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After completing her theological studies at at the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Prof Julie Claassens travelled to the USA where she did her PhD at Princeton Theological Seminary. She then spent 8 years teaching at various US institutions before returning to her alma mater in June 2010 where she currently serves as an Associate Professor in Old Testament with a focus on human dignity. Her most recent book Mourner, Mother, Midwife: Reimagining God’s Liberating Presence will be published by Westminster John Knox, 2012. She is the recipient of a Von Humboldt Fellowship and will be spending 8 months in Münster, Germany during 2012-2013 working on a project entitled “Resisting Dehumanization: Gender and Human Dignity in the Biblical Traditions.”
Career, Degrees and Qualifications
2002-2004 Assistant Professor in Old Testament, St Norbert College, Green Bay, WI
2004-2006: Assistant Professor in Old Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA
2006-2008 Associate Professor in Old Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA
2008-2010: Visiting Professor in Old Testament, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
2010-present: Associate Professor in Old Testament, Stellenbosch
BA Cum Laude 1993; HonsBA (Ancient Near Eastern Studies) Cum Laude 1994; MA (Ancient Near Eastern Studies) Cum Laude 1996; BD Cum Laude 1997;
Princeton Theological Seminary
PhD (Old Testament) 2001
“The God Who Feeds: A Feminist Theological Analysis of Key Pentateuchal and Intertestamental Texts”
Scholarship holder of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Bonn (2012-2015)
Research project :“Resisting Dehumanization: Gender and Human Dignity in the Biblical Traditions”
Research Visits to University of Münster, Germany:
October 2012 –January 2013
April –July 2013
October 2014- January 2015
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Extraordinary Visiting Associate Professor December 2005-December 2009
Princeton Theological Seminary
Doctoral Fellowship, 1997-2001
Her research and teaching interests include Gender and the Bible, Theological Approaches to the Bible, Postcolonial Interpretation of the Bible. She has written across the canon, but particularly enjoy teaching and writing on the Prophets and the Pentateuch.
She teaches the following courses:
MDIV Gender, Culture and Scripture
STONT 344 Theological Hermeneutics with a focus on human dignity
ONT 114 Introduction to the Bible
OT 322 Introduction to the Major Prophets
2012. Mourner, Mother, Midwife: Reimagining God’s Liberating Presence, Westminster John Knox, 2012
2004. The God who Provides: Biblical Images of Divine Nourishment. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, October 2004.
Sacred Selves: Essays on Gender, Popular Culture and Religion (co-editor with Stella Viljoen), Griffel, 2012.
Inclusion Matters: Essays on Theology, Disability and Human Dignity (co-editor with Leslie Swartz and Len Hansen), SunMedia, 2013.
Fragile Dignity: Intercontextual Conversations on Scriptures, Family and Violence. Semeia (co-editor with Klaas Spronk), forthcoming
Articles and Essays
2012. “Resisting Dehumanization: Ruth, Tamar and the Quest for Human Dignity,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly.
2012. “Breaking the Silence about Gender Violence? In Conversation with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In L Juliana Claassens and Stella Viljoen, eds. Sacred Selves: Essays on Gender, Popular Culture and Religion. Griffel.
2012. “Gender, Culture and Scripture: Teaching Gender at Stellenbosch University,” in EFSA/NETACT Conference Volume on Teaching Gender in Africa, ed Jurgens Hendriks, Elna Mouton, Elisabet le Roux and Len Hansen, SUN Media
2011. “Joel and Obadiah,” Women’s Bible Commentary, (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox).
2011. “Sabbath Reconsidered: Human Dignity and the Fourth Commandment,” Scriptura 106:71-80
2011. “Human Dignity in the Prophetic Traditions. Upholding Human Worth in a Context of Dehumanization,” NGTT, 52/1-2, 34-44
2010. “Calling the Keeners: The Image of the Wailing Woman as Symbol of Survival in a Traumatized World,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 26.1, 63-78
2010. “Resisting Dehumanization: Acts of Relational Care in Exodus 1-2 as Image of God’s Liberating Presence,” Scriptura, 104:2: 572-580
2009. “The Image of the Wailing Woman and the Task of the Feminist Theologian: With Special Attention to the Role of Lament in the Book of Matthew,” Pages 193-204 in Pillay, M., Nadar, S. and Le Bruyns, C. Ragbag Theologies: Essays in Honour of Denise Ackermann, A Feminist Theologian of Praxis. Stellenbosch: SUN Press
2009. “Isaiah.” Pages 209-222 in Theological Commentary of the Bible (eds. David Peterson & Gail O’Day). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox.
2009. “Putting a (Gendered) Face on Poverty: With Special Attention to Jesus’ Foremothers in Matthew 1,” NGTT 50(3): 311-321.
2008. “Interrupting God-language: Rethinking the Image of God as Liberator in Isaiah 42,” Pages 53-70 in Exile and Suffering: A Selection of Papers Read at the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the OTWSA, Pretoria August
2007 (OTS 50; eds. Bob Becking & Dirk Human, Leiden: Brill).
2008. “To the Captives Come Out and to Those in Darkness be Free…:” Using the Book of Isaiah in (American) Politics?” Old Testament Essays 21/3
2008. “Expanding our Vocabulary for God: Female Metaphors for God in Deutero-Isaiah,” NGTT 49/3-4
2007. “Praying from the Depths of the Deep: Remembering the Image of God as Midwife in Psalm 71,” Review and Expositor 104/4, 761-776.
2006. “A Dialogue of Voices: Job, Socrates and the Quest for Understanding,” Old Testament Essays 19/3 , 1106-1123.
2006. “And the Moon Spoke Up: Genesis 1 and Feminist Theology,” Review and Expositor 103/2, 325-345.
2006. “Rupturing God-language: The Metaphor of God as Midwife in Psalm 22.” Pages 166-175 in Engaging the Bible in a Gendered World: An Introduction to Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Honor of Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Edited by Linda Day and Carolyn Pressler. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox.
2005. “The Abusive God,” Pages 180-181 in Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction. Resources for Biblical Study. Eds Susan Ackerman & Ross Wagner. Atlanta: SBL.
2005. “Ezra and Nehemiah and the Foreign Women,” Pages 236-237 in Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction (Resources for Biblical Study; ed Susan Ackerman & Ross Wagner SBL).
2005. “Laughter and Tears: Carnivalistic Overtones in the Stories of Sarah and Hagar,” Perspectives in Religious Studies, 32/3, 295-308.
2005. “"I Kill and I Give Life": Contrasting Depictions for God in Deuteronomy 32," Old Testament Essays 18/1]
2003. “Biblical Theology as Dialogue: Continuing the Conversation on Bakhtin and Biblical Theology,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 122/1, 127-144.
“Like a Woman in Labor: Gender, Queer, Postcolonial and Trauma Perspectives on Jeremiah, in Carolyn Sharp and Christl Maier (eds), Prophecy and Power (T&T Clark)
“Just Emotions: Reading the Sarah and Hagar Narrative (Genesis 16, 21) Through the Lens of Human Dignity,” Verbum Ecclesia
“Give us a Portion among our Father’s Brothers: The Daughters of Zelophehad, Land, and the Quest for Human Dignity,” JSOT
“Violence in the Prophetic Rhetoric” Oxford Handbook to the Prophets (Oxford University Press).
“Job, Theology and Disability: Moving Towards a New Kind of Speech,” in L Juliana Claassens, Leslie Swartz and Len Hansen (eds), Inclusion Matters: Essays on Theology, Disability and Human Dignity (SunMedia, 2013)
“A True Disgrace? The Representation of Violence against Women in the Book of Lamentations as well as in JM Coetzee’s Novel Disgrace,” in L Juliana Claassens and Klaas Spronk eds. Fragile Dignity: Intercontextual Conversations on Scriptures, Family and Violence. Semeia,
“Transforming God-Language: The Metaphor of God as Abusive Spouse (Ezekiel 16) in Conversation with the Portrayal of God in The Color Purple” Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians Publications. Ed. Madipoane Masenya. Cluster Publications,
“Towards a Logic of Dignity: Educating Against Gender-Based Violence” in International Handbook on Learning, Teaching and Leadership in Faith based Schools, proposed for Dordrecht: Springer Press
Popular publications (selection)
2009. ‘n Groter God: Nuut gedink oor die God wat ons telkens verras [God is bigger than we think: Thinking anew about the God who seeks to surprise us]. Wellington, South Africa: Lux Verbi.BM.
2003. Wintertye: Perspektiewe uit die Skrif vir die Hartseertye in ons Lewens [Winter Time: A Selection of Sermons] South Africa: Lux Verbi.
2001. Sonnekind en Meisie-van-die-nag en ander Skokverhale uit die Rigtertyd wat praat met ons Tyd. [Sun Child and Lady of the Night: Retelling the Judges Narratives for Our Time]. Cape Town, South Africa: Lux Verbi.