Dr Angela Kim Harkins

Department of Theology and Religion
Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow

Contact details

 During the 2014-2016 period of this Marie Curie Fellowship, I will undergo an integrative study of how the memory of the Teacher of Righteousness was experienced at Qumran. 


  • BA(Hons) in Theology, Loyola University, Chicago (1994)
  • MA in Theology, University of Notre Dame (1997)
  • PhD in Theology, University of Notre Dame (2003)


I grew up in the United States (Chicago, Illinois) and have been living in the U.K. since 2013. I earned my B.A. hons. in Theology, magna cum laude, from Loyola University of Chicago (1994) and completed a M.A. in Theology at the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in biblical languages (1997). After a year abroad at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Fulbright, 1997-1998), I returned to complete my PhD in Theology at the University of Notre Dame in the area Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity (2003) where I worked with Professor James C. VanderKam. My dissertation applied redaction criticism to the Qumran prayer collection known as the Hodayot (Thanksgiving Hymns) and was published as a series of journal articles. I am currently an Associate
Professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT (USA), but I will begin my post as an Associate Professor at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (USA) in the fall of 2015. 


My recent monograph published with Berlin’s de Gruyter Press (2012) is entitled Reading with an 'I' to the Heavens: Looking at the Qumran Hodayot through the Lens of Visionary Traditions. This is the third volume in Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. This book examines the Qumran hodayot in light of ancient visionary traditions, new developments in cognitive psychology, performance theory, post-structuralist understandings of the embodied subject, and critical spatiality. While previous studies have examined well the references and allusions to scriptural references, this work fills a scholarly gap in understanding the relationship of these texts to non-biblical traditions. This book departs from traditional studies of the hodayot which approached these texts from a strictly literary or historical perspective, and understands the subject of the “I” in cols. 10-17 as a constructed persona and not as the Teacher of Righteousness.

The thesis of this book is that the ritualized reading and re-reading of the hodayot written in first person voice has the potential to create within the ancient reader the subjectivity of the speaker of these texts. References to the body, aspects of spatiality, and the strategic arousal of emotions in the group of texts known as the Teacher Hymns and the second group of Community Hymns can be understood to function with a practice of performative reading to engender a religious experience of ascent and spatial mobility.  Attention to embodied experiences as they are described in the hodayot can help us to understand the range of spatial allusions found in the hodayot, which, when read in series as a scroll apparatus dictates, moves gradually from other worldly places of punishment, to places of paradise, and culminates in the crescendo of the Self-Glorification Hymn.

While performative emotions are scripted sensations, their experiential impact can have the same physical intensity as first-hand experiences. The visualization of imagined spaces of punishment can strategically arouse emotions of fear within a reader and reinvigorate memories of other visionary traditions that share the same affective valence. The role of emotion in cognitive processes that reconsolidate these other worldly spaces can help us to conceptualize the exegetical production of texts as a phenomenal bodily experience. Such performative displays can also serve a political purpose by enhancing the power and prestige of the one who reenacts the text properly, thus giving insight into how status is negotiated in a highly stratified community context.

The two year project that I am working on now examines how the strategic arousal of affect can help us to understand how the memory of the Teacher of Righteousness is reinvigorated and intensified for the community through a strategic arousal of affect generated by the texts that make reference to him. 

Other activities

  • Participant in the Christian Leaders Initiative Program sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem (2012-2013)
  • Elected to the National Network Board of the Lilly Fellows Program (2013-2015)
  • Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, European Commission (2014-2016)
  • Chair of the Religious Experience in Antiquity Section of the Society of Biblical Literature
  • Steering Committee Member of the new Prayer in Antiquity consultation of the Society of Biblical Literature



  • Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, John C. Endres (eds.). The Fallen Angels Traditions: Second Temple Developments and Reception History. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 53. Washington, DC, Catholic Biblical Association, 2014.
  • Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, and John C. Endres, S.J. (ed.). The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.
  • Angela Kim Harkins. Reading with an "I" to the Heavens: Looking at the Qumran Hodayot through the Lens of Visionary Traditions. Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Medieval Period 3. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012.
  • Eric J. Mason, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, Angela Kim Harkins, Daniel Machiela (ed.). A Teacher for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam. JSJSup 153/II. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Articles and chapters

  • "The Pro-Social Role of Grief in Ezra's Penitential Prayer." Biblical Interpretation (forthcoming)
  • "The Emotional Re-experiencing of the Hortatory Narratives found in the Admonition of the Damascus Document." Dead Sea Discoveries vol. 22 (2015), forthcoming.
  • “A Phenomenological Study of Penitential Elements and Their Strategic Arousal of Emotion in the Qumran Hodayot (1QH cols. 1[?]-8).” In Ancient Jewish Prayers and Emotions. Edited by R. Egger-Wenzel and S.C. Reif. DCSL 26. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. "Elements of the Fallen Angels Traditions in the Qumran Hodayot." Pages 8-24 in The Fallen Angels Traditions: Second Temple Developments and Reception History. Edited by A.K. Harkins, K. Coblentz Bautch, and J.C. Endres. CBQMS 53. Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association, 2014. 
  • Harkins, Angela Kim."A Fitting Inheritance for Job's Daughters in the Testament of Job." Henoch 36 (2014): 64-85.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. "Cultivating Empathy and Mindfulness: Religious Praxis." Pages 275-88 in K.E. Eifler and T.M. Landy (ed). Becoming Beholders. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2014.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Thanksgiving Hymns (Hodayot).” Pages 2018-2094 in Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture. Edited by Louis H. Feldman, James L. Kugel, and Lawrence H. Schiffman. The Jewish Publication Society/University of Nebraska Press, 2013.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Religious Experience through the Lens of Critical Spatiality: A Look at Embodiment Language in Prayers and Hymns.” Pages 223-42 in Experientia. Volume 2: Moving from Text to Experience. Edited by Colleen Shantz and Rodney Werline. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Who is the Teacher of the Teacher Hymns? Re-examining the Teacher Hymns Hypothesis Fifty Years Later.” Pages 449-67 in A Teacher for all Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam. Gen. ed. Eric Mason; S. Thomas, A. Schofield, E.C. Ulrich. JSJSup 153/I; Leiden: Brill, 2012.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “The Performative Reading of the Hodayot: The Arousal of Emotions and the Exegetical Generation of Texts.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 21.1 (2011): 55-71.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. "Prayers and Hymns." Pages 175-83 in Michael D. Coogan (ed). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Reading the Qumran Hodayot in Light of the Traditions Associated with Enoch.” Henoch 32 (2010): 359-400.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim, “A New Proposal for Thinking about 1QHA Sixty Years after Its Discovery.” Pages 101-134 in Texts from Cave 1 Sixty Years after Their Discovery. Proceedings of the Sixth Meeting of the IOQS in Ljubljana. Ed. D. K. Falk, S. Metso, D. W. Parry, and E. J. C. Tigchelaar. STDJ 91. Leiden: Brill, 2010.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Biblical and Historical Perspectives on ‘the People of God’.” Pages 319-339 in Transforming Relations: Essays on Jews and Christians throughout History in Honor of Michael A. Signer. Edited by Franklin T. Harkins. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. "Hymns, Prayers, and Psalms." Pages 753-757 in J.J. Collins and D. Harlow (ed). Dictionary of Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2010.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “The Community Hymns Classification: A Proposal for Further Differentiation.” Dead Sea Discoveries 15.1 (2008): 121-154.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim; Franklin Taylor Harkins. “Old Latin/Vulgate” section in “Bible, ancient translations.” Encyclopedia Judaica, Revised. Ed. Fred Skolnik. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Publishing House, 2007.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Theological Attitudes toward the Scriptural Text: Lessons from the Qumran and Syriac Exegetical Traditions.” Theological Studies67.3 (2006): 498-516.
  • Harkins, Angela Kim. “Observations on the Editorial Shaping of the So-called Community Hymns in 1QHa and 4Q427 (4QHa).” Dead Sea Discoveries12.3 (2005): 233-256.
  • Kim, Angela Y. “Authorizing Interpretation in Poetic Compositions in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Later Jewish and Christian Traditions.” Dead Sea Discoveries 10.1 (2003): 26-58.
  • Kim, Angela Y. “A Study of the Textual Alignment of the Tabernacle Sections of 4Q365 (fragments 8a-b, 9a-bi, 9b ii, 12a i, 12b iii).” Textus: Studies of the Hebrew University Bible Project 21. (2002): 45-69.
  • Kim, Angela Y. “Cain and Abel in the Light of Envy: A Study in the History of the Interpretation of Envy in Genesis 4:1-16.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha12.1 (2001): 65-84.
  • Kim, Angela Y. "Signs of Exegetical Techniques in Ephrem's Homily on Our Lord." Hugoye.