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Doctoral Researcher in The History of Religion (Southern Levant)

Helsinki, Finland
The annual gross salary is €29,500 – 38,000.
Closing date
12 Jun 2024

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Job Details

We are recruiting a team of researchers (four postdoctoral researchers and a PhD researcher) to collaborate in Dr. Jason Silverman’s ERC Advanced Grant Project "Work without End: Informal Taxation and Forced Labor within Persian Southern Levantine Temple Economy and Society (WORK-IT)" at the University of Helsinki. WORK-IT will run from Sept 2024 to Aug 2029. Each researcher is expected to be able to research and publish independently as well as collaboratively within the team.

Using temples in the southern Levant under the first Persian Empire as the focus, WORK-IT explores imperial-local socio-economic interaction. The project integrates analysis of informal taxation and forced labor via Bourdieusian field theory in the analysis of Persian-era sources. The analysis of informal taxation and forced labor will be useful to both economists and sociologists via the most up to date ANE data and analyses, bridging the lingering divide between ancient historians and modern social scientists. The ultimate goal is to provide some refined perspectives for the modern theory of preindustrial socio-economic interactions.

Towards these ends, we invite applications for a Doctoral Researcher in the history of religions for a fixed term four-year employment contract starting in September 2024 or as agreed. We are looking for a promising master’s student with a background in the history of religion related to the Hebrew Bible and cognate literatures, to undertake a PhD exploring the labor forces associated with temples in the Levant and at Elephantine.

The researcher will be responsible for

  1.  Writing a dissertation on the attested labor forces of temples in the Southern Levant and at Elephantine;
  2. Completing the credits required for a doctoral degree in the history and cultural heritage program;
  3. Collaborating with the other team members in comparative and theoretical work, including joint publications;
  4. Collaborating on joint workshops.

Requirements for the position and assessment of qualifications

According to the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, an appointee to the position of doctoral researcher shall hold a second-cycle degree and the right to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki or shall be granted the right to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki during the trial period at the beginning of the employment relationship.

Other requirements shall include an approved research proposal, the ability and motivation, as demonstrated in previous degree studies and otherwise, to pursue postgraduate studies and a doctoral degree according to the study plan and research proposal.

In exceptional cases, an appointee to the position of doctoral researcher may also be a student who is completing postgraduate studies alongside a first- or second-cycle degree if permitted by the admission criteria of the relevant faculty’s doctoral programmes.

When assessing applicants’ qualifications, attention will be paid to the applicant’s previous studies, knowledge of relevant source literatures and languages, and interests in the social history of religion. Evidence of independent and collaborative research are advantage.

What we offer

The selected candidate will receive full salary for four years and two doctoral supervisors. The salary for the position will be based on levels 2-4 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The annual gross salary is €29,500 – 38,000. The position is filled with a six-month trial period.

In Finnish universities, the teaching and research staff (app. 65% of total staff) have a special system regarding the free time equivalent to holiday. They belong to the 1,612 annual working hour system, in which the annual amount of paid holiday is app. 5-6 weeks on average per year.

The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The University provides support for internationally recruited employees with their transition to work and life in Finland. For more on the University of Helsinki as an employer, please see

The selected candidate will also have access to travel money and limited funds for open access publishing.

WORK-IT is based in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki, located in the City Centre Campus. The Faculty is well-known for its social scientific and ancient Near Eastern research, and there are close ties with the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Science.

The city of Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, with a population of ca. 1.3 million. It has been consistently ranked amongst the top cities in the world for quality of living. Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki is an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 15 other locations.

How to apply

The application must be accompanied by the following documents in PDF format:

  • A curriculum vitae;
  • Names of two referees;
  • Research plan for the doctoral research consisting of:
    1. a brief description of previous research experience;
    2. a brief proposal for the research project that the applicant would conduct in WORK-IT;
  • Study transcript of the master’s degree;
  • possible publication’s list

Other attachments, including letters of recommendation or certificates, are not required at this point.

Applications must be submitted through the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking on the link below. Current employees of the University of Helsinki must submit their applications through SAP Fiori’s Suffeli recruitment portal. The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and minorities.

Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr. Jason Silverman (jason.silverman (at) Further information about the recruitment process can be obtained from HR Specialist Reeta Korhonen (


Company info
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