Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Mark Lester, PhD

Title/s:  Instructor

Office #:  Crown Center 321

Phone: 773-508-2481

Email: mlester2@luc.edu

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 is working on a second book project on metalepsis in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Jewish literature.

He serves on the steering committee for the Space, Place, and Lived Experience in Antiquity Section of the Society of Biblical Literature. He is also the co-organizer for the Midwest Regional Meeting for Biblical Studies (Formerly the Midwest SBL Regional Meeting), where he also co-chairs the Hebrew Bible Section.


Ph.D., Yale University

M.A.R., Yale Divinity School

B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

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

Selected Publications

Deuteronomy and the Material Transmission of Tradition. Vetus Testamentum Supplements. Leiden: Brill (forthcoming).

Matseivah.” In Philological Practices: A Comparative Historical Lexicon. Princeton University Press. Edited by Anne Eusterschulte, Glenn W. Most and Martin Kern (forthcoming).

“Self-Reference and Authority in Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions and Deuteronomy.” In Deuteronomy (Formation and Interpretation of Old Testament Literature). Leiden: Brill. Edited by Dominik Markl, Craig A. Evans, Kyung S. Baek (in preparation).

“Conveying the Covenant: Mechanisms of Persuasion in the Sefire Inscriptions.” Pages 171–182 in Studies on the Prophets, the Writings, and the Ancient World in Honor of Robert R. Wilson. Edited by Carolyn J. Sharp and Alison Acker Gruseke. Ägypten und Altes Testament 117. Münster: Zaphon, 2023.

“Deuteronomy 28:58, CTH 53, and the Rhetoric of Self-Reference.” Vetus Testamentum 70 (2020): 645–666.