William Arthur Tooman


  • KY16 9JU

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

PhD projects

Ancient Jewish interpretation; Torah (Pentateuch); Prophets; Inner-biblical Interpretation; Reuse of Scripture; Textual-criticism; Second Temple literature; Poetics of ancient Jewish Literature; Ruth; Esther

Personal profile

Research overview

I specialize in the literature and thought of ancient Judaism, including the Hebrew Bible. 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). My specific research interest is the intersection of poetics and literary evolution and transmission, particularly as they impact ancient Jewish interpretation. (Research domains: textual-criticism, historical-criticism, inner-biblical interpretation, comparative poetics, aesthetics, coherence, scribal practice, law in narrative.)

Prof Tooman is co-PI, with Prof Andrew Teeter (Harvard), of the long-term research project Texture: Historical Poetics of Ancient Jewish Literature (https://texturepoetics.com).


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, and he was promoted to Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism in 2023.  He has been co-director of the Institute of Bible, Theology, and Hermeneutics since 2018.

Future research

The Art of Inner-biblical Allusion (monograph; with Michael A. Lyons)

Ruth, International Critical Commentary Series

Teaching activity

Undergraduate Modules:

DI1003 Old Testament 1: Torah and Prophets

DI2002 Hebrew 2 

DI3711 Reading the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

DI4700 Hebrew Prose and Poetry

DI4711 Prophets: Hebrew Texts

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)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification


Award Date: 20 Jun 2006

External positions



Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Edgewood College



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