Bruce Wells, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Affiliated Faculty

Bruce Wells is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas where he specializes in the study of the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. He is the author of The Law of Testimony in the Pentateuchal Codes (2004), co-author (with Raymond Westbrook) of Everyday Law in Biblical Israel (2009), and co-author (with F. Rachel Magdalene and Cornelia Wunsch) of Fault, Responsibility, and Administrative Law in Late Babylonian Legal Texts (forthcoming).

Wells earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 2003. For the next two years, he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. From 2005–2018, Wells taught in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. During that time, he served for four years as Principal Investigator on the NEH-funded collaborative research project, “Neo-Babylonian Trial Procedure,” as a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich from 2008–2009, and as chair of the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature from 2011–2015.

Wells has been working for several years with a team of scholars on the Cambridge Comparative History of Ancient Law and is lead author on the chapter, “Law and Religion.” In addition, his current work focuses on a variety of issues including marriage and family law in the ancient world, the history of litigation in the ancient Near East, the relationship between law and religion in ancient Israel and Judah, and the cultural background to the Bible’s narratives concerning human origins.