Robert D. Holmstedt

Brief Academic Biography




2009-10 Courses

Issues in Hebrew Philology

Early Hebrew Epigraphy


2010-11 Courses

Fall 2010 -- on leave

Spring 2011 -

     Advanced Hebrew Grammar


2011-12 Courses

Fall 2011 -- on leave

Spring 2012 -

     Wisdom Lit in Ancient Israel,

     Comparative Semitics



Position: Associate Professor

Department: Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations

Affiliation: Jewish Studies

Blog: Ancient Hebrew Grammar



4 Bancroft Avenue, Rm 412

Toronto, ON M5S 1C1



R.D. Holmstedt has been involved in biblical studies since his first year of undergraduate study, and biblical languages since his third year. He completed a major in biblical studies and a minor in biblical Hebrew at Wheaton College, after which he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for MA and PhD degrees in Hebrew and Semitic Studies (with an emphasis on generative linguistics).

After Madison, he spent two and a half years teaching Hebrew, ancient Near Eastern studies, and general linguistics (morphology and syntax) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In July 2005, Prof. Holmstedt was invited to join the faculty in the NMC department at UoT to cover the areas of ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic languages.

Holmstedt’s primary research interest is the linguistic study of Northwest Semitic languages. For the last ten years he has focused on ancient Hebrew (everything up to, and sometimes including, mishnaic Hebrew). He is particularly committed to increasing theoretical and methodological awareness in the linguistic study of these ancient languages. Additionally, he is among a small but growing number of scholars who use generative linguistics in his study of ‘dead’ languages. While his primary theoretical framework is generative and his primary focus is syntax, he continues to work on historical-comparative issues, and also carefully incorporates typological and grammaticalization studies in his research on Hebrew and NWS.

Current research interests center on the syntax of biblical and non-biblical Hebrew (including a syntactic database project with Martin Abegg, Trinity Western University) and Phoenician grammar (including a textbook and critical edition of texts with Philip Schmitz, Eastern Michigan University).

Other interests include applying comparative mythology to Genesis 1-11 and similar texts, studying Hebrew wisdom texts in their ANE context, and investigating the rhetorical shaping of Hebrew narrative texts.


robert [dot] holmstedt [at] utoronto [dot] ca