Joel Burnett, Ph.D.

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Director, Institute for Biblical and Related Languages
Professor of Religion

  • Wofford College, B.A.
  • Princeton Theological Seminary, M.Div.
  • Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D.

Dr. Burnett is the author of two monographs, the leading editor of a third book, and the author of various articles in scholarly journals such as Journal of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. He has been awarded a 2009-2010 Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) research fellowship for the study of Iron Age religion of Transjordan at the American Center of Oriental Studies (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan. His favorite hobbies include traveling, bike rides, and enjoying music with his wife, Jamie, and their two children, Hannah and Wilson.

Academic Interests and Research:

The ancient Near East, history of Israelite religion, the book of Psalms, biblical Elohim, the religion of Iron Age Transjordan, divine presence and absence in the Hebrew Bible.

Professional Awards and Activities:

Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarship (2007)

Southwest Commission on Religious Studies Junior Scholar Award (2003)

Member of Society of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Association, and American Schools of Oriental Research

Grants and Fellowships:

Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Fellowship (2009-2010)

Baylor University Faculty Research Investment Program Grant (2007-2008)

Baylor University Research Committee Grant (2002; 2010; 2011)


Where Is God?” Divine Absence in the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010).

Diachronic and Synchronic—Reading the Psalms in Real Time: Proceedings of the Baylor Symposium on the Book of Psalms (co-edited with W.H. Bellinger and W. Dennis Tucker; LHB/OTS 488; London: T & T Clark International, 2007).

A Reassessment of Biblical Elohim. Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 183. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001.

Selected Research Articles:

“[El, Elohim, Eloah, Elohut].” Pages 178-90 in Theologisches Wörterbuch zu den Qumrantexten. H.-J. Fabry and U. Dahmen, eds. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2011.

“‘Going Down’” to Bethel: Elijah and Elisha in the Theological Geography of the Deuteronomistic History.” Journal of Biblical Literature 129 (2010): 281-97.

“Divine Absence in Biblical Personal Names.” In These Are the Names: Studies in Jewish Onomastics, Volume 5 (ed. Aaron Demsky; Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ. Press, 2011), 71-93.

“Iron Age Deities in Word, Image, and Name: Correlating Epigraphic, Iconographic, and Onomastic Evidence for the Ammonite God,” Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 10 (2009): 153–64.

“A Plea for David and Zion: The Elohistic Psalter as Psalm Collection for the Temple’s Restoration.” Pages 95–113 in Diachronic and Synchronic—Reading the Psalms in Real Time: Proceedings of the Baylor Symposium on the Book of Psalms (ed. Joel S. Burnett, W.H. Bellinger, and W. Dennis Tucker; LHB/OTS 488; London: T & T Clark International, 2007).

“‘Where is God?’—Divine Absence in Israelite Religion.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 33 (2006): 395–414.

“Forty-Two Songs for Elohim: An Ancient Near Eastern Organizing Principle in the Shaping of the Elohistic Psalter,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (2006): 81–102.

“The Question of Divine Absence in Israelite and West Semitic Religion.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 67 (2005): 215–35.

“Changing Gods: An Exposition of Jeremiah 2.” Review and Expositor 101 (2004): 289-99.

“The Pride of Jacob.” Pages 319-50 in David and Zion: Biblical Studies in Honor of J.J.M. Roberts. Edited by Bernard F. Batto and Kathryn L. Roberts. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2004.

Current Ph.D. Student:

Lacy Crocker

Former Ph.D. Students:

Jason Dykehouse

David Melvin

Courses Taught at Baylor:
  • HEB 1301-02 Introductory Biblical Hebrew
  • HEB 2310-20 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew
  • AKK 5307 Akkadian
  • UGA 5306 Ugaritic
  • REL 1310 Introduction to the Christian Scriptures
  • REL 3301 Psalms and Wisdom Literature
  • REL 3303 Archaeology and the Bible
  • REL 5301 Contemporary Issues in Old Testament Studies: Israelite Religion
  • REL 5323 The History of Ancient Israel
  • REL 5309 Selected Documents from the Hebrew Scriptures
  • REL 5101 Old Testament Graduate Colloquium
  • REL 5301 Contemporary Issues: Northwest Semitic Epigraphy