Wide-ranging scholar of the Bible and archaeology
Michael Homan, Professor and Head of the Department of Theology at Xavier University of Louisiana, passed away on September 17, 2022. He was 56 years old.
With interests ranging from the Bible to archaeology to punk rock, Homan was beloved by many for his colorful and warm personality. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, he earned his Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern history from the University of California, San Diego, in 2000. His dissertation was published as “To Your Tents, O Israel!”: The Terminology, Function, Form, and Symbolism of Tents in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (Brill, 2002), which earned him the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute Frank Moore Cross Publication Award in 2003.
Homan joined the theology faculty at Xavier in 2000 and taught courses on the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East, as well a popular course on New Orleans cemeteries. When he wasn’t teaching, Homan was deeply involved in his New Orleans community, playing guitar in the punk band Half Pagan and participating in the Seeds of Decline sub-krewe of the Krewe du Vieux during Mardi Gras.
Homan participated in numerous archaeological projects, including excavations and surveys at Wadi Faynan in southern Jordan, the Tel Zeitah excavation in southern Israel, and the Marj Rabba Project in the lower Galilee. Homan also conducted research at the Cyprus American Archaeology Research Institute in Nicosia as a Fulbright scholar.
Throughout his career, Homan worked to make biblical scholarship accessible to the interested public. He co-authored (with David Noel Freedman and Jeffrey Geoghegan) The Nine Commandments: Uncovering the Hidden Pattern of Crime and Punishment in the Hebrew Bible (Doubleday, 2000) and (with Jeffrey Geoghegan) The Bible for Dummies (Wiley, 2002). Homan also wrote a number of popular articles and reviews for Biblical Archaeology Review and its long-time sister publication Bible Review.1
Ed. Note: Our sincere thanks to Jeffrey Geoghegan for reviewing and contributing to this article.
1. See “Did the Ancient Israelites Drink Beer?” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2010; “Jesus the Teetotaler,” Bible Review, April 2002; “The Divine Warrior in His Tent,” Bible Review, December 2000.
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