Ola Wikander

Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS.
Reader and Senior Lecturer in Old Testament Exegesis, Lund University


Ola Wikander (born in 1981) has a background in biblical exegesis (especially its religio-historical forms)
and historical linguistics. He started learning various ancient languages at an early age and later specialized
in Ugaritic, a Northwest Semitic language from Bronze Age Syria, as well as in the historical study of Hebrew.
He has always been interested in the relationship between the poetic/narrative traditions of Northwest Semitic
literature and those of surrounding cultures (not least, Indo-European-speaking ones). At the age of 21, he
published a Swedish translation of the main Ugaritic myths, and he has since continued to publish work as
an academic and as a literary writer and translator.

 Wikander earned his doctorate in 2012 with the dissertation Drought, Death and the Sun in Ugarit and
Ancient Israel: A Philological and Comparative Study
(twice award winning and internationally published
in 2014), in which he applies the methodology of etymologically based poetic reconstruction (inspired by
Indo-Europeanist Calvert Watkins) to Hebrew and Ugaritic poetic motifs and phrases concerning destructive
solarity, drought, and the power of death. Later he has carried out research on the relevance of linguistic and
exegetical scholarship for the preservation of information about nuclear waste storage and on poetic motifs
borrowed from Indo-European speakers (Hittites, Luwians, and traditions from Mitanni) in Old Testament
and Ugaritic writings—leading to the publication of the monograph Unburning Fame: Horses, Dragons, Beings
of Smoke, and Other Indo-European Motifs in Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible
(2017). He works with texts in
many ancient languages, such as Hebrew, Ugaritic, Hittite, Luwian, and Akkadian. During his Pro Futura Fellow-
ship, he will be working on the reconstruction of a Proto-Northwest Semitic poetic language and its phraseology.

Ola Wikander is in residence at the Collegium in the academic year 2018-19.
This information is accurate as of the academic year 2018-19.