About

I am a historian of ancient literature. My research interests in particular is the literature of storytelling, both its poetics and its socio-cultural setting. Concretely, I am interested in novellas and other prose fiction in the Achaemenian and Hellenistic eastern Mediterranean, especially Judean and Egyptian, and in reconstructing their associated cultures of reading. More generally, I am interested in developing narratological and other critical approaches to storytelling literature from antiquity. I am also interested in interactions between Ancient Egyptian and Levantine culture, especially in Northwest Semitic texts found in Egyptian inscriptions and documents, in the Egyptian backgrounds of the Hebrew Bible, and in comparative philology of Egyptian and Northwest Semitic.

Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the European Research Council-funded project From Texts to Literature: Demotic Egyptian Papyri and the Formation of the Hebrew Bible (DEMBIB) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I trained as a biblical scholar (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) and Egyptologist at the University of Chicago, Department of Near Eastern Languages, as a student of Robert Ritner and Dennis Pardee. I received my PhD in 2022. My dissertation was entitled “The Poetics of Plot in the Egyptian and Judean Novella.”

Previously, I was a Public Outreach and Content Specialist for the Education Department of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago from 2015-2020, where I taught continuing education courses, gave public lectures on the Ancient Near East throughout the Chicago area, and provided expertise for the museum’s docent program. Additionally, I conducted research for the Chicago Demotic Dictionary and for the Critical Editions for Digital Analysis and Research project at the Oriental Institute. From 2016-2018, I taught in the Writing Program at the University of Chicago and won the Karen Dinal Memorial Award. From 2018-2020, at the University of North Carolina Asheville, I taught Latin in the Dept. of Classics and The Ancient World in the Humanities Program.

My undergraduate interest in classics and philosophy (BA, University of Texas at Austin) followed by theology (MA, University of Dallas), and the fortune to work with Jerome Walsh on a thesis project on Genesis, led me to develop an interest in studying the Hebrew Bible from a literary perspective. My interest in Egyptology was then sparked by courses and conversations with Robert Ritner at the Oriental Institute, who encouraged me to take it on as a parallel discipline for my PhD.

Education


  • Ph.D. (2022) – University of Chicago, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (Egyptology and Hebrew Bible)

  • M.A. (2015) – University of Chicago, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

  • M.A. (2011) – University of Dallas (Theology)

  • B.A. (2006) – University of Texas at Austin (Classics)

Other Publications

Journal Articles (Peer Reviewed)

(Forthcoming) “Mouvance and the Storyteller’s Art in Manuscripts of a Demotic Novella,” Manuscripts and Text Cultures

Book Chapters

(Forthcoming) “The Corpus of Northwest Semitic in Egyptian Script,” in Susan Hollis, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Egypt and the Hebrew Bible

Book Reviews 

(2020) Claudia Suhr, Die Ägyptische “Ich-Erzahlung”: Eine Narratologische Untersuchung, 2016 (Review of Biblical Literature, 3/2020) https://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11560

Other Articles

(2022)  “The Teaching of Amenemope,” in Global Humanities Reader: Engaging Ancient  Worlds and Perspectives, ed. Brian S. Hook, Sophie Mills, Katherine C. Zubko, Keya Maitra, 77-79.

(2022) “Egyptian Love Poetry,” in Global Humanities Reader: Engaging Ancient Worlds and Perspectives, ed. Brian S. Hook, Sophie Mills, Katherine C. Zubko, Keya Maitra, 98-100.

(2022) “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” in Global Humanities Reader: Engaging Ancient Worlds and Perspectives, ed. Brian S. Hook, Sophie Mills, Katherine C. Zubko, Keya Maitra, 236-238.

(2019 “Missing Pages: Two Manuscripts of the Samaritan Torah in the Oriental Institute,” Oriental Institute News & Notes 242, pp.6-15

Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences


    • “A ‘véritable cycle romanesque’? The Relationship between P. Krall and P. Spiegelberg Reconsidered.” 14th International Demotic Congress, Heidelberg (Sept. 5th)

    • “Novella Literature in the Southeastern Mediterranean after the Iron Age: Overview and Prospects.” First Workshop of the DEMBIB Project, Paris, College de France (September 30th)

    Joseph Cross

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