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East of Eden, Another Garden?

By Gustav Spohn
Director of Communications and Publications

Christl Maier and Dean Harold AttridgeChristl Maier, a popular young associate professor of Old Testament, left Yale Divinity School at the end of 2006 to accept a senior position on the faculty of the University of Marburg in her home country, Germany, where she will combine historical-critical interpretation of Old Testament texts with feminist biblical hermeneutics.

In leaving, though, she threw some garlands in the direction of YDS. In an e-mail, she likened her departure to "leaving the Garden of Eden" and said she hopes to bring "the imperishable fruits of wisdom" harvested at YDS to Marburg with her, including the "varied faith traditions and perspectives brought to Yale by smart and interested students." She concluded, "East of Eden I have found another garden to irrigate. I am grateful for having experienced the abundance of YDS which fostered my skills of planting and reaping from the tree of wisdom."

The recipient of a prestigious Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology while at YDS, Maier has not cut her Yale ties entirely: She will be collaborating with Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures Carolyn Sharp on a Book of Jeremiah commentary for the International Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament (IECOT).

Maier came to Yale Divinity School in 2003 from an assistant professor position at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her academic interests focus on the Old Testament Wisdom tradition with special interest in its sociological setting, issues of the redaction and composition in the Book of Jeremiah, and feminist biblical hermeneutics.

Maier's books include Die "fremde Frau" in Proverbien 1-9 (1995) and Jeremia als Lehrer der Tora (2002), and she has a manuscript in process based on her Luce Fellowship on the subject "Gender and Space in Biblical Portraits of Jerusalem." She has contributed articles in journals, book essays, and numerous reviews in the Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, mostly in German, and is co-editor of four books.