Professor Katharine Dell

My main research area is the wisdom literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. I have recently published a monograph with OUP entitled, The Solomonic Corpus of 'Wisdom and its Influence. I have written a theology of Proverbs for CUP and I am working on a monograph on themes of wisdom, creation and covenant within the OT/HB. I also have interests in environmental ethics in relation to the Bible and in musical interpretations of texts. I am keen to disseminate my subject to a wider audience and have published some more popular books such as Who Needs the Old Testament: Its Enduring Appeal and Why the New Atheists don't get it (SPCK, 2017). I have also edited a number of volumes, notably The Biblical World (Routledge, Taylor and Francis, forthcoming) and written some introductory textbooks. I am also working on a commentary on Ecclesiastes with Tova Forti of Ben Gurion University in Israel - the bread and butter of our trade, looking in depth at each chapter and verse, for the IECOT commentary series (Kohlhammer).
President; Director of Studies in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion
Professor in Old Testament Literature and Theology

Professor Katharine Dell is Director of Studies in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion at St Catharine's. Her research interest is the wisdom literature of the Old Testament and she has written four books on Job and two on Proverbs as well as an introduction for students entitled Get Wisdom, Get Insight! She has most recently written an introductory handbook to the Old Testament as a whole, entitled Opening the Old Testament and, as a Senior Lecturer, she teaches across the Old Testament syllabus in the Faculty of Divinity. She came to Cambridge from Oxford where she was an undergraduate and graduate and where she had her first job at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. She joined the college in 1996 as Tutor and DOS and she supervises St Catharine's students in their Old Testament options.

Professor Katharine Dell is married with a son and four cats.  She is a semi-professional singer in the London Bach Choir and received an LCM Diploma for singing in 2016.

The Bible is an endlessly fascinating book, and within that my specialism is 'wisdom' - practical knowledge of the world, of relationships, of navigating life and understanding life's complex interactions, human and divine. I focus particularly on the Old Testament wisdom books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes - whilst Proverbs lays the groundwork for a thorough understanding of the world through wisdom, Job and Ecclesiastes both question many of its premises and question some of life's basic assumptions. I also find other books of the Old Testament fascinating and have developed a recent interest in Song of Songs, an amazing love song, and in prophetic books. I am also interested in different approaches to the Old Testament/Holy Bible such as knowing more about creation from an environmental perspective, and at the way texts have been appropriated and interpreted over the centuries.


  • The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Opening the Old Testament, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
  • On Stone and Scroll: Essays in honour of Graham Ivor Davies, eds. James K Aitken, Katharine J Dell and Brian A Mastin, BZAW 420, (Walter de Gruyter, 2011)
  • Reading Job Intertextually, eds. Katharine Dell and Will Kynes, LHBOTS 574, London: Bloomsbury, 2012 (also Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually, 2014 and Reading Proverbs Intertextually, 2018)
  • Study Guides to the Old Testament, ed. A. Curtis, London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2016.
  • Interpreting Ecclesiastes: Readers Old and New, Critical Studies in the Hebrew Bible 3, Winona Lake: IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013.
  • Katharine J Dell and Paul M Joyce, Biblical Interpretation and Method: Essays in honour of Professor John Barton (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • 'Job: Where shall Wisdom be Found?', Phoenix Guides to the Old Testament, ed. Adrian Curtis (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013)
  • Who needs the Old Testament?: its enduring appeal and why the New Atheists don’t get it, London: SPCK, and Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock (Cascade books), 2017.
  • Get Wisdom, Get Insight: An Introduction to Israel’s Wisdom Literature, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 2000.
  • The Solomonic Corpus of Wisdom and its Influence, Oxford: OUP, Publication in August 2020.