Headshot of Dr.William L. Kelly

Dr. William L. Kelly

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
  • Profile

    William L. Kelly teaches Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism, ranging from oldest sources to the first centuries of the common era. His first book, How Prophecy Works: A Study of the Semantic Field of נביא and a Close Reading of Jeremiah 1.4–19, 23.9–40 and 27:1–28:17 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020), is the first study to use linguistic semantics to examine the concepts and functions associated with prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Using the book of Jeremiah as a case study, it shows the continuity between ideas of prophecy in the Israelite tradition and wider cultural patterns related to divine communication in the ancient Near East.

    In his next book project, he makes use of materialist readings of biblical texts in the “spatial turn” in the humanities to explore the relationship between city and landscape in the book of Isaiah. Using the work of Henri Lefebvre, this work examines the social relations and modes of production in the Isaiah tradition. Shifting focus away from authorship to the social interests represented by texts, the project contributes to longstanding debates over the interpretation of continuities and discontinuities within the Isaiah tradition. The first parts of this project were presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature as “The Production of Natural Space in Isaiah 40–66” (Formation of Isaiah Section, San Antonio, 2021).

    Kelly has taught courses in literary studies, history, social science and First Year Seminars, in topics ranging from Bible, to Dead Sea Scrolls, to ancient Near Eastern mythology, and to Jewish-Christian relations. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond (RC 2007), and is also the faculty sponsor of the UR Lifting Club.

  • Publications
    Additional Publications

    How Prophecy Works: A Study of the Semantic Field of נביא and a Close Reading of Jeremiah 1:4–19, 23:9–40 and 27:1–28:17. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 272. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, in press.

    “The Nature of Prophecy in Hos 9:7–9.” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 130 (2018): 40–53.

    “Deutero-Jeremianic Language in the Temple Sermon. A Response to Christl Maier.” Pages 135–44 in Jeremiah’s Scriptures: Production, Reception, Interaction, and Transformation. Edited by Konrad Schmid and Hindy Najman. Supplements to the Journal of the Study of Judaism 173. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

    “Prophets, Kings and Honour in the Narrative of 1 Kgs 22.” Pages 64–75 in Prophets and Prophecy in Stories: Papers Read at the Fifth Meeting of the Edinburgh Prophecy Network, Utrecht October 2013. Edited by Bob Becking and Hans M. Barstad. Oudtestamentische studiën 65. Leiden: Brill, 2015.