Deborah Louise Forger

Lecturer & Research Associate
Academic Appointments

Visiting Scholar, Jewish Studies

A Visiting Scholar in the Jewish Studies Program (2021–2024) Forger is a scholar of Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament, with an additional focus on early Jewish-Christian relations. She was a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies and received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship, a multi-year national dissertation award. Though later polemics suggest that Jews and Christians differentiated themselves based on their views of God’s body, her work complicates this picture by analyzing how first-century Jews envisioned God in bodily form or humans as divine. She is also interested in the intersection of embodiment theory and sensory analysis, with a particular focus on aurality, as well as in questions of where, how, and when the ways parted between Jews and Christians, and how scriptural hermeneutics impacted, complicated, impinged upon, and fortified those separations.

Jewish Studies
Ph.D. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.Div. Duke University
B.S. Calvin College

Selected Publications

"God Made Manifest: Josephus, Idolatry, and Divine Images in Flavian Rome." Journal for the Study of Judaism 51 (2020): 231-260.

"Jesus as God's Word(s): Aurality, Epistemology, and Embodiment in the Gospel of John." Journal for the Study of the New Testament 42.3 (2020): 274–302.

Parchment Packages in the Jewish Jesus Class: Pedagogical Practices in the Digital Age,” Ancient Jew Review. August 26, 2020. 

Divine Embodiment in Philo of Alexandria.” Journal for the Study of Judaism 49.2 (2018): 223–262.

Interpreting the Syrophoenician Woman to Construct Jewish-Christian Fault Lines: John Chrysostom and the Pseudo-Clementine Homilist in Chrono-Locational Perspective,” Journal of the Jesus Movement in its Jewish Setting 3 (2016): 132–166. 

Speaking engagements

The University of Glasgow. Divine Bodies Conference. "The Luminous Bodied Divinity Tradition." April 1, 2021.

The University of California, Davis. New Directions in Jewish Studies Lecture Series. “The Embodied God in Ancient Jewish Tradition.” April 14, 2021.