Professor Charlotte Hempel BA, PhD (KCL)

Photograph of Dr Charlotte Hempel

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism
Head of School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion

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Scrolls, and I began my doctoral work at King's College London in the Qumran glasnost year 1991 when access to all the unpublished material was granted to the world of scholarship at large. Because of the sheer scale of new material now available, the opening of access to all the unpublished texts had, in practical terms, a huge impact on scholarship, comparable almost to the impact of the initial discoveries.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

Thursdays and Fridays 11.00-12.00 in term time


  • 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:

1. A Jungian Approach to the Dead Sea Scrolls
2. Revitalization in Judea: An Anthropological Study of the Damascus Document
3. A Contextualized approach to the Hebrew Dead Sea Scrolls Containing Exodus
4. The Qumran Wisdom Texts and the Gospel of John (co-supervised with Karen Wenell and Gareth Sears, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology)
5. The Significance of Selah in the Psalter
6. Encountering Evil: Apotropaic Magic in the Dead Sea Scrolls
7. Galilean Religious Identity in the 1st century BCE (co-supervised with Karen Wenell and Gareth Sears, Classics and Ancient History)
8. Is Wisdom Dead? Reconceptualising Wisdom in Light of the Maskil Figure at Qumran (co-supervised with Hugh Houghton)
9. Before the Bible: Ezekiel Traditions from the Corpus of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Light of 4QPseudo-Ezekiel
10. Dualisms at Qumran and Beyond (co-supervised with Andrew Perrin, Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada)
11. Liturgical and Ritualised Warfare in the War Scroll and Related War Texts
12. The Function of Metaphor in the Depictions of Disability in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls (co-supervised with Candida Moss and Jeanette Littlemore)
13. Expressing Power in the Song of Songs: Nature, Gender and Royalty

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


I 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.

You can find out more on my AHRC funded Leadership Fellowship here: Ezra's Legacy and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Law and Narratives of Exclusion.


Highlight publications

Hempel, C 2020, The Community Rules from Qumran: A Commentary. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, vol. 183, Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen.

Hempel, C & Brooke, G (eds) 2018, T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bloomsbury Companions, T & T Clark, under the Continuum Imprint, London. <>

Cioata, M, Hempel, C & Feldman, A (eds) 2017, Is There a Text in this Cave? Studies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, vol. 119, vol. 119, Brill, Leiden. <>

Hempel, C 2017, 'Wisdom and law in the Hebrew Bible and at Qumran', Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 155–181.

Hempel, C 2020, 4QMMT in the context of the Dead Sea Scrolls and beyond. in RG Kratz (ed.), Interpreting and Living God’s Law at Qumran: Miqṣat Maʿaśe ha-Torah, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT). Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia, vol. 37, Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, Tuebingen, pp. 117-136.

Recent publications


Hempel, C 2020, 'Why We Should be Looking for Ezra’s Legacy in the Dead Sea Scrolls', Semitica, pp. 285.

Hempel, C 2018, 'Where are the Scribes in the Dead Sea Scrolls?', Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. July/August 2018, pp. 20,70. <>

Hempel, C 2015, 'The Long Text of the Serekh as Crisis Literature', Revue de Qumran, vol. 105, no. 27, pp. 3-24. <>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Hempel, C 2020, Bildung und Wissenswirtschaft zur Zeit des Zweiten Tempels. in P Gemeinhardt (ed.), Was ist Bildung in der Vormoderne?. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, Tuebingen, pp. 229.

Hempel, C 2020, The Apotropaic Function of the Final Hymn in the Community Rules. in A Feldman & T Sandoval (eds), Petitioners, Penitents, and Poets: On Prayer and Praying in Second Temple Judaism. De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 131-154.

Hempel, C 2020, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Challenging the Particularist Paradigm. in Torah, Temple and Land: ncient Judaism(s) in Context. J.C.B. Mohr.

Hempel, C 2019, Self-Fashioning in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Thickening the Description of What Rule Texts Do. in J Ben-Dov & M Bar-Asher Siegal (eds), Social History of the Jews in Antiquity. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen, Tuebingen.

Hempel, C 2017, Reflections on Literacy, Textuality, and Community in the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls. in A Feldman, M Cioata & C Hempel (eds), Is There a Text in this Cave? : Studies in the Textuality of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Honour of George J. Brooke. Studies on the Texts from the Desert of Judah, vol. 119, Brill, Leiden, pp. 69-82.

Hempel, C 2017, The theatre of the written word: reading the community rule with Steven Fraade. in C Hayes, M Novick & M Bar-Asher Siegal (eds), The Faces of Torah: Studies in the Texts and Contexts of Ancient Judaism in Honor of Steven Fraade. Supplements to the Journal of Ancient Judaism, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Goettingen, pp. 119-130.

Hempel, C 2016, Cutting the chord with the Familiar: what makes 4Q265 miscellaneous rules tick? in J Baden, H Najman & E Tigchelaar (eds), Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, no. 175, Brill, Leiden, pp. 509-516.

Hempel, C 2016, The Profile and Character of Qumran Cave 4: The Community Rule Manuscripts as a Test Case. in M Fidanzio (ed.), The Caves of Qumran: Proceedings of the International Conference, Lugano 2014. STDJ, vol. 118, Brill, Leiden.


Hempel, C 2018, Rules. in G Brooke & C Hempel (eds), T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bloomsbury Companions, T & T Clark, under the Continuum Imprint, London, pp. 402. <>

Hempel, C 2013, Serekh. in HJ Fabry & U Dahmen (eds), Theologisches Woerterbuch zu den Qumrantexten Band 2. vol. 2, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart, pp. 1111. <>

Featured article

Hempel, C 2014, 'Recent Research on the Dead Sea Scrolls' Theologische Literaturzeitung, vol. 139, no. 5, pp. 650-665.

Web publication/site

Hempel, C, Dead Sea Scrolls Deciphered: Esoteric Code Reveals Ancient Priestly Calendar, 2018, Web publication/site, The Conversation . <>

View all publications in research portal


  • The Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament

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  • The Dead Sea Scrolls 
  • Jewish heritage