Nancy Lee

Nancy C. Lee, Ph.D.

Professor; Distinguished Niebuhr Chair
Department of Religious Studies

Professor, Distinguished Niebuhr Chair, and Extraordinary Visiting Professor to Stellenbosch ‎University, South Africa‎

Dr. Lee is an internationally recognized biblical scholar, past Fulbright fellow, and was the Founding Director of the Niebuhr Center at Elmhurst College (2001-07) and its Callings for the Common Good program; she has co-led Elmhurst’s international service-learning course to South Africa since 2004. Dr. Lee is the author and editor of numerous books and essays. An article on the current crisis in Syria and ancient and contemporary ‘lament’ in that context appeared in the journal, Interpretation (2013). Her latest book is Hannah and Hannevi’ah: Hearing Women Biblical Prophets in a Women’s Lyrical Tradition, on the Hebraic artistry of women composers of biblical texts (Wipf & Stock, 2015). She is working on a biblical commentary on the books of Lamentations and Songs of Songs (forthcoming, Smyth & Helwys). Using oral traditional, literary, feminist, post-colonial and indigenous hermeneutical approaches, Dr. Lee specializes in Hebrew Bible (lament poetry, prophets, women in the Bible, biblical Hebrew), with additional work in indigenous cultures, religion and society, and social justice. She is the author of The Singers of Lamentations: Cities under Siege, from Ur to Jerusalem to Sarajevo (Brill, 2002), and collaborated with poets and singers worldwide for her book, Lyrics of Lament: from Tragedy to Transformation (Fortress, 2010), a survey of lament across cultures today and in traditional sacred texts. Dr. Lee also edited Between Despair and Lamentation, a war poetry anthology by Bosnian-Croat, Borislav Arapović. She was an invited contributor of essays to the following volumes: “Biblical Poetry” for the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts (2015); a second festschrift for her teacher, Walter Brueggemann, Imagination, Ideology, and Inspiration: Echoes of Brueggemann in a New Generation (Sheffield/Phoenix, 2015); two essays for the multilingual Encyclopaedia of Exegesis and Cultural History: Women and the Bible (SBL/Brill, 2013); Dictionary of the Bible and Western Culture: A Handbook for Students (Sheffield, 2012); Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible (2011); NRSV Discipleship Study Bible (Westminster, 2008); Uprooting and Planting (T&T Clark, 2007); Troubling Jeremiah (Sheffield, 1999); God in the Fray (Fortress, 1998). Her poem, “To Lament a Nation’s Lost Soul,” appeared in Prayers for the New Social Awakening (Westminster, 2008).

Dr. Lee was founding co-chair in 1999 of the scholarly group on Lamentations in the national Society of Biblical Literature and was the senior editor and contributed to this international group’s collected essays from ten years, Lamentations in Ancient and Contemporary Cultural Contexts (SBL, 2008). Dr. Lee has served on SBL steering committees and is a member of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. She has presented many scholarly papers over the last 25 years and has been invited to present internationally at conferences and universities, including for the ongoing colloquium of scholars on the Bible and Women, in Graz, Austria and at Philipps-Marburg University in Germany; at the international meeting of Hebrew professors in Memphis, TN; at the Croatian Slavistics Conference in Zadar; at the Croatian Writers Assocation in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and at the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary in Nigeria. Dr. Lee has been invited to teach classes internationally, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Divinity School in Pietermaritsburg, South Africa; at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; at the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia; at the Evanđeoski teološki fakultet (Seminary) in Osijek, Croatia; at the Jahangirabad Institute of Technology in India; and co-taught online exchanges with a colleague at the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary in Nigeria.

Dr. Lee received a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, did doctoral work at Emory University, a Th.M. at Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Ga., and was ordained to the ministry in 1987.

  • REL 200 Introduction to Biblical Studies
  • REL 211 Biblical Hebrew
  • REL 240 World Religions
  • REL 281 Serving Society: Faith Perspectives
  • REL 302 Biblical Prophets and the Current Context
  • REL 314 Feminist Biblical Interpretations
  • BID 355 Native Americans: Public Policy, Religion, and Justice‎
  • REL 371 South Africa: Service and Interdisciplinary Study (international course)‎
  • REL 492/292 Independent Study
  • REL 495 Honors Independent Research

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