Kerry Sonia Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Kerry Sonia

Tucker Hall 021

Professor Sonia is a specialist in the Hebrew Bible, ancient Judaism, and religions of the ancient Near East. Her work examines the formation of the Hebrew Bible, the religious practices of the Israelite family, and mythology in ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism. Her current book project, The Enduring Dead: the Cult of Dead Kin in Ancient Israel (forthcoming with SBL Press), examines the care and commemoration of the dead in ancient Israel. With attention to both the biblical text and archaeological evidence, the book interrogates the relationship between commemoration of the dead and the cult of the Jerusalem temple. Fundamentally, The Enduring Dead argues that biblical writers continue to draw upon the imagery and individual practices of the cult of dead kin to articulate ideologies about the national god of Israel in the post-Exilic period.

Professor Sonia received a PhD in Religious Studies from Brown University. Her courses focus on the Bible in its ancient context as well as its interpretation in subsequent historical periods. Her teaching engages not only with the study of religion but also issues related to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and power. She previously taught at Bowdoin College, where she taught courses on ancient conceptions of death and immortality, biblical warfare, and theories and methods in the study of religion. Her upcoming courses at W&L include “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament” and “Exodus and Exile: Oppression, Salvation, and Diaspora in Jewish Tradition.”