Amy Merrill Willis, PhD

Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Experience/Background

Dr. Amy Merrill Willis specializes in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament with special interests in Biblical theology, apocalyptic literature, ancient near eastern mythology, women and the Bible, and the Bible and social justice. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., Amy received her PhD in Hebrew Bible from Emory University, her M.Div. degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary, and her BA degree from Erskine College. She taught at Gonzaga University (Spokane, Wash.) and Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) before coming to Lynchburg College and beautiful central Virginia. Amy enjoys hearty conversations, watching movies, reading great literature, and eating dessert. She and husband Steve are parents to two children and a yellow Labrador.

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor: Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash. (May 2008- present) ; Instructor: Gonzaga University (2008-4): Introduction to the Old Testament (Undergraduate course); Service Learning Introduction to the Old Testament (Undergraduate Course); Apocalyptic Literature of the Old and New Testaments (Graduate/ Undergraduate Course); Old Testament (Graduate Course and Exegetical Section); Dead Sea Scrolls (Graduate/Undergraduate Course); Women and the Bible (Graduate/Undergraduate).

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.

Degrees and Certifications

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

Courses

  • Introduction to the Old Testament
  • The Old Testament and Service-Learning
  • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Women and the Bible
  • Apocalyptic Literature of the Old and New Testaments

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

  • 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." Pages 13-37 in Bodies, Embodiment, andTheology of the Hebrew Bible. Edited by S. Tamar Kamionkowski and Wonil Kim. New York: T&T Clark, 2010.
  • "Dead Sea Scrolls, Ethics in." in The Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Edited by Joel Green, Jacqueline Lapsley, Allen Verhey. New York: Baker Books (forthcoming).

Book Reviews

  • 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.

Presentations

  • "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).
  • Presider and organizer, Special Topic Session on The Bible and Popular Culture -- Revelation and Contemporary Apocalyptic Discourse, Pacific Northwest Regional AAR/SBL (April, 2009).
  • "Hagar, Ruth, and the Good Neighborhood: Remembrances of the Outsider and the Moral Character of Community," in the Ethics and Biblical Interpretation Consultation, Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2008).
  • "Desire, Desperation, and Empowerment: The Eves of Desperate Housewives," 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).
  • "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," Society of Biblical Literature National Congress (November, 2002).
  • "The Fate of Determinism in the Interpretation of Daniel" Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society (April, 2001).

Current Research

Articles in progress

  • "Daniel -- Introduction and Translation" -- an extended encyclopedia-length article plus original translation of several chapters of the Book of Daniel to be published in Early Jewish Literature: An Introduction and Reader, by Baylor Academic Press, eds. Archie Wright, Brad Embry.
  • "Creating a Thirst for Justice: Service-Learning in the Jesuit Liberal Arts Context."
  • "Hagar, Ruth, and the Good Neighborhood: Remembrances of the Outsider and the Moral Character of Community."
  • "The Eves of Desperate Housewives: The Bible, Popular Culture, and Feminist Interpretation."

Awards

  • Faculty Engagement Program participant (A grantee of the AAC&U), 2009-2010
  • Washington State Campus Compact Learn and Serve America Leadership Fellowship, 2009
  • Gonzaga Service-Learning Junior Faculty of the Year Award, 2009
  • Nomination for Service-Learning Faculty of the Year Award, 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

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • Catholic Biblical Association
Phone: 
434.544.8268
Email: 
merrillwillis.a@lynchburg.edu
Office: 
Carnegie 404