Stephen P. Garfinkel

Assistant Professor Emeritus of Bible and Its Interpretation

Department: Bible, Jewish Education, Ancient Semitic Languages

Phone: (212) 678-8042


Building Room: Schiff 508

Office Hours: By Appointment


BA, University of Pennsylvania; MA, Rabbinical Ordination, and DHL (hon.), The Jewish Theological Seminary; MA and PhD, Columbia University

Dr. Stephen Garfinkel has previously served as a visiting faculty member at Yale University and Hunter College. While serving as educational coordinator for United Synagogue Youth, Dr. Garfinkel wrote and/or edited more than 15 books on Jewish education. He is a member of the Association for Jewish Studies, Columbia University Hebrew Biblical Seminar, and the Society of Biblical Literature. Dr. Garfinkel’s scholarly publications have appeared in a variety of journals, including Vetus Testamentum, Conservative Judaism, and the Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society.    

Dr. Garfinkel has received many academic awards throughout his career, including a JTS Stroock Faculty Fellowship, a Dancinger Fellowship, and grants from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. For more than two decades, he was dean of The Graduate School of JTS; and, for several years, he was chair of the Council on Graduate Studies in Religion.


  • JTS Stroock Faculty Fellowship
  •  Dancinger Fellowship 
  • National Foundation for Jewish Culture


  • “Conservative Jewish Bible Interpretation.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • “Burning Bush, II: Judaism.” In Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 4. Walter de Gruyter, 2012.
  • “Ecclesiastes.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • “Clearing Peshat and Derash.” In Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, edited by Magne Sæbø.
  • “Moses: Man of Israel, Man of God.” In Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, edited by David Lieber. Jewish Publication Society, 2001.
  • “The Man Moses, the Leader Moses.” In Jewish Religious Leadership: Image and Reality, edited by Jack Wertheimer. The JTS Press, 2014.
  • “Qoheleth: The Philosopher Means Business.” In Bringing the Hidden to Light: Studies in Honor of Stephen A. Geller, edited by Kathryn Kravitz and Diane Sharon. Amer Oriental Society, 2007.


  • “How True Is the Torah?”
  • “How to Read the Bible and How Not To” 
  • “Moses and God: Face to Face” 
  • “Biblical Prophecy: Why It Began and Why It Ended” 
  • “Qohelet [Ecclesiastes]: Pessimist or Optimist?” 
  • “A Convincing Prophet: The Persuasive Techniques of Amos” 
  • The Conservative Movement and Study of Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) 
  • Classical Jewish Texts 
  • Modes of Biblical Interpretation 
  • Biblical Prophecy


Dr. Garfinkel’s current research is focused on early popular perceptions of Moses as a divine figure.