Jo Ann Hackett
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Jo Ann Hackett
Jo Ann Hackett
Born (1949-08-14) August 14, 1949 (age 71)

Jo Ann Hackett (born August 14, 1949) is an American scholar of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and of Biblical Hebrew and other ancient Northwest Semitic languages such as Phoenician, Punic, and Aramaic.

Early life and education

Hackett was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 1966. She received her B.A. in Mathematics from DePauw University, 1970; her M.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University, 1975; and her Ph.D in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University, 1980.


Hackett began her teaching career as an assistant professor of Religious Studies at Occidental College, Los Angeles. She taught at Indiana University, where she received tenure in 1990. The same year, she moved to Harvard University, as Professor of the Practice of Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Epigraphy and Director of the Program in Biblical Hebrew. She remained at Harvard until 2009, when she became Professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She retired from teaching in 2018, as Professor Emerita. She has also taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, MA.


Hackett's first book presented a philological analysis of a long ancient inscription found at the site of Deir ?All? in Jordan, an inscription that featured the biblical character Balaam.[1] She also wrote several articles about the inscription, and has written extensively about related ancient Northwest Semitic dialects such as Biblical Hebrew, Phoenician, and Ugaritic, also co-editing a book on Northwest Semitic epigraphy in honor of her Doktorvater, Frank Moore Cross.[2] She is the author of a popular textbook, A Basic Introduction to Biblical Hebrew.[3] Hackett was also among the first scholars to write about the Hebrew Bible from a feminist perspective, with such articles as "In the Days of Jael: Reclaiming the History of Women in Ancient Israel,"[4] "Rehabilitating Hagar: Fragments of an Epic Pattern,"[5] and "Can a Sexist Model Liberate Us?"[6] In addition to many other articles on the Hebrew Bible, she has contributed the introduction and notes to the biblical book of Numbers in the HarperCollins Study Bible,[7] and the introduction and notes to the books of Books of Samuel in the Women's Bible Commentary.[8] She served for many years on the executive council of the Society of Biblical Literature, on the board of the American Schools of Oriental Research, and as an editor of the series Harvard Semitic Studies and of several academic journals.

Honors and awards

In 1996-97, Hackett was the Hugh Pilkington Research Fellow in Biblical Studies at Christ Church, Oxford University. In 2002, she was a Fellow at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2006, she received the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard University.[9] She was presented with a Festschrift in 2015, Epigraphy, Philology, and the Hebrew Bible: Methodological Perspectives on Philological and Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible in Honor of Jo Ann Hackett[10] included contributions from Gary A. Rendsburg and F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp. In 2016 she was inducted into the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars.[11]


  1. ^ The Balaam Text from Deir Alla (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1984).
  2. ^ An Eye for Form: Paleographic Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross. Co-editor with Walter Aufrecht (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2014).
  3. ^ A Basic Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers; 2nd printing, October 2010).
  4. ^ "In the Days of Jael: Reclaiming the History of Women in Ancient Israel," Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality, Clarissa Atkinson, Constance Buchanan, and Margaret Miles, ed. (Boston: Beacon, 1985) 15-38;
  5. ^ "Rehabilitating Hagar: Fragments of an Epic Pattern," Gender and Difference in Ancient Israel, Peggy Day, ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1989) 12-27
  6. ^ "Can a Sexist Model Liberate Us? Ancient Near Eastern 'Fertility' Goddesses," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 5 (1989): 65-76
  7. ^ The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (New York: HarperCollins, 1993).
  8. ^ "1st and 2nd Samuel," Women's Bible Commentary (20th-anniversary edition; Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2012) 150-163.
  9. ^ "Previous Recipients of the Everett S. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award"
  10. ^ Epigraphy, Philology, and the Hebrew Bible: Methodological Perspectives on Philological and Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible in Honor of Jo Ann Hackett, edited by Jeremy M. Hutton and Aaron D. Rubin (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015).
  11. ^ "Johns Hopkins inducts 16 new members into Society of Scholars" April 12, 2016

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