Alan Cooper is the Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies and provost of The Jewish Theological Seminary. He joined the faculty in 1997 as professor of Bible, and has served as chair of the Bible Department and director of publications at JTS. In 1998, he was appointed professor of Bible at the Union Theological Seminary, a nondenominational Christian seminary, becoming the first person to hold professorships at both JTS and Union. He previously was a professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where for six years he was director of its School of Graduate Studies. He also taught religious studies for ten years at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Dr. Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Columbia University. He went on to do his graduate work at Yale University, earning a master of philosophy degree and doctorate in Religious Studies. His doctoral dissertation was on the linguistic structure of biblical poetry. He also spent a year in Jerusalem as a Hebrew University Postdoctoral Fellow.
His publications include a monograph on Canaanite divine names that appear in the Hebrew Bible and many articles on biblical poetics and the history of interpretation. Recent articles include "The Message of Lamentations" in the Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society and "Biblical Studies and Jewish Studies" in the Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies. His current works-in-progress include a commentary on Psalms 31–60 for the Jewish Publication Society, a series of articles on the literary history of the Pentateuch, and a monograph on traditional interpretation of Leviticus 12 (a portion of which has appeared in the Harvard Theological Review). For the work on Leviticus, he was awarded a Lilly Endowment Faculty Fellowship in 2003–2004.
Dr. Cooper lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, Dr. Tamar Frank. They have two children.
"Biblical Studies and Jewish Studies" by Alan Cooper in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies.
"In Praise of Divine Caprice: The Significance of the Book of Jonah" by Alan Cooper in Among Prophets: Language, Image, and Structure in the Prophetic Writings.