Sean Burt

Associate Professor

PhD 2009, Duke University

422A Minard Hall

Telephone: 701-231-8820

Find Dr. Burt's CV here.

Areas of interest and specialization: Hebrew Bible, Ancient Jewish Literature, Biblical Poetry, Reception of Biblical Literature, Aesthetics

What made you want to be a scholar of religion?

The study of religion lies at the meeting point of the humanities: it’s where one can find embodied philosophy, enchanted history, truly weird and transformative literature. As a lifelong library wanderer, encountering the study of religion enabled me to find and ask questions that beyond the boundaries of different fields of study.

What makes you excited working with students?

I love that the Humanities are fundamentally open to everyone. Yes, we teach skills and knowledges that take time to develop, but I’ve found that brilliant insights and questions come from anywhere and everywhere. Our lives are often so full of busyness, and I love how working with students enables us to slow down, to share ideas in discussion or writing, even to spend time with a single text—a novel, an ancient narrative, a poem—to see what emerges.

Courses taught

  • RELS 100 World Religions
  • RELS 220 Old Testament
  • HIST/RELS 320 History of Christianity
  • RELS 355 History of Judaism
  • ENGL 222 Introduction to Poetry
  • ENGL 375 Bible as Literature
  • ENGL 762 Critical Theory


“’What Kind of Likeness?’: The Aesthetic Impulse in Biblical Poetry.” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 38.1 (2020): 1–33. Co-authored with Elaine James.

“The Snake, The Poet: Art and Duplicity in Margaret Atwood’s Poetry and the Hebrew Prophets,” in “Who Knows What We'd Ever Make of It, If We Ever Got Our Hands on It?”: The Bible and Margaret Atwood, edited by Rhiannon Graybill and Peter Sabo, Gorgias Press, 2020.

“‘Your Torah is My Delight’: Repetition and the Poetics of Immanence in Psalm 119.” Journal of Biblical Literature 137.3 (2018): 685–700.

“‘This Is a Lamentation—It Has Become a Lamentation’: Subverting Genre in Ezekiel 19.” Chapter for Biblical Poetry and Art of Close Reading, edited by Elaine James and Blake Couey, Cambridge University Press, 2018. 

The Courtier and the Governor: Transformations of Genre in the Nehemiah Memoir. Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplement series, 17. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014.

Work in Progress

“Alicia Suskin Ostriker's Feminist Poetics: Biblical Poetry as Counter-Theology.” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History (forthcoming, accepted for publication)

“Poetry in the Hebrew Bible,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia. (forthcoming, accepted for publication)

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