David Wright, Graduate Program Chair for 2009-10, is professor of Bible and Ancient Near East, offers courses on Hebrew Bible; biblical and Near Eastern ritual, law and history; and Northwest Semitic languages (Aramaic, Ugaritic, Northwest Semitic dialects) as well as courses on comparative Semitic linguistics and Hittite.
His research specialties are primarily Near Eastern and biblical ritual and law in comparative perspective. He is author of “Inventing God's Law: How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi” (Oxford University Press). This book argues that the biblical law collection in Exodus 20:23-23:19 was created as a response to Neo-Assyrian imperialism in Israel-Judah around 700 BCE and used Hammurabi's collection as a model for both its casuistic and apodictic laws.Wright is also author of “The Disposal of Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature” (Scholars Press, 1987) and “Ritual in Narrative: The Dynamics of Feasting, Mourning, and Retaliation Rites in the Ugaritic Tale of Aqhat” (Eisenbrauns, 2001). He was also chief editor of "Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom" (Eisenbrauns, 1995).