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Tawny Holm

Tawny Holm

Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies

323 Weaver Building University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-0790


  1. Ph.D., Hebrew Bible & Northwest Semitic Languages, The Johns Hopkins University, 1997


Prof. Holm’s scholarship deals with the Hebrew Bible, Aramaic studies, Early Judaism, and Ancient Near Eastern cultures, literature, and history. Her book, Of Courtiers and Kings: The Biblical Daniel Narratives and Ancient Story-Collections (Eisenbrauns, 2013), approaches the court tales of Daniel 1-6 and their later incorporation into the biblical editions of the book within the context of story-collections and story-cycles in the Ancient Near East.


Her current research is particularly focused on the Jewish and Aramean presence in Egypt in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Her forthcoming volume for the SBL series “Writings from the Ancient World” (WAW) is devoted to the ancient Aramaic literature from Syro-Palestine and Egypt and includes an edition of Papyrus Amherst 63, which contains several different compositions and is written in Aramaic but with Demotic Egyptian script. Prof. Holm is also working on a monograph on Ancient Aramaic literature generally (under contract with Walter de Gruyter).

Recent Publications: 

“The Sheikh Faḍl Inscription in Its Literary and Historical Context.” Aramaic Studies 5 (2007), pp. 193-224.

“The Fiery Furnace in the Book of Daniel and the Ancient Near East.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 128 (2008), pp. 85-104.

“Moses in the Prophets and the Writings of the Hebrew Bible.” In Jane Beal, ed., Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance, pp. 37-57. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

“Memories of Sennacherib in Aramaic Tradition.” In Isaac Kalimi and Seth Richardson, eds., Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem (701 B.C.E.): Story, History and Historiography. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

“Aramaic.” In Gonzalo Rubio, ed., Handbook of Ancient Mesopotamia. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, in press.

Awards and Service:

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2015-2016)

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion Grant (2006, for workshop series 2007-2009)

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (2004)

Assistant Editor of Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies (1999-2000)

Samuel Iwry Fellowship for Outstanding Hebrew Scholar, The Johns Hopkins University (1991-92, 1993-94)

Student Testimonial

“The Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies is an incredibly helpful community of individuals who love to learn. The faculty members of this department are very thoughtful and provide invaluable assistance to otherwise confused undergraduates. (...)
The smaller department size allows students to establish relationships with faculty and to establish a community in a school that might otherwise seem dauntingly large. The Classics and the study of the ancient Mediterranean world are strong at Penn State. For a school that prides itself on cutting-edge research and applied sciences, Penn State is a superb promoter of the Humanities. This support allows the CAMS department to recruit world-class faculty, provide generous funding and aid to undergraduates, and establish resources for research. The structure of the department was a perfect fit for me and allowed me to explore a wide-range of subjects related to my interests. In my four years in the program, I strengthened my Latin and Greek and was also able to study Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Sumerian. I now look forward to continuing my training in philology as I pursue graduate study.”

Timothy W. Dooley
2011 CAMS graduate

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