Robin Baker

Visiting Scholar


Robin Baker grew up in Salisbury and took his BA at the University of London and his PhD at the University of East Anglia. He received a Finnish Government Scholarship to carry out research at the University of Helsinki and has also studied at Stanford University. He is Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Winchester, a Fellow of University College London, and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Balkan Studies in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Research Interests

Robin’s research is in the Old Testament and the religious environment of the Ancient Near East. His focus is particularly on the relationship between the Old Testament and Assyrian and Babylonian beliefs and cultic practice, and reflections of Mesopotamian literature in the Hebrew Bible. He is also concerned with the way Hebrew writers encoded information through literary structure and with the degree to which the Old Testament should be understood as an esoteric text.

His latest book – Hollow Men, Strange Women: Riddles, Codes and Otherness in the Book of Judges – is published by Brill (July 2016) in the Biblical Interpretation Series. In this book, Robin examines the use of riddle and parable to convey esoteric meanings in Judges and how Judges explores the question of otherness. He is currently completing extended articles on the Song of Deborah and on reflections of the Mesopotamian war-god, Ninurta, in the Old Testament. He has recently collaborated with Professor Simo Parpola of the University of Helsinki on Professor Parpola’s two-volume Etymological Dictionary of the Sumerian Language, published by Eisenbrauns (May 2016).

More broadly, Robin is interested in the reception and interpretation of the Old Testament in the Early Church especially as articulated in patristic writings from Alexandria and Antioch, reflections of Mesopotamian religious concepts in Christian theology, and in the role religion plays in sustaining notions of identity among ethnic minorities, for example in Russia and Romania.

Funding Awards and Professional Membership

Personal Research Grant from the British Academy to carry out an anthropological exploration of the religious beliefs of the Csángó minority of Romania and how these have changed over centuries.