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, L. S. “Kedushah.” In Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, n.d.


Lieber, L. S. “"You have skirted This hill long enough": The tension between rhetoric and history in a Byzantine Piyyut.” Hebrew Union College Annual 80 (December 1, 2009): 63–114.

Lieber, L. “Portraits of righteousness: Noah in early christian and jewish hymnography.” Zeitschrift Fur Religions  Und Geistesgeschichte 61, no. 4 (September 1, 2009): 332–55. Full Text

Green, D. A., and L. S. Lieber. “Introduction.” Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination Essays in Honour of Michael Fishbane, May 1, 2009. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “The Exegesis of Love: Text and Context in the Early Synagogue.” Review of Rabbinic Literature 11 (2008): 73–99.

Lieber, L. S. “The Generation that Built the Tower: Yannai on Genesis 11.” Review of Rabbinic Judaism 8 (2005): 161–88.

Lieber, Laura Suzanne. “Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice. Mark Washofsky.” The Journal of Religion 82, no. 4 (October 2002): 670–71. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Review of Mark Washofsky, Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice.” Journal of Religion 82 (2002): 670–71.