Laura Suzanne Lieber

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) 660-3504

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. "Entering the High Holy Days." In Mishkan ha-Nefesh, xvii-xix. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2015. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry) (In preparation)." In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford: Blackwell, 2015. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "The Poetry of Creation: Zevadiah and Amittai’s Yotzerot le-Hatan (Groom’s Yotzers)." In Recent Developments in Midrash,edited by D Nelson and R Ulmer. Gorgias Press, 2013.

Lieber, LS. "Kedushah." In Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions,edited by L Fried, ND Lewis, and M Satlow. Cambridge UP, 2013.

"Jewish Women: Texts and Contexts." In A Companion to Women in the Ancient World, 329-342. February 13, 2012. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut." In Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford UP, 2012.

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry)." In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2012.

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. "Jewish Women." In The Blackwell Companion to Women in the Ancient World,edited by S Dillon and S James, 329-342. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2011.


Lieber, LS. "With One Voice: Elements of Acclamation in Early Jewish Liturgical Poetry." Harvard Theological Review 111, no. 3 (July 1, 2018): 401-424. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Jewish Aramaic poetry from late antiquity: Translations and commentaries." Etudes Sur Le Judaisme Medieval 75 (January 1, 2018): 1-245. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Daru in the Winehouse: The Intersection of Status and Dance in the Jewish East." The Journal of Religion 98, no. 1 (January 2018): 90-113. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "On the road with the mater Dolorosa: An exploration of mother-son discourse performance." Journal of Early Christian Studies 24, no. 2 (June 1, 2016): 265-291. (Review) Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Stages of Grief: Enacting Lamentation in Late Ancient Hymnography." Ajs Review 40, no. 1 (April 1, 2016): 101-124. (Review) Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Theater of the Holy: Performative Elements of Late Ancient Hymnography." Harvard Theological Review 108, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 327-355. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "From the Margins: A Response to ‘Schoeps on Schoeps’." NEXUS: Essays in German Jewish Studies 2 (2015): 33-36.

"Telling a Liturgical Tale: Storytelling in Early Jewish Liturgical Poetry." Zeitschrift Für Religions Und Geistesgeschichte 66, no. 3-4 (October 13, 2014): 209-232. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Setting the stage: The theatricality of Jewish Aramaic poetry from late antiquity." Jewish Quarterly Review 104, no. 4 (January 1, 2014): 537-572. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "The Plot within the Piyyut: Retelling the Story of Balak on the Liturgical Stage." The Journal for Textual Reasoning 8 (2014).