Markus Saur
Prof. Dr. Markus Saur

Prof. Dr. Markus Saur

University of Bonn
Faculty of Protestant Theology
Department for Old Testament Studies
Am Hof 1
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 54480
Personal profile page22

Current Position

  • Professor for Exegesis and Theology of the Old Testament


עבדות – cabdūt. Dependency in Ancient Israel and Judah

Forms of slavery and dependency are expressed in the Hebrew Bible by several words, most of them deriving from the verb cābad ("to serve"). The noun cabdūt for "slavery" or "dependency" can be found three times in the Hebrew Bible: While Ezra 9:8–9 reflects upon the dependency of the Judeans in the Achaemenid Empire, the use of cabdūt in Nehemiah 9:17 refers to the slavery of Israel's ancestors in Egypt. Both texts refer to the history of Israel and Judah as to a history of dependency.

An exemplary exposition of these dependencies can be found in the portrayal of King Solomon and the Solomon tradition. Solomon is introduced in 1 Kings 1–11 as successor of King David. The text highlights in particular Solomon's international relationships. In 1 Kings 5, the Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre is named as Solomon's trading partner; the report summarizes the complex dependency of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel on the economically and culturally superior Phoenician cities in the first millennium BCE.

Thus, the text points out in an exemplary way to what extent Israel and Judah are related to the cultures of the Ancient Near East. This can be seen beyond the depiction of Solomon also in the Solomon tradition: The Book of Proverbs, attributed to Solomon, delivers a form of wisdom, which corresponds to parts of wisdom traditions from the Ancient Near East. The Book of Qohelet, which contains implicit references to Solomon, is also part of a larger tradition of wisdom literature that can be compared, for example, to passages of the Akkadian epic of Gilgamesh. And the Song of Songs is associated with Solomon by its title and is part of a broad tradition of ancient oriental love poetry.

 In the cluster project, the cultural dependencies between Israel and Judah and the Ancient Near East will be examined by the example of Solomon and the Solomon tradition with a special focus on the Book of Proverbs, Qohelet and the Song of Songs.



  • 2008                         Venia Docendi/Habilitation for Old Testament, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 2004                         Dr. theol., University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
  • 2000–2002             Doctoral studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 1993–1999             Undergraduate and graduate studies in Theology, Ancient History and Philosophy at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Montpellier and Kiel, Germany and France

Academic Positions

  • 2017–present         Professor for Exegesis and Theology of the Old Testament, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 2009–2017             Professor for Old Testament and Biblical-Oriental Languages, University of Kiel, Germany
  • 2007–2009             Lecturer for Biblical Hebrew, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
  • 2002–2007             Assistant/Lecturer for Old Testament, University of Basel, Switzerland

Scholarships and Awards

    • 2018                         Senior Fellow at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald
    • 2000–2002             Scholarship Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    • 1993–1999             Scholarship Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

    Other Current Research

    • Psalms and Psalter – Literary and Theological Dimensions
    • Prophetic Books and Their Context with a Main Focus on the Book of Ezekiel
    • Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew Bible in the Context of the Ancient Near East
    • History of Israel, Juda and Phoenicia in the First Millennium BCE                    

    Third-Party Funding

    • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (doctoral scholarship)
    • Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (research project "Sources on the history of the Phoenicians“)
    • Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald (senior fellowship)

    Selected Publications

    • The Chronological Development of Wisdom Literature. In: W. Kynes (ed.): Oxford Handbook of Wisdom Literature. Oxford 2020.
    • Qohelet as a Reader of Proverbs. In: K. Dell, W. Kynes (eds.): Reading Proverbs Intertextually. (= Library of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament Studies 629). London and New York 2019, 129–138.
    • Where Can Wisdom Be Found? New Perspectives on the Wisdom Psalms. In: M. Sneed (ed.): Was There a Wisdom Tradition? New Prospects in Israelite Wisdom Studies. (= Society of Biblical Literature: The Ancient Israel and Its Literature 23). Atlanta 2015, 181–204.
    • Einführung in die alttestamentliche Weisheitsliteratur. [Introduction to Old Testament Wisdom Literature]. Darmstadt 2012.
    • Sapientia discursiva: Die alttestamentliche Weisheitsliteratur als theologischer Diskurs. [Old Testament Wisdom Literature as a Theological Discourse]. In: Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 123 (2011), 236–249.
    • Ezekiel 26–28 and the History of Tyre. In: Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 24 (2010), 212–225.
    • Der Tyroszyklus des Ezechielbuches. [The Cycle of Tyre in the Book of Ezekiel]. (= Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 386). Berlin and New York 2008.
    • Tyros im Spiegel des Ezechielbuches. [Tyre in the Book of Ezekiel]. In: Witte, M., Diehl, J.F. (eds.): Israeliten und Phönizier: Ihre Beziehungen im Spiegel der Archäologie und der Literatur des Alten Testaments und seiner Umwelt. (= Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 235). Fribourg and Göttingen 2008, 165–189.
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