My research pursues a synthesis between traditional philological study of ancient texts and naturalistic lines of inquiry pursued by the cognitive science of religions, integrating psychological and philosophical approaches to the human mind and behavior. I have published numerous articles on purity and pollution in the ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible and the Dead Seas Scrolls, including a recent article in Cognitive Science exploring the implications of this research for psychological and evolutionary theory. My most recent research focuses on biblical notions of taboo and their implications for understanding the relationship between emotion and morality.

Blog Posts


    • Defilement and Moral Discourse in the Hebrew Bible

    • The Formation and Transformation of Norms in Ancient Israel (forthcoming issue of HeBAI)

    • Naturalistic Tendencies in the Hebrew Bible (Katz Center, U. Penn, Spring 2018)


    Yitzhaq Feder

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