Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Studies in the Bible and Antiquity


Biblical studies, religious scholarship


Smith’s newest book, Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World (part of the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library), continues that multidisciplinary trajectory, examining early anthropomorphic conceptualizations of deity in the Hebrew Bible and in cognate literature, as well as the way place and space mediated, influenced, and constrained those conceptualizations. The salience of anthropomorphism in recent years owes much to recent publications like Esther Hamori’s “When Gods Were Men” (2008),4 Benjamin Sommer’s The Bodies of God and the World of Ancient Israel (2009),5 and Anne Knafl’s Forming God: Divine Anthropomorphism in the Pentateuch (2014),6 and Smith engages with each in outlining a unique model of divine embodiment. However, Smith also seeks new insights in Where the Gods Are through the interpretive frameworks of materiality and spatiality, briefly roping in discussions about cognitive science and anthropology (without straying too far from his methodological wheelhouse).