Matthias Henze was born and raised in Hanover, Germany. In 1992 he earned a Master of Divinity in Protestant Theology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and moved to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. After completing his doctorate in 1997, Dr. Henze joined Rice’s department of religion, where he is now the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism.
His areas of interest include the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Jewish literature and thought at the time of the Second Temple, the history of biblical interpretation, apocalyptic literature, Syriac language and literature, and the Qumran fragments. In particular, Dr. Henze focuses on those early texts that never became part of the Jewish Bible - often subsumed under the labels ‘Apocrypha’ and ‘Pseudepigrapha’ - and what we can learn when these texts are read side by side with the canonical writings.
Dr. Henze has written and edited nine books, among them research on the book of Daniel, on the early history of biblical interpretation, and on Judaism at the turn of the Common Era. His more recent books include a monograph on 2 Baruch, a Jewish apocalypse from the late first century, titled Jewish Apocalypticism in Late First Century Israel: Reading Second Baruch in Context (Mohr Siebeck, 2011), an edited volume on the various forms of biblical interpretation in Second Temple Judaism, A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism (Eerdmans, 2012), and a popular book, Mind the Gap: How the Jewish Writings between the Old and New Testament Help Us Understand Jesus (Fortress Press, 2017). He has also written over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as numerous encyclopedia entries. Currently he is at work on a critical commentary on Second Baruch (CEJL; De Gruyter). A full list of his publications can be found here.
Dr. Henze has lectured in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. In 2009-10 he was a Fellow-in-Residence at The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. In 2016 he was the Mandelbaum Scholar in Residence at the University of Sydney, Australia. While at Rice he has won five teaching/mentoring awards, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize (2003), the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching (2009, 2010, 2015), and the Graduate Student Association Teaching/Mentoring Award (2015). He was also named a founding fellow of Rice’s Center for Teaching Excellence. In 2009 he founded Rice’s Program in Jewish Studies, of which he continues to serve as director.