Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Mark Lester, PhD

Title/s:  Instructor

Office #:  Crown Center 311

Phone: 773-508-2374


CV Link: Lester, Mark


Dr. Mark Lester teaches the study of religion and religious texts with a focus on the ritual actions that shape religious lives and interactions with scriptures. He has a Ph.D. (2020) in religious studies (Hebrew Bible) from Yale University, an M.A.R. in biblical studies from Yale Divinity School (2014), and a B.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania (2011). He has taught in Loyola’s Department of Theology since 2019.

He is interested in the study of material religion. His research examines the dynamic relationship between inscribed monuments and ritual in the Hebrew Bible and ancient world. His first book is entitled Deuteronomy and the Material Transmission of Tradition (Brill, forthcoming). The book seeks to reconstruct ancient attitudes towards writing that are reflected in Deuteronomy. It contends that the best way to do this is to uncover the media aesthetics of Iron Age monuments in the wider ancient Near East. The book engages in the multidisciplinary study of displayed writing as texts, as objects, and as visual forms which often integrate artistic elements like relief carvings.

He co-chairs the Hebrew Bible section and helps to organize the Midwest Regional Meeting for Biblical Studies (formerly the Midwest Regional Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature).

Research Interests

Hebrew Bible; Pentateuchal Theory; Writing and Materiality; Northwest Semitic Inscriptions; Ancient Near Eastern Monuments; Comparative Methodology; Linguistic Anthropology and Ancient Studies.

Selected Publications

  •  “Conveying the Covenant: Mechanisms of Persuasion in the Sefire Inscriptions,” in Studies on the Prophets, the Writings, and the Ancient World in Honor of Robert R. Wilson. Edited by Carolyn J. Sharp and Alison Gruseke. Münster: Zaphon, forthcoming.
  •  “Deuteronomy 28:58, CTH 53, and the Rhetoric of Self-Reference.” Vetus Testamentum 70 (2020): 645–666.