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Dylan Johnson

Dr Dylan Johnson

Lecturer in Ancient Near ​Eastern History

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

+44 29208 76874
John Percival Building, Room 4.58, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am an ancient Near Eastern historian and biblical scholar (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament). Originating from Alberta, Canada, I have worked and studied at numerous academic institutions around North America and Europe before arriving at Cardiff University in 2022.

I am an expert on ancient Near Eastern and biblical legal texts in their original Semitic languages, which enables me to work in both the Ancient History and the Religious Studies and Theology sections at Cardiff University. I deliver a variety of lectures on Judaism (ancient to modern), ancient Near Eastern history, and I teach biblical Hebrew.








Book sections



I am an historian of the ancient Near East and a biblical scholar, with a specialization in the legal cultures of these regions and time periods. My research and teaching straddles the academic fields of Assyriology and Hebrew Bible, with numerous publications that integrate the diverse sources of Mesopotamia, ancient Syria, and the Hebrew Bible to answer historical questions.

My current research explores the phenomenon of lawgiving in the ancient Near East, examining Mesopotmian and biblical depictions of both human and divine lawgivers, and exploring the conceptual basis of this practice. I am part of an on-going ERC-funded research project based at the University of Zurich, entitled "How God Became a Lawgiver," which brings together specialists in Near Eastern, Biblical, and Greek legal cultures in a cross-cultural comparative project on ancient law.


Module Convenor:

  • Ancient Israel: Portrait of a Near Eastern Society (HS3388/RT0324)
  • Introduction to a Scriptural Language (RT0107/RT0108)
    • Biblical Hebrew

Seminar Instructor

  • Origins and Legacies of Religion in the Modern World (RT0101)
  • World Full of Gods (HS0001)
  • The Near East, Greece, and Rome, 1000-323 BCE (HS3108)
  • Investigating the Ancient World: Skills and Evidence (HS3103)
  • Ancient Objects, Then and Now (HS3107)


Education and Qualifications

  • 2018: PhD Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near Eastern Studies - New York University
  • 2016: Master 2 History of Law, Université Paris II – Panthéon-Assas
  • 2012: M. T. S. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; Harvard Divinity School
  • 2010: B. A. With Great Distinction History, University of Lethbridge

Honours and awards

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Research Grant (2019)
    • (Awarded, but declined)
  • Canadian Society of Biblical Studies Founder’s Prize (2018)
  • Henry M. MacCracken Fellow, New York University (2012-2017)
  • Bourse d’excellence Eiffel (2015-2016)
  • Global Research Initiative Fellow (Paris), New York University (2015-2016)
  • American Schools of Oriental Research Heritage Fellowship (2012)
  • Pfeiffer Grant; Harvard Semitic Museum (2011)
  • Harvard University Associates in Canada Scholarship (2011)
  • Harvard University Associates in Canada Scholarship (2010)

Professional memberships

  • European Association of Biblical Studies
  • Society of Biblical Literature
    • Steering committee for the Biblical Law section

Academic positions

  • 2022 - Present:   Lecturer, Cardiff University

  • 2020 - 2022:       Postdoctoral researcher, University of Zürich, Theological Faculty

  • 2018 - 2020:       Sessional (adjunct) instructor, University of Lethbridge, Canada

Speaking engagements


  • "Light of the Land, Sun of the People: The Solarization of Near Eastern and Biblical Lawgivers." Invited lecture in the Old Testament Research Seminar at St. Andrews School of Divinity, February 16.


  • Hebrew Bible
  • Assyriology
  • Akkadian Language
  • Northwest Semitic Epigraphy
  • Ancient Israel and Judah
  • Ancient Near Eastern Legal History
  • Comparative Legal History
  • Lawgiving in the Ancient World
  • Religions of the Ancient Near East
  • Early Judaism
  • Dead Sea Scrolls