Isaac Oliver

Assistant Professor

Bradley Hall 289
(309) 677-2443

Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
M.A., Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
M.A., Religion, Andrews University
B.A., Religion Andrews University


Isaac W. Oliver earned his PhD at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan in 2012. Oliver has also studied in France, Argentina, and Austria. He speaks English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Modern Hebrew, and is a citizen of the US and Brazil. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2001-2002; summers of 2008 & 2010), taking courses in Hebrew, Judaism, Israel studies, and Islam, and passing the Modern Hebrew exemption exam (P'tor) with a high grade (95%).

Oliver’s fields of interest include Second Temple Judaism, New Testament, early Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, and early Islam. His master's thesis was on the rabbinic concept of "Oral Law" (Torah she-be-al-peh). His current research focuses on reading the New Testament and other early Christian writings within their Jewish matrix as part of early Jewish literature. His recent book, Torah Praxis after 70 CE: Reading Matthew and Luke-Acts as Jewish Texts (Mohr Siebeck, Dec. 2013), focuses on the question of Sabbath keeping, kashrut (dietary laws), and circumcision in the gospels of Matthew and Luke as well as the Acts of the Apostles.  

Oliver is the editor of the Reviews of the Enoch Seminar (RES), a digital book review committed to the publication of book reviews on Second Temple Judaism, early Christian, rabbinic, and Islamic origins. He also serves as the secretary of the Enoch Graduate Seminar and is co-editor of the Peter Lang monograph series, Apocalypticism: Cross-disciplinary Explorations. In June of 2015, Oliver participated in the first Early Islamic Studies Seminar (EISS) - Nangeroni Conference in Villa Cagnola, Gazzada Italy. He will be chairing the Nangeroni Conference on "The Early Reception of Paul the Second Temple Jew" at the Waldensian School of Theology in Rome, Italy from June 26-30, 2016.

In the fall of 2014, Oliver received Bradley’s First Year Faculty Award. At Bradley University, Oliver teaches courses on the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is currently developing further course offerings in Judaic studies. 


  • RLS 300 – Hebrew Bible
  • RLS 302 – New Testament
  • RLS 332 – Religions of the World II: Abrahamic Traditions

Topic of RLS 332 in January, 2013: Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Topic of RLS 332 (2013-2014): Food and Identity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Topic of RLS 332 (2014-2015): Women in the Bible and the Quran

Topic of RLS 332 (2015-2016): Homosexuality in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

  • RLS 313: Rabbinic Judaism: Introduction to the Talmud
  • RLS 350 – Topics in Religious Studies, Second Temple Judaism: The Jewish Apocrypha



  • Torah Praxis after 70 CE: Reading Matthew and Luke-Acts as Jewish Texts. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 355. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, December 2013.

Selected Articles

  • Isaac W. Oliver and Veronika Bachmann. “The Book of Jubilees: An Annotated Bibliography from the First German Translation of 1850 to the Enoch Seminar of 2007.” Henoch 31.1 (2009): 123–64.
  • “Simon Peter Meets Simon the Tanner: The Ritual Insignificance of Tanning in Ancient Judaism.” New Testament Studies 59.1 (2013): 50–60.
  • “Forming Jewish Identity by Formulating Legislation for Gentiles.” Journal of Ancient Judaism 4.1 (2013): 105–32.
  • “Jewish Followers of Jesus and the Bar Kokhba Revolt: Re-examining the Christian Sources.” Pages 109 –27 in The Psychological Dynamics of Revolution: Religious Revolts. Vol. 1 of Winning Revolutions: The Psychology of Successful Revolts for Freedom, Fairness, and Rights. Edited by J. Harold Ellens. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO Praeger, 2014.
  • “The ‘Historical Paul’ and the Paul of Acts: Which is More Jewish?” Paul the Jew: Rereading the Apostle as a Figure of Second Temple Judaism. Edited by Carlos Segovia and  Gabriele Boccaccini (Fortress, 2016).
  • “Matthieu est-il plus juif que Luc?” Judaïsme ancien /Ancient Judaism (Forthcoming, 2016).