Laura Suzanne Lieber

Professor of Religious Studies

External address: 
118B Gray Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90964, Durham, NC 27708-0964
(919) 660-3510

My primary area of research is in the area of synagogue poetry ("piyyut") from Late Antiquity and the Byzantine period. I examine these works from a variety of perspectives, including literary, performative, and comparative (particularly with early Christian hymnography in Syriac and Greek), and also as a genre of early Jewish biblical interpretation. In recent years, I have begun to integrate the study of material culture into my analysis of these literary works, as part of taking a more fully "contextual" approach to literary analysis. My most recent work approaches late ancient hymnography through the lens of theater studies and performance.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 2003
  • M.A., Hebrew Union College 1998
  • B.A., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville 1994

Lieber, LS. "The Song of Songs." In Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish Religion, History, and Culture,edited by J Baskin, 552-553. Cambridge UP, 2011.

Lieber, LS. "“Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry)"." In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History,edited by G Bohak. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2011.

Lieber, LS. "“Dew of Rest: The World of Nature in Qallir’s Gevurot shel Tal"." In Menachem Schmelzer Festschrift,edited by D Blank, 167-183. Brill, 2011.

Lieber, LS. "Post-Biblical Exegesis: Parashat Tetzaveh." In The Torah: A Women’s Commentary,edited by TC Eskenazi and A Weiss, 490-491. URJ Press / Women of Reform Judaism, 2008.

Lieber, LS. "Penitential Themes in Early Synagogue Poetry." In Penitential Prayer: Origins, Development, and Impact,edited by MJ Boda, DK Falk, and R Werline, 99-125. SBL / Brill, 2008.

Lieber, LS. "Confessions from A-Z: Penitential Forms in Early Synagogue Poetry." In Penitential Prayer: Origins, Development, and Impact,edited by M Boda, D Falk, and R Werline, 99-125. Atlanta: Society of Bibilical Literature, 2008. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut." In The Encyclopedia of Judaism, 2000-2019. Leidden: Brill, 2005. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "‘O, my dove in the cranny of the rocks, let me see your face!’ Targum, piyyut, and the literary life of the ancient synagogue." In Paratext and Megatext As Channels of Jewish and Christian Traditions,edited by AAD Hollander, UB Schmid, and WF Smelik. BRILL, January 1, 2003.

Lieber, LS. "Jewish Worship (In preparation)." In The Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient Media,edited by E Stern, R Person, C Keith, and T Thatcher. London: T&T Clark. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "Stage Mothers: Performing the Matriarchs in Genesis Rabbah and Yannai (In preparation)." In Genesis Rabbah Conference Volume,edited by P Schaefer, M Himmelfarb, and S Kattan. Berlin & New York: de Gruyter. (Chapter)


Lieber, LS. "Review of Geza Vermes, Jesus in the Jewish World." Theology 115 (2012): 53-54. (Review)

Lieber, LS. "Themes and Variations: Yannai on Exod. 3:1 and Deut. 6:4." Prooftexts 30 (2011): 180-213. (Academic Article)

Lieber, LS. "Essays on Michael Fishbane, Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology." Edited by L Edwards. The CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly (2011). (Special issue)

Lieber, L. "Themes and Variations: Yannai on Exodus 3:1 and Deuteronomy 6:4." Prooftexts 30, no. 2 (April 2010): 180-216. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "The Rhetoric of Participation: Experiential Elements of Early Hebrew Liturgical Poetry." JOURNAL OF RELIGION 90, no. 2 (April 2010): 119-147.

Lieber, LS. "Review of Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Song and Memory. Biblical Women in Syriac Tradition (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2010)." Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 62 (2010): 393-393. (Academic Article)

Lieber, LS. "Portraits of Righteousness: Noah in Early Christian and Jewish Hymnography." Zeitschrift fuer Religions- und Geistegeschichte 61 (2009): 332-355. (Academic Article)