Boundaries in Wisdom and Apocalypticism. Co-editor with Lawrence Wills and principal contributor. Symposium Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005 [ISBN: 1589831845]. (Go to SBL store)

The Apocryphal Ezekiel. With Michael E. Stone and David Satran. SBLEJL 18. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000 [ISBN: 0884140229]. (Go to SBL store)

A Multiform Heritage: Studies on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Robert A. Kraft. Editor and principal contributor. Scholars Press Homage Series 24. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999 [ISBN: 9780788505836].

No Small Difference: Sirach's Relationship to Its Hebrew Parent Text. SBLSCS 26. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989 [ISBN: 1555403751].

 Recent Articles and Other Publications. For a complete list, see complete CV (in pdf):

“Epistole Jeremiou / Epistula Ieremiae / Brief Jeremias.” In Handbuch zur Septuaginta LXX.H. Band 1. Einleitung in die Septuaginta. Siegfried Kreuzer, ed. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2016, 606–612.

“Hellenistic Period Literature in the Land of Israel.” In The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Ancient Israel. Susan Niditch, ed. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, 493–509.

“Sirach.” In The T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. James Aitken, ed. London: T&T Clark, 2015, 410–424.

"Epistle of Jeremiah.” In The T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. James Aitken, ed. London: T&T Clark, 2015,  520–527.

“‘She Undid Him with the Beauty of Her Face’ (Jdt 16.6): Reading Women’s Bodies in Early Jewish Literature” (with Suzanne M. Edwards). In Religion and the Female Body in Ancient Judaism and Its Environments. Géza G. Xeravits, ed. DCLS 28, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2015, 73–108.

"Scribes, Translators and the Formation of Authoritative Scripture.” In In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes: Studies in the Biblical Text in Honour of Anneli Aejmelaeus. T. Michael Law, Kristen De Troyer and Marketta Liljeström, eds. CBET 72. Leuven: Peeters, 2014, 3–29.

“Preliminary Thoughts about Preparing the Text of Ben Sira for a Commentary.” To appear in Die Septuaginta: Text—Wirkung—Rezeption. Wolfgang Kraus and Martin Karrer, eds. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014, 89–109.

“Hellenization and Jewish Identity in the Deuterocanonical Literature.” To appear in Canonicity, Setting, Wisdom in the Deuterocanonicals: Papers of the Jubilee Meeting of the International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books. Géza Xeravits, József Zsengéller and Xavér Szabó, eds. DCL Studies 22. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2014, 29–68.

“Pseudonymous Authorship and Structures of Authority in the Letter of Aristeas.” In Scriptural Authority in Early Judaism and Ancient Christianity. Géza Xeravits, Isaac Kalimi and Tobias Niklas, eds. DCL Studies 16. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2013, 43–62.

“Torah and Sapiential Pedagogy in the Book of Ben Sira.” In Wisdom and Torah: The Reception of ‘Torah’ in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period. Bernd U. Schipper and D. Andrew Teeter, eds. JSJS 163. Leiden: Brill, 2013, 157–186.

“Apocryphon of Ezekiel.” In Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture. Louis Feldman, James Kugel and Lawrence Schiffman, eds. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2013, 1529–1534.

“The Wisdom of Ben Sira.” In Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture. Louis Feldman, James Kugel and Lawrence Schiffman, eds. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2013, 2208–2352.

“Apocryphon of Ezekiel.” In More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Vol. 1. Richard Bauckham, James Davila and Alex Panayotov, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2013, 380–392.

“Conflicted Boundaries: Ben Sira, Sage and Seer.” In Congress Volume Helsinki 2010. Martti Nissinen, ed. VTSup 148. Leiden: Brill, 2012, 229–253.

"Translation Greek in Sirach in Light of the Grandson’s Prologue.” In The Texts and Versions of the Book of Ben Sira: Transmission and Interpretation. Jan Joosten and Jean Sébastien Rey, eds. JSJSup 150. Leiden: Brill, 2011, 75–94.

 “Solomon in Chronicles and Ben Sira: A Study in Contrasts.” In Rewriting Biblical History: Essays on Chronicles and Ben Sira in Honour of Pancratius C. Beentjes. Jeremy Corley and Harm van Grol, eds. FS Pancratius C. Beentjes. DCL Studies 7. Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2011, 139–157. 

Sirach or the Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sira.” Lead Translator. The Common English Bible. Paul Franklyn, general editor. Nashville: CEB, 2011.

“Biblical Interpretation in Ben Sira.” In A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism. Matthias Henze, ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2011, 361–386.

 “The Letter of Aristeas and the Question of Septuagint Origins Redux.” Journal of Ancient Judaism 2 (2011) 303–325.

“Sirach.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible. Michael Coogan, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.


4Q166 Pesher on Hosea
Benjamin Wright is Professor of the History of Christianity in the Religion Studies Department at Lehigh University. Many hours of Professor Wright's teenage years were spent reading the Bible. It only occurred to him after starting a major in Biology in college that he could spend a career doing that. He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Ursinus College, a small liberal arts college outside of Norristown, PA. After college he attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia where he earned his M.Div. in Biblical Studies. He finished his “formal” education at the University of Pennsylvania where he received a Ph.D. in Christian Origins, although the fun part of his job is learning new things about the ancient world every day.
At Lehigh he teaches courses in Bible, ancient Jewish and Christian literature, and the history of Judaism and Early Christianity. His research focuses mostly on Judaism in the Second Temple period (from about 300 BCE to the end of the first century CE), which includes the beginnings of Christianity. While he has published on a variety of subjects, most of his research has concentrated on three areas: (1) Jewish Wisdom literature of the period, especially a book called the Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sira; (2) the translation of Jewish literature from Hebrew into Greek; and (3) the Dead Sea Scrolls. He most recently completed, as co-editor with Albert Pietersma of the University of Toronto and translator, A New English Translation of the Septuagint (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), the first translation into English since 1841 of the Septuagint/Old Greek translations. He is also working on a commentary on the Letter of Aristeas for inclusion in the Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature series (published by Walter de Gruyter).
So much for the “formal” part. Anyone can look at the course catalog or Prof. Wright’s curriculum vitae and find out all this information. What he/she cannot find there is that Professor Wright is also an active ice hockey fan and coach. He was Head Coach and Faculty Advisor of Lehigh’s Division 1 ACHA Club team from 1994–1999 and  Associate Head Coach and Faculty Advisor from 2003–2008. The University awarded him its Faculty Advisor of the Year Award in 1996, and he won the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association’s first ever Coach of the Year Award in 1999. He served as an Associate Coach and the team's Faculty Advisor until 2011. He has also coached youth travel hockey with the Bethlehem Blast, high school at Liberty High School, where his son played before graduating from Liberty in 2008 and most recently coached the Salisbury Youth and Middle School teams. He also is a Coaching Education Program instructor in USA Hockey's Atlantic District.
She/he also could not discover in the formal bits that Prof. Wright is an avid guitar player. He has played in several bands, but currently plays with friends just for the fun of playing.  Prof. Wright also occasionally performs with his wife Mary, an independent theater artist and storyteller (go to Mary's storytelling website). He played the music in her one-woman show Arabella’s Great Adventure, the story of an intrepid single woman traveling the Oregon Trail. They have also performed together as the Community Guests at Touchstone Theater's "Christmas City Follies." Prof. Wright periodically plays a solo gig or two, and Mary often joins him. In 2004, he built his own guitar under the tutelage of luthier Frank Finocchio (go to Frank's website), and he would do it again in an instant (picture below).
  Ben Wright with his newly finished guitar (April 2004)