A Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar looks at the Bible and culture…


Julia M. O’Brien is the Paul H. and Grace L. Stern Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary, where she has taught since 1997.

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Julia M. O’Brien

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

Dr. O’Brien specializes in prophetic literature. She is the author of a commentary on Nahum for Sheffield Academic Press (2001), which was released in a second edition by Sheffield Phoenix in Oct. 2009.

Her commentary on Nahum through Malachi in the Abingdon Old Testament Commentary series was published in 2004, and Challenging Prophetic Metaphor was released by Westminster John Knox Press in 2008. Aesthetics of Violence in the Prophets, co-edited with Chris Franke, was issued by T & T Clark in 2010. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies (Oxford, 2014), which appears in print and online. In 2016, she published a feminist commentary on Micah for the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press). She has begun editing the Oxford Handbook of the Minor Prophets, which is slated for publication in 2017.

Julia writes regularly for Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and journals on other prophets as well. She is interested in issues of violence and how readers might ethically and respectfully respond to the “difficult” parts of the Bible. She also is an avid reader of novels and is currently exploring the intersection of literature and biblical texts.

For a full CV, click below.

Julia M. O’Brien CV, Sept 2018