Concepts of Leadership in the Hebrew Bible


The research group focuses on the different conceptions of leadership in the Hebrew Bible. By analyzing the diverse and sometimes even contradictory concepts of leadership it aims at reconstructing the history of religious and/or political “authorities” in Israel and Early Judaism. Various functions and aspects of human leadership like “judge”, “priest”, “prophet”, “king” will be examined in a literary, (religious and tradition) historical and theological perspective with special emphasis on conceptual changes, developments and shifts. In methodological respect, the unit appreciates multiple approaches (e. g. from literary studies, sociology, cultural studies) and seeks to combine synchronic and diachronic perspectives. It will be asked, which aspects and functions are portrayed positively or negatively and how the relation between human and divine leadership is described and evaluated. Moreover, the respective literary and theological contexts of the different human leadership concepts and their relation to Ancient Near Eastern traditions will be analyzed. A further important aspect concerns changes or discrepancies within the biblical illustration of leadership: Can the alternation or transformation of leadership concepts be linked to the phenomenon “innerbiblical interpretation”? How can discrepancies between the texts be explained? Do changes in the attitude towards certain aspects and functions of human leadership follow a linear development throughout the biblical history? Are there any hints at the “Trägerkreise” behind the texts? By addressing these questions, the research group seeks to contribute to biblical theology and the relation between the history of Israel/Early Judaism and the literary history of the Hebrew Bible.


Leadership, Kingship, Priesthood, Prophets, Judges



Katharina Pyschny

Sarah Schulz

Member Area

Warsaw 2019 Call for Papers - Coming Soon

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.