Professor Charlotte Hempel BA, PhD (KCL)

Photograph of Dr Charlotte Hempel

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism

Contact details

ERI Building Room 209
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My main research interests are the Dead Sea Scrolls, and I began my doctoral work at King's College London in the Qumran glasnost year 1991 when access to all the unpublished material was granted to the world of scholarship at large. Because of the sheer scale of new material now available, the opening of access to all the unpublished texts had, in practical terms, a huge impact on scholarship, comparable almost to the impact of the initial discoveries. I have published extensively on the Damascus Document, the Community Rule, 4QMMT, and other Qumran texts. Most recently I have been exploring the ways in which the socio-religious milieu that gave us the Scrolls shares much more with the social matrix that gave us the emerging Hebrew Bible than customarily supposed. In 2013-2014 I worked on a project funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship entitled: The Development of Complex Literary Traditions in the Second Temple Period.

I enjoy playing an active part in the scholarly guilds of Scrolls researchers and Hebrew Bible scholars as Executive Editor of Dead Sea Discoveries and President for 2016 of the British Association of Jewish Studies. I have been a member of the International Advisory Board of the Theological Dictionary of the Qumran Texts the steering committee of the Qumran Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Old Testament Study, and the Advisory Board of Henoch. From 2007-2011 I served as Reviews Editor for the Journal of Jewish Studies.

Until 2016 I was the host scientist-in charge for the EU funded Marie Curie Fellowship of Dr. Angela Harkins and co-investigator with Isabel Wollaston on a three year educational project Jewish Heritage and Culture: Birmingham Perspectives which serves as a framework for hosting regular high quality education programmes and public lectures in Jewish Studies.

I was elected to membership of the AHCR Peer Review Council in 2014, since 2016 as a Strategic Reviewer, and regularly peer review research projects both internationally and in the UK. 

My current project on Ezra's Legacy and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Law and Narratives of Exclusion is funded by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship.

Feedback and office hours

I'm on research leave currently and the best way to contact me is by email.


  • PhD 1995 King's College London
  • BA Hons 1991 King's College London


I grew up in Germany and after two years of study at the University of Mainz I discovered the bright lights of London - mainly those in the now sadly defunct Embankment Library of King's College on the Strand! I have since felt very much at home in this country. I graduated from King's with a BA in 1991 and a PhD in 1995.

My first academic appointment was as Edward Cadbury Research Fellow in this department after which I moved to Cambridge to take up a Sutasoma Research Fellowship at Lucy Cavendish College. From Cambridge my husband and I moved to the US with a young family where my research continued to thrive, for some time in affiliation with the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. I returned to Birmingham in 2005 as a Birmingham Fellow.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Hebrew Bible
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • Dead Sea Scrolls

Current and recent doctoral theses supervised include:

  • A Jungian Approach to the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Remnant of Israel. Qumran Social Identity in the Light of Exegesis and Anthropology
  • The Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Understanding the History of the Textual Transmission of the Hebrew Bible
  • The Qumran Wisdom Texts and the Gospel of John (co-supervised with Dr. Karen Wenell)
  • The Significance of Selah in the Psalter
  • Encountering Evil: Apotropaic Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Galilean Religious Identity in the 1st century BCE (co-supervised with Karen Wenell)

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research have published widely on the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially the Damascus Document, the Community Rule, 4QMMT, and a host of smaller though equally intriguing and often under researched rules and legal texts. More recently I have explored the narrowing gap between the emerging Hebrew Bible an and the Dead Sea Scrolls in studies exploring, for instance, the relationship of wisdom and law in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I have also addressed the question of literacy at Qumran, revisited the account of meals in the Scrolls, and made a case for the distinctive scholastic profile of Qumran Cave 4. I am currently developing a new major research project on the Legacy of Ezra and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Without giving too much away just yet I am less interested in the historical Ezra than the legacy of the persona Ezra persona. Watch this space.




Article and chapters in books

  • ‘The Theatre of the Written Word: Reading the Community Rule with Steven Fraade,’ in The Faces of the Torah: Studies in the Texts and Contexts of Ancient Judaism in Honor of Steven Fraade. ed. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal et al. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017), pp. 119-130.
  • ‘Wisdom and Law in the Hebrew Bible and at Qumran,’ Journal for the Study of Judaism 48 (2017): 1-27
  • ‘Reflections on Literacy, Textuality, and Community in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls,’ in Is There a Text in this Cave? Studies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke (ed. with A. Feldman and M. Cioată. STDJ 118. Leiden: Brill, 2017, pp. 69-82
  • The Profile and Character of Qumran Cave 4:The Community Rule Manuscripts as a Test Case,’ in The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014. Ed. Marcello Fidanzio (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 80-61
  • ‘Cutting the chord with the Familiar: What Makes 4Q265 Miscellaneous Rules Tick?,’ in Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins atSeventy. JSJSup 175. Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 534-41
  • “The Long Text of the Serekh as Crisis Literature,”  in Revue de Qumran 27 (2015) 3-24
  • ‘Recent Research on the Dead Sea Scrolls: From Rags to Riches,’  in Theologische Literaturzeitung, 139 (2014) 650-665
  • ‘Who is Making Dinner at Qumran?’, Journal of Theological Studies 63 (2012) 49-65
  • ‘The Social Matrix that Shaped the Hebrew Bible and Gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls’, in Geoffrey Khan and Diana Lipton (eds.), Studies on the Text and Versions of the Hebrew Bible in Honour of Robert Gordon (Vetus Vestamentum Supplement Series 149), Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 221-237
  • 'Introduction' in Charlotte Hempel ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Context (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 90; Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 1-11
  • “1QS 6:2c–4a–Satellites or Precursors of the Yahad?” in A. Roitman, L. H. Schiffman, and Shani Tzoref (eds), The Dead Sea Scrolls and Contemporary Culture. Proceedings of the InternationalConference held at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem(July 6–8, 2008), Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 31-40
  • ‘The Context of 4QMMT and Comfortable Theories’, in Charlotte Hempel ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Context (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 90; Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 275-292
  • ‘Family Values in the Second Temple Period” in Katherine Dell ed., Ethical and Unethical in the Old Testament: God and Humans in Dialogue, London: T. & T. Clark, 2010, pp. 211-230
  • 'Sources and Redaction in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Growth of Ancient Texts,' in M. Grossman (ed.), Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2010, pp. 162-181
  • 'The Teaching on the Two Spirits and the Literary Development of the Rule of the Community,' in Geza Xeravits (ed.), Dualism in Qumran (Library of Second Temple Studies; London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2010), pp. 102-120
  • ‘Pluralism and Authoritativeness – The Case of the S Tradition’, in Mladen Popović ed., Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism, Leiden: Brill, 2010, pp. 193-208
  • ‘Shared Tradition: Points of Contact Between S and D’, in H. Najman, S. Metso, and E. Schuller (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls: Transmission of Traditions and Production of Texts(STDJ 92), Leiden: Brill, 2010, pp. 115-131
  • CD Manuscript B and the Rule of the Community – Reflections on a Literary Relationship’, in Dead Sea Discoveries 16 (2009) 370-387
  • ‘Multifoermigkeit und Verbindlichkeit: Serekh ha-Yachad in Qumran’, in J. Frey ed., Qumran und der biblische Kanon,  Neukirchener Verlag, 2009 pp. 101-120
  • ‘Do the Scrolls Suggest Rivalry Between the Sons of Aaron and the Sons of Zadok and If So was it Mutual?’, in Revue de Qumran24 (2009) 135-153
  • Texts, Scribes and Scholars: Reflections on a Busy Decade in Dead Sea Scrolls Research’, in Expository Times120/6 (2009) 272-276
  • The Literary Development of the S-Tradition. A New Paradigm', Revue de Qumran22 (2006), pp. 389-401
  • ‘Emerging Communal Life and Ideology in the S Tradition’, in F. García Martínez and Mladen Popovic (eds.), Defining Identities. ‘We’, ‘You’ and ‘the Others’ in the Dead Sea Scrolls (STDJ, 70), Leiden: Brill, 2007, pp. 43-61
  • ‘The Sons of Aaron in the Dead Sea Scrolls’, in T. Hilhorst, É. Puech, and E. Tigchelaar (eds.),Flores Florentino.Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish Studies in Honour of Florentino García Martínez (JSJSup, 122), Leiden: Brill, 2007, pp. 207-224

Dictionary entries

For a complete list see the bibliography available at the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls

View all publications in research portal


  • The Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament

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  • The Dead Sea Scrolls 
  • Jewish heritage