Director of Center for Jewish Civilization
Jacques Berlinerblau is Professor and Director of Jewish Civilization in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He specializes in secularism, secular Judaism, politics and religion, and Jewish-American literature. He has published six books, his most recent being How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom (Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) as well as the edited volume Secularism on the Edge: Church and State in the United States, France and Israel with Sarah Fainberg and Aurora Nou. His third book was The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously (Cambridge University Press) and after that came Thumpin’ It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today’s Presidential Politics (WJK) released in 2008. His published work has appeared in scholarly journals including Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Biblical Interpretation, Semeia, History of Religions, Hebrew Studies, Philip Roth Studies, Critical Research on Religion, Philip Roth Studies, and elsewhere. He also produces and occasionally hosts the webcast “Faith Complex.” A native New Yorker, he now lives in Washington, DC with his family.
Areas of Expertise: secularism, atheism, religion and politics, theories of secularism, Jewish-American literature, Philip Roth studies.
- PhD (1996) The New School for Social Research, Sociology
- PhD (1991) New York University, Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Current Project: Professed and Confessed. (New York: Melville House, 2017).
How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). (Paperback version released, 9/17/13).
Thumpin’ It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today’s Presidential Politics (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2008).
The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibilities of American Intellectuals (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1999).
The Vow and the “Popular Religious Groups” of Ancient Israel: A Philological and Sociological Inquiry. JSOT Supplement Series 210 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996). (Re-released in paperback in 2009 by T and T Clark)
Secularism on the Edge: Church and State in the United States, France and Israel, Eds. Jacques Berlinerblau, Sarah Fainberg, Aurora Nou. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2014).
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Scholarly Book Chapters
“Political Secularism,” in The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, Eds. John Shook and Phil Zuckerman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).
“Philip Roth and the Profanity Loop,” in Profane: Sacrilegious Expression and the Challenge of Modernity, Eds. Christopher S. Grenda, Chris Beneke, and David Nash (Berkeley: University of California Press, In Press 2014).
“Political Secularism,” in The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, Eds. John Shook and Phil Zuckerman (New York: Oxford University Press, In Press 2014).
“Secularism and Its Confusions,” in Secularism on the Edge: Church-State Relations in the United States, France and Israel, Eds. Jacques Berlinerblau, Sarah Fainberg, Aurora Nou. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2014).
“‘Imagine That!’: Philip Roth’s Threshold Scenes: The Case of ‘Femme Fatale,’” Philip Roth Studies. (Ohio: Purdue University Press, In Press 2014). Pp. 35-58.
“Jewish Atheism,” in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, Eds. Stephen Bullivant and Michael Ruse (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) pp. 320-336.
“The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism,” in Interested Readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J. A. Clines, Eds. James Aitken, Jeremy M. S. Clines and Christl M. Maier. (Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013).
“The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism,” in The Bible in the Public Square. Ed. Carol Meyers (Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature; forthcoming 2015; Note: This is a reprint of item 16 above, agreed to by all parties).
“Let the Study of American Secularisms Begin!,” Critical Research on Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal 1 (2013) pp. 225-232.
“Academic Roundtable: Harold Bloom’s Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine,” Expositions 1 (2007-2008) 71-77.
“Durkheim’s Theory of Misrecognition: In Praise of Arrogant Theory,” in Teaching Durkheim, Ed. T. Godlove (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) 213-233.
“The Bible as Literature?” Hebrew Studies 45 (2004) 9-26.
“Free Will and Determinism in First Isaiah: Secular Hermeneutics, The Poetics of Contingency, and Émile Durkheim’s Homo Duplex,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 71 (2003) 767-791.
“The Delicate Flower of Biblical Sociology,” in Tracking The Tribes of Yahweh: On The Trail of a Classic, Ed. R. Boer (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) 59-76.
“‘Poor Bird, Not Knowing Which Way to Fly’: Biblical Scholarship’s Marginality, Secular Humanism, and the Laudable Occident,” Biblical Interpretation 10 (2002) 267-304.
“Max Weber’s Useful Ambiguities and the Problem of Defining ‘Popular Religion,’”
Journal of the American Academy of Religion 69 (2001) 605-626.
“Toward a Sociology of Heresy, Orthodoxy, and Doxa,” History of Religions 40 (2001) 327-351.
“Ideology, Pierre Bourdieu’s Doxa, and the Hebrew Bible,” Semeia 87 (1999) 193-214.
“Preliminary Remarks for the Sociological Study of Israelite ‘Official Religion,’” in Ki Baruch Hu: Essays Submitted to Baruch Levine in Honor of his 65th Birthday, Eds. R. Chazan, W.W. Hallo, and L.H. Schiffman (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1999) 153-170.
“The Present Crisis and Uneven Triumphs of Biblical Sociology: Responses to N. Gottwald, S. Mandell, P. Davies, M. Sneed, R. Simkins and N. Lemche,” in Concepts of Class in Ancient Israel, Ed. M. Sneed (Florida: University of South Florida Press, 1999) 132-150.
“Some Sociological Observations on Moshe Greenberg’s Biblical Prose Prayer as a Window to the Popular Religion of Ancient Israel,” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 12 (1995) 1-14.
“The ‘Popular Religion’ Paradigm in Old Testament Research: A Sociological Critique,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 60 (1993) 3-26.
“The Israelite Vow: Distress or Daily Life?” Biblica 72 (1991) 548-555.