Amy Merrill Willis, PhD

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Amy Merrill Willis

434.544.8268

Carnegie 404

Degrees and Certifications

  • 2008 – PhD, Emory University, Hebrew Bible
  • 1994 – MDiv, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia
  • 1990 – BA, Erskine College, summa cum laude, Bible/Religion and English majors,
    Philosophy minor

Professional Experience

  • 2014-present: Associate Professor, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va.
  • 2010-2014: Assistant Professor, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va.
  • 2004-2008: Assistant Professor, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash.
  • 2000-2001: Adjunct Instructor, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio

Areas of Teaching and Research Competence

Primary Hebrew Bible: Literature, Methods, Criticism, and Historical Contexts; Early Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, Movements, Theology; Theological Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible; Feminist Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Secondary New Testament; Early Christian Apocalyptic Literature; Comparative Approaches to Biblical and ANE Myth (especially Canaanite Myth); The Dead Sea Scrolls; Theological Foundations; The Bible and Popular Culture; Religion: Comparative approaches to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate

  • Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
  • The Old Testament and Service-Learning
  • Seminar in Old Testament Research: Biblical Bodies – Women, Men, and God in the Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Jesus and Judaism
  • Seminar in New Testament Research: The Biography of Satan

Graduate

  • Old Testament
  • Women and the Bible
  • Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Apocalyptic Literature of the Old and New Testaments: Daniel, Mark, Revelation

Awards

  • Faculty Engagement Program (a grantee of the AAC&U), Gonzaga University, 2009-2010
  • Washington State Campus Compact Learn and Serve America Leadership Fellow, 2009
  • Gonzaga Service-Learning Junior Faculty of the Year, 2009
  • Nomination for Service-Learning Faculty of the Year, 2008
  • Emory University, Graduate Scholarship and Stipend, 1995-1999
  • Union Theological Seminary Faculty Fellowship for further Graduate Study, 1994
  • Mildred Sullivan Award, Erskine College, 1990
  • Adjunct faculty: Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio (Jan 2000- May 2001): Old Testament Theology; Theological Foundations
  • Teaching Associate: Candler Theological Seminary, Emory University, Ga. (Spring 1997): History of Israel and Judah with Dr. J. Maxwell Miller

Publications

Books, Book Chapters, Dictionary Articles

  • Dissonance and the Drama of Divine Sovereignty in the Book of Daniel. New York: T&T Clark, 2010.
  • “Heavenly Bodies: God and the Body in the Visions of Daniel.”  In Bodies, Embodiment, and Theology of the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Tamar Kamionkowski and Wonil Kim. New York: T&T Clark, 2010.
  • “Dead Sea Scrolls, Ethics in.” Pages 203-205 in the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Edited by Joel Green, Jacqueline Lapsley, Allen Verhey. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Press. 2011.
  • “Habakkuk.” Women’s Bible Commentary, 3rd Edition. Edited by Carol Newsom, Sharon Ringe, Jacqueline Lapsley. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press. 2012. Print.
  • “Myth and History in Daniel 8: The Apocalyptic Negotiation of Foreign Dominance.” Myth and Scripture: Contemporary Perspectives on Religion, Language, and Imagination . Edited by Dexter Callender. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. 2014.
  • “Counterimagination in Isaiah 65 and Daniel 12: A Feminist Biblical Theology of Hope.” In After Exegesis: Essays in Feminist Biblical Theology. Edited by Jacqueline Lapsley and Patricia K. Tull. Waco: Baylor Press. Forthcoming in Fall 2015.
  • “The Book of Daniel–Introduction and Translation.” In Early Jewish Literature: An Introduction and Reader. Edited by Archie Wright, Brad Embry, Ron Herms. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Press. Forthcoming in 2015 (?).

Short Web Essays and Commentaries

  • “Daniel 3:1-29.” Working Preacher.Org. Luther Seminary. April 5, 2015. Web.
  • “The Politics of the Divine Warrior (Habakkuk 1-3).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. November 30, 2014.
  • “Daniel.” Bible Odyssey. Org. Society of Biblical Literature. http://www.bibleodyssey.org/people/main-articles/daniel. Web.
  • “Between Moralism and Moral Vision: Rediscovering the Decalogue (Exodus 20:12-16).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. June 23, 2014. Web.
  • “The Politics of The Way: On the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19).” Political TheologyToday. Political Theology.Com. April 29, 2014. Web.
  • “Genesis 32: 22-31.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. August 3, 2014. Web.
  • “Genesis 25: 19-34.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. July 13, 2014. Web.
  • “The Politics of Matthew: A Power Hungry Politician and a Vulnerable God (Matt 2:13-23).” Political TheologyToday. Political Theology.Com. December 23, 2013. Web.
  • “The Politics of Poverty: The Great Chasm Between Us (Luke 16:19-31).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. September 28, 2013. Web.
  • “The Politics of Elijah: Struggling with Elijah’s Legacy (2Kings 2:1-2, 6-14).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. June 26, 2013. Web.
  • “Resurrection in Bits and Pieces (Luke 24:1-12 and 1 Corinthians 15:19-26).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. March 26, 2013. Web.
  • “The Politics of Transfiguration: Transformation’s Shadow Side (Luke 9:28-36).” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. February 6, 2013. Web.
  • “The Politics of the Magi: Epiphany as Disorientation.” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. January 1, 2013. Web.
  • “Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14: Exegetical Perspective.” Feasting on the Word. Westminster/John Knox Press. November 2012. Web.
  • “Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. November 25, 2012. Web.
  • “Daniel 12:1-3.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. November 18, 2012. Web.
  • “Esther and the Politics of Identity” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. September 21, 2012. Web.
  • “Psalm 93: Exegetical Perspective.” Feasting on the Word. Westminster/John Knox Press. November 2012. Web.
  • “Ruth and the Good Neighborhood.” Political Theology Today. Political Theology.Com. November 7, 2012. Web.
  • “Exodus 1:8-2:10.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. August 21, 2011. Web.
  • “Exodus 3:1-15.” Working Preacher. Luther Seminary. August 28, 2011. Web.

Book Reviews

  • Mother, Mourner, Midwife: Re-Imagining Divine Deliverance in the Old Testament (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2012), by Juliana Claassens. Interpretation (2014).
  • Understanding Wisdom Literature: Conflict and Dissonance in the Hebrew Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012) by David Penchansky. Interpretation 67 (2013): 302.
  • Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), by Joshua Berman. Theological Studies 71 (2010): 492-93.
  • Daughter Zion, Mother Zion (Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress, 2008), by Christl Maier. Interpretation 64 (2010): 98.
  • Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament (Louisville: W/JK, 2005) by Jacqueline Lapsley. Interpretation 61 (2007): 336.
  • Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament (Louisville: W/JK, 2005) by Jacqueline Lapsley. The Presbyterian Outlook, November 6, 2006.
  • Back to the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels (Louisville: W/JK, 2004) by Francis Taylor Gench.The Presbyterian Outlook, June 13, 2005.

Academic Presentations

  • “How to Be a Prophet: Models of Prophetic Discourse”—presented at Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA, 50th Annual Orr Forum (September, 2014).
  • “ ‘Once There Were Two Men’: The Prophetic Story and the Moral Imagination”—presented at Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA, 50th Annual Orr Forum (September, 2014).
  • “Narratives of the Self: the Bible, Modernity, and the Dystopian Future”—presented at Lynchburg College, Senior Symposium Guest Speaker (September, 2013).
  • “The Perils and Promises of Apocalyptic Preaching, Or, Watch Out for the Zombies!”—invited presentation for the Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation Program Unit at the Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2014).
  • “The Plans of God in Jeremiah and Daniel”—presented in The Book of Daniel Consultation at the Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2011).
  • “Creating a Thirst for Justice: Service-Learning in the Jesuit Liberal Arts Context,” in the Service-Learning and Biblical Studies Workshop at the Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2009).
  • “Hagar, Ruth, and the Good Neighborhood: Remembrances of the Outsider and the Moral Character of Community,”—presented in the Ethics and Biblical Interpretation Program Unit, Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2008).
  • “Emplotting Myth and History in Daniel 8,” – presented in the Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory Program Unit at the Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2006).
  • “Embodiment and the Problem of Divine Presence, Absence, and Power in the Book of Daniel,” in the Theology of the Hebrew Bible Section, Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2005).
  • “Persian Political Rhetoric and Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream: A Fresh Look at Daniel 2:31-45,”—presented in the Persian Period Program Unit at the Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2002).
  • Presider and Organizer, Special Topic Session on “The Bible and Popular Culture–Revelation and Contemporary Apocalyptic Discourse,” Pacific Northwest Regional AAR/SBL (April, 2009).
  • “Desire, Desperation, and Empowerment: The Eves of Desperate Housewives,”—presented at the Pacific Northwest Regional AAR/SBL (May, 2008).
  • Presider, Women and Religion Session 3 (May, 2008).
  • “Emplotting Myth and History in Daniel 8,” Bible, Myth, and Myth Theory Consultation, Society of Biblical Literature — National Congress (November, 2006).

Current Research

Under agreement with Oxford University Press to write comments on The Book of Daniel and Additions for the New Oxford Annotated Bible, 5th Edition (forthcoming in 2018). 7000 words.

Under contract to write comments on The Book of Daniel for Abingdon Press’ Women’s Bible (part of the Common English Bible project). 900 words.

Other projects in planning or in progress

Faith and Fiction—book project with Cheryl Coleman

“The Plans of God in Jeremiah and Daniel’s Historical Reviews.”

“Hagar, Ruth, and the Good Neighborhood: Remembrances of the Outsider and the Moral Character of Community.”

Research Languages

Biblical Hebrew, Koiné Greek, Biblical Aramaic, Akkadian (Old Babylonian), Ugaritic, Ethiopic, French, German

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Catholic Biblical Association