Loren Spielman

Professor Loren SpielmanAssociate Professor of Judaic Studies


(503) 725-5940

Office: UCB 465E



Courses Taught

JST 201: Introduction to Judaism

JST/HST 317U: Jewish History I

HST 319U: Rabbinic Culture in a Roman World

JST 324U: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

JST 325U: Retelling the Bible

RST 415: Jews and Christians: Ancient Sources and Contemporary Perspectives


Professor Loren Spielman specializes in Ancient Jewish History. His research and courses engage in the work of breaking down preconceptions about the Jewish past. Professor Spielman’s first book, Sitting with Scorners: Jews and Entertainment in the Ancient World  (forthcoming, Mohr Siebeck), argues against the long-standing belief that Jews were predominantly resistant to the popular entertainments of the ancient world: athletics, theater, horse races and gladiators. His classes, which include Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and Pagans, Christians and Jews, examine the links between the Bible and history and investigate the intersections between ancient Judaism, early Christianity and Greco-Roman culture.  A native of Brooklyn, NY, Professor Spielman enjoys exploring the beauty of his new home in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two young children.


  • Ph.D. Ancient Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2010
  • M.A. Ancient Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2002
  • B.A. Ancient Judaism, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2000
  • B.A. Literature and Creative Writing, Columbia University, 2000

Research Interests

  • Political, social and economic history of ancient Palestine
  • Rabbinic literature and culture
  • Social history of the Later Roman Empire
  • Sport and spectacle in the ancient Mediterranean
  • Jewish and Christian dialogue in Late Antiquity

Representative Publications

Sitting with Scorners: Ancient Jewish Attitudes towards Sport and Spectacle (forthcoming)

"Playing Roman in Jerusalem: Jewish Attitudes towards Sport and Spectacle during the Second Temple Period," in Jews in the Gym: Judaism, Sports and Athletics, Vol. 23 of Studies in Jewish Civilization. Edited by L. Greenspoon. (Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2012).

"Review: Holger M. Zellentin, Rabbinic Parodies of Jewish and Christian Literature," Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations (SCJR):9. (2014).