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

Lieber, L. S. “Entering the High Holy Days.” In Mishkan Ha-Nefesh, xvii–xix. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2015.

Lieber, L. S. “Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry) (In preparation).” In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford: Blackwell, 2015.

Lieber, Laura S. “The Piyyutim le-Hatan of Qallir and Amittai - Jewish Marriage Customs in Early Byzantium.” edited by S. Fine and A. Koller, 73:275–99. WALTER DE GRUYTER GMBH, 2014.

Lieber, L. S. “The Poetry of Creation: Zevadiah and Amittai’s Yotzerot le-Hatan (Groom’s Yotzers).” In Recent Developments in Midrash, edited by David Nelson and Rikva Ulmer. Gorgias Press, 2013.

Lieber, L. S. “Kedushah.” In Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, edited by Lisbeth Fried, Nicola Denzy Lewis, and Michael Satlow. Cambridge UP, 2013.

Lieber, L. S. “Jewish Women: Texts and Contexts.” In A Companion to Women in the Ancient World, 329–42, 2012. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Piyyut.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford UP, 2012.

Lieber, L. S. “Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry).” In The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2012.

Lieber, L. S. ““Dew of Rest: The World of Nature in Qallir’s Gevurot shel Tal".” In Menachem Schmelzer Festschrift, edited by Debra Blank, 167–83. Brill, 2011.

Lieber, L. S. “Jewish Women.” In The Blackwell Companion to Women in the Ancient World, edited by Sheila Dillon and Sharon James, 329–42. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2011.


Lieber, L. S. “With One Voice: Elements of Acclamation in Early Jewish Liturgical Poetry.” Harvard Theological Review 111, no. 3 (July 1, 2018): 401–24. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Daru in the winehouse: The intersection of status and dance in the Jewish east.” Journal of Religion 98, no. 1 (January 1, 2018): 90–113. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Jewish Aramaic poetry from late antiquity: Translations and commentaries.” Etudes Sur Le Judaisme Medieval 75 (January 1, 2018): 1–245. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “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): 265–91. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “Theater of the Holy: Performative Elements of Late Ancient Hymnography.” Harvard Theological Review 108, no. 3 (January 1, 2015): 327–55. Full Text

Lieber, L. S. “From the Margins: A Response to ‘Schoeps on Schoeps’.” Nexus: Essays in German Jewish Studies 2 (2015): 33–36.

Lieber, L. S. “Setting the stage: The theatricality of Jewish Aramaic poetry from late antiquity.” Jewish Quarterly Review 104, no. 4 (September 1, 2014): 537–72. Full Text

Lieber, L. “Telling a Liturgical Tale: Storytelling in Early Jewish Liturgical Poetry.” Zeitschrift Fur Religions  Und Geistesgeschichte 66, no. 3–4 (January 1, 2014): 209–32. Full Text