Molly Zahn

Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Graduate Director, Religious Studies
Primary office:
785-864-4609
Smith Hall
Room 203


The Hebrew Bible; the ancient Near Eastern world; early Judaism (especially the Dead Sea Scrolls); early Christianity; historical relations between Christianity and Judaism

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2009

Molly Zahn received her PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 2009, and has also studied in Minnesota, Oxford (England), Tübingen (Germany), and Uppsala (Sweden). Her areas of interest include the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Near Eastern world, early Judaism (especially the Dead Sea Scrolls), early Christianity, and the historical relations between Christianity and Judaism. In her research, she focuses on the issue of interpretation: how religious communities read and renew their sacred traditions in light of their own experiences and circumstances. She has published several articles on scriptural interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in later layers of the Hebrew Bible. Her first book, Rethinking Rewritten Scripture: Composition and Exegesis in the 4QReworked Pentateuch Manuscripts, was published by Brill in 2011.


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Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”