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Dr William Tooman

Dr William Tooman

Senior Lecturer in Old Testament / Hebrew Bible

Director of Research

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 462848



Following completion of a comprehensive undergraduate degree in Divinity, William Tooman pursued graduate studies in Northwest Semitic languages and ancient Hebrew literature.  He completed his PhD in Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 under the supervision of Prof Michael V. Fox.

 After a brief teaching appointment in Jewish Studies at UW-Madison, Dr Tooman secured his first academic post in 2006 as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Edgewood College, a private Dominican liberal arts college. In 2009, he was appointed Lecturer in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the University of St Andrews, where he has been Senior Lecturer since 2013.  He became Director of Research in 2016 and co-director of the Institute of Bible, Theology, and Hermeneutics in 2018.


Undergraduate Modules:

DI1003 Old Testament 1: Torah and Prophets

DI2002 Hebrew 2 

DI3711 Reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

DI4700 Hebrew Prose and Poetry

DI4715 Torah: Covenant and Composition

DI4726 Hebrew Reading and Syntax 


Postgraduate Modules:

DI5105 Textual Criticism 

DI5106 Advanced Hebrew Readings 

Context, Formation, and Meaning of the Biblical Canons (University of Zürich; co-taught with Prof Dr Konrad Schmid)

Research areas

I specialize in the literature and thought of the Hebrew Bible and other Second Temple literatures. The object of my research is to recover, as fully as possible, the full spectrum of literary conventions used by ancient Jewish writers and the competencies of ancient Jewish readers (up to circa 250 CE). This aim has descriptive-historical and theoretical-methodological dimensions. In descriptive-historical terms, my goal is to achieve precise descriptions of the structural and compositional features of this body of literature, including consideration of how those features changed through time and validated by attending to empirical evidence of ancient reading and writing practices. In terms of theory and method, my research requires attention to both synchronic and diachronic methodologies (poetics, intertextuality, historical-criticism, textual-criticism, history of interpretation, and cultural history), which must then be adapted in light of and integrated with the descriptive-historical findings.

PhD supervision

  • Tobias Siegenthaler
  • Fanos Tsegaye
  • Veronica Vandervliet
  • Andrew Meeson
  • Tamara Knudson
  • Ethan Knudson

Selected publications


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