Melissa Ramos, PhD

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible

Melissa  Ramos

Melissa Ramos (PhD, UCLA) is an associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Portland Seminary. She is also an ordained pastor (Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

Her first book, Ritual in Deuteronomy: The Performance of Doom (Routledge, 2021) explores the ritual world of Deuteronomy and its symbolic forms. The book focuses on the dramatic enactment of the covenant in Deuteronomy 27-30 and studies the role that ritual plays in the literary shape of the book.

Her second book, New Perspectives on Ritual in the Biblical World (Bloomsbury, in press) is a coedited volume of collected essays that emphasize materiality and embodiment in the study of religious practices focusing especially on the intersection of ritual with gender and the body, the boundaries between official and non-official ritual practices, and the textualization of ritual.

Academic Background

PhD, UCLA; MPhil, Cambridge University; MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary, BA, University of California, Irvine

Expertise and Research Interests 

Ritual studies, covenants and oaths in the Hebrew Bible and ancient West Asia and the Mediterranean, curses and blessings, Northwest Semitic inscriptions, Levantine archaeology, gender, race, and hermeneutics.

Select Publications and Presentations


Laura Quick and Melissa Ramos. New Perspectives on Ritual in the Biblical World (T & T Clark, in press).

Ritual in Deuteronomy: The Performance of Doom. Ancient Word Series. Seth Sanders, editor. (Routledge, 2021).

Articles, Book Chapters, and Book Reviews

“Ritual Pirates and Curse Plunderers: Judean Scribes and the Burglary of Mesopotamian ‘Secret’ Rituals.” In Jehu’s Tribute: What Can Biblical Studies Offer Assyriology? Jeffrey Cooley and Rannfrid Lesine Thelle, eds. (forthcoming)

Monumentalizing Slaughter: ‘Cutting a Covenant’ in the Hebrew Bible and Levantine Inscriptions.” In New Perspectives on Ritual in the Biblical World. LHBOTS. Laura Quick and Melissa Ramos, eds. (T & T Clark, in press).

Review of Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament by Brent A. Strawn. Interpretation (forthcoming).

“Recovering the Lost Art of Reading the Biblical Languages,” Presbyterian Outlook (2018).

“Blessings and Curses.” Entry in Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media. Tom Thatcher, et al, editors. (T & T Clark, 2017). 

Lectures and Conference Presentations

“Ritual in Deuteronomy.” UCLA: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. April, 2021.

“Making the Cut: Covenant and Iconic Visual Display.” International Society for Biblical Literature Meeting. Rome, Italy. July, 2019.

“Ritual, Memory, and Materiality in the Torah Stones of Deuteronomy.” Society for Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA. November, 2019.

“Immigration Studies and the Immigrant in Ugarit and Ancient Israel.” Society for Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. Boston, MA. November, 2018.

“Deut 27 and Ancient Media: The Torah Stones and the Meaning of Covenant.” Society for Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. San Antonio, TX. November, 2016.