Laura Suzanne Lieber

Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Language and Literature

118B Gray Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
(919) 660-3510
Office Hours: 
Mondays 11:00am - 1:00pm & by appointment in 230 Gray

My primary area of research is in the area of synagogue poetry ("piyyut") from Late Antiquity and the Byzantine period. I examine these works from a variety of perspectives, including literary, performative, and comparative (particularly with early Christian hymnography in Syriac and Greek), and also as a genre of early Jewish biblical interpretation. In recent years, I have begun to integrate the study of material culture into my analysis of these literary works, as part of taking a more fully "contextual" approach to literary analysis. My most recent work approaches late ancient hymnography through the lens of theater studies and performance.


  • Ph.D. 2003, University of Chicago
  • M.A. 1998, Hebrew Union College
  • B.A. 1994, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Lieber, LS. "Entering the High Holy Days." Mishkan ha-Nefesh. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2015. xvii-xix. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry) (In preparation)." The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford: Blackwell, 2015. (Chapter)

Lieber, LS. "The Poetry of Creation: Zevadiah and Amittai’s Yotzerot le-Hatan (Groom’s Yotzers)." Recent Developments in Midrash. Ed. D Nelson and R Ulmer. Gorgias Press, 2013.

Lieber, LS. "Kedushah." Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Ed. L Fried, ND Lewis, and M Satlow. Cambridge UP, 2013.

Lieber, LS. "Jewish Women: Texts and Contexts." A Companion to Women in the Ancient World. February 13, 2012. 329-342. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut." Oxford Bibliographies Online. Oxford UP, 2012.

Lieber, LS. "Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry)." The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2012.

Lieber, LS. "“Piyyut (Jewish Liturgical and Secular Poetry)"." The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Ed. G Bohak. Blackwell / Oxford UP, 2011.

Lieber, LS. "“Dew of Rest: The World of Nature in Qallir’s Gevurot shel Tal"." Menachem Schmelzer Festschrift. Ed. D Blank. Brill, 2011. 167-183.


Lieber, LS. "Stages of Grief: Enacting Lamentation in Late Ancient Hymnography." AJS Review 40.01 (April 2016): 101-124. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "On the Road with the Mater Dolorosa: An Exploration of Mother-Son Discourse Performance." Journal of Early Christian Studies 24.2 (2016): 265-291. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "Theater of the Holy: Performative Elements of Late Ancient Hymnography." Harvard Theological Review 108.03 (July 2015): 327-355. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "From the Margins: A Response to ‘Schoeps on Schoeps’." NEXUS: Essays in German Jewish Studies 2 (2015): 33-36.

"Telling a Liturgical Tale: Storytelling in Early Jewish Liturgical Poetry." Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 66.3-4 (October 13, 2014): 209-232. Full Text

Lieber, LS. "The Plot within the Piyyut: Retelling the Story of Balak on the Liturgical Stage." The Journal for Textual Reasoning 8 (2014).

Lieber, LS. "The Aroma of Righteousness: Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature." INTERPRETATION-A JOURNAL OF BIBLE AND THEOLOGY 66.3 (July 2012): 334-335.