Professor Nathan MacDonald

Nathan is a Trustee of Westcott House, appointed by the Faculty of Divinity Board and serves on the Council’s Finance and Curriculum Development sub-committees.

He is Reader in the Interpretation of the Old Testament and Fellow at St John’s College, Director of Studies for Theology at St John’s College and the Chair of the Research Committee in the Faculty of Divinity. Prior to his return to Cambridge in 2013, Nathan taught Old Testament at the University of St Andrews for several years and led a research team at the University of Göttingen, Germany.

Nathan studied Mathematics and Theology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge followed by an MPhil in Classical Hebrew Studies before completing his PhD in Old Testament at the University of Durham.

The focus of Nathan’s research is on the way that the Old Testament is used for religious and theological construction, and the projection of such constructions back onto the text. He is interested in the various receptions of the biblical text and its complex composition. He works particularly on the Pentateuch and is especially interested in the ritual and the priesthood.

Nathan’s publications include Deuteronomy and the Meaning of ‘Monotheism’ (2003), Not Bread Alone: The Uses of Food in the Old Testament (2008), What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat? (2008) and Priestly Rule: Polemic and Biblical Interpretation in Ezekiel 44 (2015). He is currently writing a commentary on the book of Numbers and on ritual innovation in the Hebrew Bible.

Outside of academic pursuits, Nathan’s other interests include history, architecture and walking.