Julia O’Brien

Paul H. and Grace L. Stern Chair in Old Testament Studies
Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Acting Dean, Spring 2015

BA, Wake Forest University, 1981
MDiv, Duke University, 1984
PhD, Duke University, 1988

Dr. Julia M. O'Brien is Paul H. and Grace L. Stern Professor of Old Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary, where she has taught since 1997.

Julia received her B.A. in Religion from Wake Forest University in 1981, M.Div from Duke Divinity School in 1984, and Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Duke University in 1988, where her areas of study included the history and archeology of the Old Testament, as well as Judaism and Literary Criticism.

Her academic specialties include the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible (especially the Minor Prophets), and the intersection of gender studies and Biblical studies.

She is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies and is completing a feminist commentary on the book of Micah. Previous publications include Nahum (Sheffield Academic Press, 2001); Nahum through Malachi (Abingdon Old Testament Commentary series, 2004); andChallenging Prophetic Metaphor (Westminster John Knox, 2008).  With Chris Franke, she co-edited Aesthetics of Violence in the Prophets (T & T Clark, 2010).

Julia lectures and leads workshops on various topics related to the Bible and contemporary culture, including (homo)sexuality and the Bible; the family in ancient and modern perspectives; biblical promises and Middle Eastern politics; and secular readings of Old Testament narratives.

Courses Taught

Introducing the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Women and the Bible
Violence and the Bible
Sacred Stories
Homosexuality and the Bible
Reading Hebrew
Ruth and Esther

Specialty & Research

Gender Studies
Ethical Issues in Reading the Hebrew Bible: 
Violence and Constructions of Families
Literary approaches to the Bible

Major Publications

Aesthetics of Violence in the Prophets (T & T Clark, 2010)
Challenging Prophetic Metaphor: Theology and Ideology in the ProphetsWestminster John Knox, 2008.

“Nahum-Habakkuk-Zephaniah: Reading the ‘Former Prophets’ in the Persian Period.” Interpretation 61 (2007): 168-183. 

Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries (Abingdon Press, 2004) 

Nahum Readings: A New Biblical Commentary (Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) 

“On Saying `No’ to a Prophet.” Semeia 72 (1997): 111-124. Reprinted in Prophets and Daniel. A Feminist Companion to the Bible (second series), ed. Athalya Brenner. Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.

“Judah as Wife and Husband: Deconstructing Gender in Malachi.” Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996): 243-252.

Priest and Levite in Malachi, Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series, no. 121 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990)

Resource & Lecture Topics

Interpreting the Books of the Old Testament( especially the prophetic materials)
Gender in the Bible and in Biblical Interpretation
Ways of Reading the Bible
The Bible as Literature
The Bible and the Family

Dr. Julia O'Brien's website is here.

Curriculum Vitae