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Eleanor Vivian

Theology, Divinity and Religion, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

The Function of Metaphor in the Depictions of Disability in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls

My project will investigate how metaphorical language is used to both describe and conceptualise disabled bodies in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The aim of my research is to expose the ways in which ancient authors and their communities considered and constructed boundaries, identities, and values in terms of bodily difference.

Research Area

  • Theology, Divinity and Religion


“Human Reproduction and Infertility in the Hebrew Bible.” Currents in Biblical Research 21.1 (2022): 267–92. https://doi.org/10.1177/1476993X221104182.

Book Reviews
"Review of Heroic Bodies in Ancient Israel by Brian R. Doak (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)." JSOT 45.5 (2021): 8586.

"Review of Psalms as a Grammar for Faith: Prayer and Praise by W.H. Bellinger Jr. (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2019)." JSOT 44.5 (2020): 57.

"Review of The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Biblical Interpretation edited by Paul M. Blowers and Peter W. Martens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)" JSOT 44.5 (2020): 75.

"Review of Royal Illness and Kingship Ideology in the Hebrew Bible by Isabel Cranz (Society for Old Testament Studies Monograph Series; Cambridge: Cambrige University Press, 2020)." JSOT 45.5 (2021): 84.


Speaking Engagements:
Leuven-Groningen-Oxford Dead Sea Scrolls Network, KU Leuven (June 2019): 
"An Understanding of the Hapax Legomena of the Hebrew Bible in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls"

Categories and Boundaries in Second Temple Jewish Literature, M4C CDF  University of Birmingham (March 2021):
"Complicating the Category of ‘Disability’: The Role of the Body in Boundary Construction and Identity Formation in the Dead Sea Scrolls"

Divine Bodies, University of Glagsow (April 2021):
"Infertile Bodies as Disabled Bodies in the Hebrew Bible: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach" 

Birmingham-Budapest International Doctoral Seminar, University of Birmingham and Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest (April 2021): 
"Considering Metaphors for Infertility and Reproduction from the Hebrew Bible in English Bible Translations"

British Association of Jewish Studies (BAJS) Annual Conference: 'World in Crisis', University of Southampton (July 2021):
"The Female Body in Crisis? Applying Metaphor Theory to the Depictions of Infertility in the Hebrew Bible"

Female Corporeality and Religion, KU Leuven (forthcoming, June 2023):
Infertility as Barrenness: Metaphor, Metonymy, and the Female Body in the Hebrew Bible"

European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS) Annual Conference, Siracuse (forthcoming, July 2023):
"Melting like wax: bodily fluidity and boundedness in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls"

Birmingham English Language Postgraduate (BELP) Conference, University of Birmingham (April 2021): Panel Chair

Birmingham English Language Postgraduate (BELP) Conference, University of Birmingham (April 2022): Organiser

The Dead Sea Scrolls as a Scholarly Phenomenon: A Meta-Critical Analysis of Dead Sea Scrolls ResearchUniversity of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway (December 2022): Organiser

Public Engagement & Impact

UNIQ  Widening Access and Participation, University of Oxford.
Subject Ambassador (Easter and Summer Vacations 2017)
Digital Ambassador (Trinity Term and Summer Vacation 2018, 2019)
Site Manager (Summer Vacation 2018)

Ancient Afterlives – Podcast
Host and Organiser (2021present)
- Gender and the Biblical World Roundtable (November 2021)
- Review of Season 1 (forthcoming)


BRANE Collective
European Association for Biblical Studies
Society for Old Testament Study

Invited Lectures and Seminars

Theology Study Day  St. John's College, Oxford (September 2019):
"An Introduction to the Reception History of the Hebrew Bible"

Graduate Biblical Studies Seminar  Kings College, London (March 2021):
"'Your wife will be like a fruitful vine': A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to the Language of Fertility in the Hebrew Bible" 

Nottingham Biblical Studies Seminar  University of Nottingham (April 2022)
"Critical Disability Studies and the Hebrew Bible"

Teaching and Experience

St Benet's Hall, Oxford 
Supplementary Biblical Hebrew Tutor (2018–19)

Worcester College, Oxford
Supplementary Biblical Hebrew Tutor (2019–20)
Research Assistant to Prof. Susan Gillingham (2019)

St John's College, Oxford 
Research Assistant to Prof. Katherine Southwood (201920)

University of Birmingham
Postgraduate Teaching Assistant 
The Bible and Global Challenges (2021–22)
– Life After Death (2022–23)
– Introduction to the Study of Religion (2022–23)

University of London (Worldwide)
 Texts in Hebrew (2022–23)
 Reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2022–23)

 Sacrifice, Praise and Wisdom (2022–23)
 Biblical Hebrew: Language and Texts (2022–23)
 Texts in Hebrew (2022–23)

Scholarships, Prizes, and Bursaries

Junior Pusey and Ellerton Memorial Prize for Biblical Hebrew – University of Oxford (2016) Senior Pusey and Ellerton Memorial Prize for Biblical Hebrew – University of Oxford (2018)         

Exhibitioner Worcester College, Oxford (2016–17) Scholar – Worcester College, Oxford (2017–18) College Prize for performance in MPhil Theology – Worcester College, Oxford (2020)

Rebecca Flowers Bursary, Squire and Marriott Fund (2018–19, 2019–20)
St. Luke’s Foundation Personal Award (2019–20)
Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (2020present)

Education History

I completed my BA in Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford in 2018, graduating with First Class Honours. I then continued my study at the same institution, completing an MPhil in Theology (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) in 2020, graduating with a distinction.

Academic Engagement

PGTips – Postgraduate Forum, English Language and Linguistics (ELAL), University of Birmingham
Committee Member (2021–2022)

Peer Mentorship Scheme – Philosophy, Theology and Religion (PTR), University of Birmingham
Peer Mentor (2021–2022)