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Bernon Lee

Job Title

  • Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
    Biblical & Theological Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Highlight

The Hebrew Bible and its reception, with special interests in biblical law, nineteenth-century interpretation and postcolonial hermeneutics

Started at Bethel

2008

Education

  • University of Calgary - B.A., 1995
  • University of Calgary - M.A., 1997
  • University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto - Ph.D., 2003

Biography

Bernon Lee brings the messiness of living between cultures to biblical interpretation. More precisely, the impact of the bordered existence of readers (and their disparate loyalties) on the construal of aesthetics, prestige and power (and their various effects) in reading between cultural scripts and biblical texts (but especially Old Testament law) is his interest. His most recent book Marginal(ized) Prospects through Biblical Ritual and Law: Lections from the Threshold (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) brings the perspectives of feminist and decolonizing hermeneutics to interrogate the construction of prized and pristine entities (holy heads, sacred foods, women’s wombs, among other things) in select rules and rites of the Torah. The work lays bare the active collaboration of readers (with their communities), their anxieties and their pretensions (to power) in making ‘meaning’ out of texts. His current project is a study of select readings of biblical law and narrative by women caught between the cultural norms producing and superintending bioethnic identity, gender, sexuality and class culture within nineteenth-century conceptions of the British empire and its subordinates.

A member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Lee is a co-convenor of the Multicultural Perspectives on Theology, Religion and Biblical Interpretation section (Upper Mid-West Region), and a member of the steering committee for the Recovering Female Bible Interpreters section for the national conference.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to the Bible
  • Reading the Hebrew Bible
  • Cultural World of the Old Testament
  • The Pentateuch
  • Poetic Books of the Old Testament
  • Introductory Biblical Hebrew (I and II)
  • Introduction to Religious Studies
  • Seminar: Biblical Studies
  • Christianity and Western Culture
  • Humanities IV: Modern and Contemporary Western Culture

Publications

Books

Marginal(ized) Prospects through Biblical Ritual and Law: Lections from the Threshold. Postcolonialism and Religions Series; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Between Law and Narrative: The Method and Function of Abstraction. Gorgias Biblical Studies 51; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2010 (paperback in 2014).

Selected Articles and Chapters

“Unity in Diversity: The Literary Function of the Formula of Retaliation in Leviticus 24.15-22.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 38 (2014), 297-313.

“‘Face to Face’: Moses as Prophet in Exodus 11:1-12:28.” In Mark Boda and Lissa Wray-Beal (eds.), Prophets and Prophecy in the Historiography of the Old Testament. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013, 3-21.

“Psalm 89: A Community Lament.” In Herbert Bateman IV and D. Brent Sandy (eds.), Interpreting the Psalms for Preaching and Teaching. St. Louis: Chalice, 2010, 107-18.

“Eliza Smith’s The Battles of the Bible: Biblical Interpretation in Service of a Christian Social Agenda in Nineteenth-Century Urban Scotland.” In Nancy Calvert-Koyzis and Heather Weir (eds.), Breaking Boundaries: Female Interpreters who Challenged the Status Quo. New York and London: T & T Clark/Continuum, 2010, 69-84.

“Conversations on the Bible with A Lady of Philadelphia.” In C. de Groot and M. A. Taylor (eds.), Recovering Nineteenth-Century Women Interpreters of the Bible. SBL Symposium Series 38; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007, 45-62.

“Diachrony and Exegesis: Reading Exodus 21:18-27.” In Joyce Rilett Wood, John E. Harvey, and Mark Leuchter (eds.), From Babel to Babylon: Essays on Biblical History and Literature in Honour of Brian Peckham. LHBOTS 445; London and New York: T & T Clark/Continuum, 2006, 48-55.

“Leviticus 24:15b-16: A Crux Revisited.” Bulletin for Biblical Research 16 (2006), 345-49.

“Fragmentation of Reader Focus in the Preamble to Battle in Judges 6:1-7:14.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 97 (2002), 65-86.

Presentations

Selected Presentations

“Speaking to Power: Grace Aguilar’s Reading of the Tale of Zelophehad’s Daughters.” Recovering Female Bible Interpreters Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, November, 2016.

“The Assembly, the People, the Uterus, and the Land: A Feminist and Postcolonial Deconstruction of the ‘Israelite’ Subject in Conceiving the Sacred Spaces of Deuteronomy 22:13-24:4.” Postcolonial Studies and Biblical Studies Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November, 2014.

“Asian American Ruminations between Judges and Exodus in the Shadow of Cultural Hegemony.” Asian Perspectives in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Religious Studies Section, Upper Mid-West Region of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, St. Paul, MN, April, 2014.

“‘Upon the Threshold’: Perceptions of (Asian-American) Identity between Judges 19 and Exodus 11-12.” Asian and Asian American Hermeneutics Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, November, 2013.

“‘An Eye for an Eye’: Making the Case for Equity in Lev 24:15-22 with a Glance towards Exod 21:12-36.” Hebrew Bible Section, Upper Mid-West Region of the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, St. Paul, MN, April, 2011.

“A Clergyman’s Daughter’s Battles for the Bible.” Recovering Female Bible Interpreters Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November, 2007.

“A Response to Marion Taylor and Heather Weir’s New Book Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth Century Women Writing on Women in Genesis (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2006).” Recovering Female Interpreters of the Bible Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Washington DC, November, 2006.

“Teaching the Bible in Nineteenth-Century America: The Example of a Catechistic Text from Philadelphia.” Doing Theology Together: Theological Networking in the Mid-West, a Conference of the Korea Institute for Advanced Theological Studies and the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, 26 February, 2006.

“Sarah Hall’s Conversations on the Bible: A Window on Nineteenth-Century Biblical Interpretation from the Fringes of Church and Academy.” Hebrew Bible Section, Canadian Society of Biblical Studies at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities (2005), University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, 29 May, 2005.

“Conversations with Sarah Ewing Hall: A Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia Woman Teaching the Bible.” Inaugural Lecture of the Religious Studies Symposium (Department of Religious Studies), Grace College, Winona Lake, IN, 17 February, 2005.

“The Syntactical Structure of Biblical Legal Texts.” Hebrew Bible Section, Canadian Society of Biblical Studies at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities (2000), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, 25 May, 2000.