Photo of Shawna Dolansky

Shawna Dolansky

Religion Coordinator and Undergraduate Advisor

Degrees:B.A. (Hon.) (Queen's University), M.A., Ph.D. (UC San Diego)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 7029
Office:2A60 Paterson Hall



Professor Dolansky specializes in Biblical Studies, with a focus on the history and religions of Israel and the ancient Near East and the development of the Hebrew Bible.  Her research incorporates the tools of literary criticism, comparative religion, historical study, anthropology, archaeology, political science and classics in order to understand the worlds of the original authors and audiences of the biblical texts, and the subsequent development of Judaism and Christianity out of ancient Israelite religious beliefs and practices.

Professor Dolansky earned a B.A. in History from Queen’s University, and went on to graduate school at the University of California San Diego where she received a M.A. in Jewish Studies and a Ph.D. in the history of biblical Israel.  After a post-doctoral fellowship with the University of California, Dolansky was Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston before returning to her native Ottawa.

Professor Dolansky received the Provost’s award for Teaching Excellence in 2013 and a Professional Achievement Award from Carleton University in 2018.  She is on the editorial board for Near Eastern Archaeology, serves as General Editor for Hebrew Bible content at and is a frequent contributor to and

Winter 2023 Courses

HUMS 1000: Myth and Symbol

RELI 1010: ELementery Language Tutorial

RELI 2010: Intermediate Language Tutorial

RELI 3010: Advanced Language Tutorial

RELI 4990: Honours Research Essay

Research Interests

  • The development of monotheism
  • Ancient Near Eastern goddess worship
  • History of biblical interpretation
  • Understanding the Bible in its original contexts
  • Gender and Feminist Studies of the Bible and Western religions
  • The Bible in Western culture

Selected Publications

The Bible Now (with co-author Richard Elliott Friedman), Oxford University Press, June 2011.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Biblical Perspectives on the Relationship Between Religion and Magic, Pryor Pettengill Press, Eisenbrauns, 2008.

Gendered Historiography: Theoretical Considerations and Case Studies, edited with Sarah Shectman, in The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, Vol. 19, 2019.

“Syria-Canaan” in The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions, ed. Barbette E. Spaeth, Cambridge, 2013; pp. 55-75.

“Re-Figuring Fertility Figurines From Biblical Judah: Fetishistic Functions of the Feminine Form,” Between Israelite Religion and Old Testament Theology: Essays on Archaeology, History, and Hermeneutics, Robert Miller ed., Peeter’s Press, 2016.

“Rejecting ‘Patriarchy’: Reflections on Feminism, Biblical Scholarship, and Social Perspective” in As It Is Written: Writing and Scribalism in Social Perspective. Ed. Mark Leuchter. Hebrew Bible in Social Perspective. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

“Pentateuch,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica (with R. E. Friedman),  F. Skolnik and M. Berenbaum, eds., Thomson Gale Press, 2007.

Friedman, Richard E., and Shawna Dolansky, “After-life: The Biblical Silence,” in Judaism in Late Antiquity, Part 4: Death, Life-After-Death, Resurrection and the World-to-Come in the Judaisms of Antiquity, eds. A. J. Avery-Peck and J. Neusner, Brill, Leiden, 2000.