Professor Johanna Stiebert

Professor Johanna Stiebert


I studied Biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Bible at the Universities of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand), Cambridge and Glasgow. I taught Hebrew language, Hebrew Bible and Judaism courses at St. Martin's College, Lancaster (1998-1999, now the University of Cumbria), the University of Botswana (1999-2002) and the University of Tennessee  (2003-2009) before joining Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds in September of 2009.

My academic interests include Biblical Hebrew philology and semantics of self-conscious emotions, ideological-critical and social-scientific readings of Hebrew Bible Prophets, gender- and queer-critical interpretation, and contemporary African-centred readings of Hebrew Bible texts. My most recent book is First-Degree Incest and the Hebrew Bible: Sex in the Family (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016). A second recent monograph is Fathers and Daughters in the Hebrew Bible (OUP, 2013). A short book on rape myths, the Bible and the #MeToo movement is currently in production (Routledge Focus). 

I was co-recipient, together with Professor of Biblical Studies Musa W. Dube (University of Botswana), of a British Academy funded International Partnerships grant (2011-14). The title of our project was 'Biblical Studies in Southern Africa and the UK in Dialogue: Trends and Challenges'. 

I was awarded the Humboldt Foundation's Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel research award and spent one year from August 2017 at the University of Bamberg. Please see:

I am co-lead for The Shiloh Project, investigating intersections between rape cultures, religion and the Bible. Together with co-directors of this Project Katie Edwards and Caroline Blyth, I edit a Routledge Focus series, 'Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible'. My inaugural series volume is about to be published.

Related to the Shiloh Project, I am Primary Investigator of an AHRC Research Network Grant (International Highlight Notice), entitled ‘Resisting Gender-Based Violence and Injustice Through Activism with Bible Texts and Images’ (start date: 1 February 2018), as well as Co-Investigator of four further grants. The first is a White Rose Collaboration Fund entitled ‘Using religious imagery in popular culture to explore and challenge everyday sexism, sexual harassment and abuse together with secondary school students’ (2018) and the second a Worldwide Universities Network Research Development Fund grant entitled ‘An Intersectional Exploration of Religion and Gender-Based Violence: A Case Study of Accra in Global Context’.

For the project websites, please see:


The third grant is funded by the AHRC and led by Dr. Katie Edwards (University of Sheffield). With collaborators from the Universities of Auckland (Dr. Caroline Blyth) and Alabama (Dr. Richard Newton) this project will undertake intersectional investigations of the role of religion and the Bible in the media and popular culture.

The fourth grant is funded by the British Academy and led by my colleague Dr. Adriaan van Klinken. This project supports a collaboration with Ugandan LGBT refugees in Kenya and uses life stories alongside biblical narratives as forms of empowering and activist expression.

Research Supervision

I welcome applications from students wishing to conduct research on Biblical Hebrew philology and/or literature of the Hebrew Bible and feminist, social-scientific and ideological criticism. I am an active member of SIIBS (Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield) and occasionally co-supervise with academic staff at the University of Sheffield.


Books (authored)

Rape Myths, the Bible and #MeToo. London: Routledge Focus, 2019 (forthcoming).

First-Degree Incest and the Hebrew Bible: Sex in the Family. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016.

Fathers and Daughters in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

The Exile and the Prophet's Wife: Historic Events and Marginal Perspectives. Interfaces 
Series. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2005.

The Construction of Shame in the Hebrew Bible: The Prophetic Contribution (JSOT 
Supplement Series 346). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002.

Books (edited)

Stiebert, Johanna and Musa W. Dube (eds), The Bible, Centres and Margins: Dialogues Between Postcolonial African and British Biblical Scholars. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark (publication date: 12 July 2018).

Refereed articles

‘Divinely Sanctioned Violence Against Women: Biblical Marriage and the Example of the Sotah of Numbers 5.’ The Bible and Critical Theory 15/2. 2019 (forthcoming).

'The Wife of Potiphar, Sexual Harassment, and False Rape Allegation: Genesis 39 in Select Social Contexts of the Past and Present.' Bible in Africa Studies 22 (The Bible and Gender Troubles in Africa) 2019: 73-114.

'Denying Rape Culture: A Response to Luke Gittos.' Women's Studies Journal 32 1/2 (Dec 2018): 62-71. ISSN: 1173-6615.

'The Voice of God in the Hebrew Bible.' Journal for Religion, Film and Media 2/1 (2016): 23-32.

'Man and New Man: David's Masculinity in Film.' Journal of the Bible and Its Reception 2/2 (2015): 197-218.

'The Eve-ing of Bathsheba in Twentieth Century Film.' The Bible and Critical Theory 10/2: 22-31.

'The Peoples' Bible, Imbokodo and the King's Mother's Teaching in Proverbs 31.' Biblical Interpretation 20/3 (2012): 223-258.

'Human Conception in Antiquity: The Hebrew Bible in Context.' Theology & Sexuality 16/3 (2010): 209-227.

'The African Holocaust: What Is In a Name?' Missionalia 37/2 (2009): 192-209.

'Shame and the Body in Psalms and Lamentations of the Hebrew Bible and in Thanksgiving Hymns from Qumran.'Old Testament Essays 20/3 (2007): 798-829.

'The Inculcation of Social Behaviour in Proverbs.' Old Testament Essays 17/2 (2004): 282-293.

'Human Suffering and Divine Abuse of Power in Lamentations: Reflections on Forgiveness in the Context of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Process.' Pacifica16 (2003): 195-215.

'Riches in Isaiah and Ezekiel: An Example of Prophetic Inversion.' Concilium 2002/1 (The Many Voices of the Bible), 33-40 (English edition).

'The Woman Metaphor of Ezekiel 16 and 23: A Victim of Violence, or a Symbol of Subversion?' Old Testament Essays 15/1 (2002): 200-08.

'Does the Hebrew Bible Have Anything to Say About Homosexuality?' (co-authored with Jerome T. Walsh) Old Testament Essays 14/1 (2001): 119-52.

'Does the Hebrew Bible Have Anything to Tell Us About HIV/AIDS?' 
Missionalia 29/2 (2001): 174-85. (Republished in revised form in HIV/AIDS and the 
Curriculum: Methods of Integrating HIV/AIDS in Theological Programmes, ed. by Musa W. Dube, Geneva: World Council of Churches Publications, 2003, 24-34.)

'Homosexuality in Botswana and in the Hebrew Bible.' All Africa Journal of Theology 1/1(Africa Challenge) (2001): 21-29. (Republished in revised form in Verbum et Ecclesia 23/1 (2002): 196-208.)

'Shame and Prophecy: Approaches Past and Present.' Biblical Interpretation 8/3 (2000): 255-75.

Contributions to edited volumes

‘Brother, Sister, Rape: Hebrew Bible and Popular Culture,’ in Blyth, Caroline, Emily Colgan and Katie Edwards (eds), Rape Culture, Gender Violence and Religion: Biblical Perspectives (Religion and Radicalism). New York: Palgrave Macmillan (2018): 35-50.

'Within and Without Purity, Danger, Honour, and Shame: Anthropological Approaches in Feminist Hebrew Bible Studies,' in Scholz, Susanne (ed.), Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Retrospect (volume 3, Methods). Sheffield: Phoenix (2016): 111-135.

'Social-Scientific Approaches,' in O'Brien, Julia M. (ed. in chief), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014): 411-420. 

'Ezekiel at the Twin Towers,' in Chalcraft, David J., Frauke Uhlenbruch and Rebecca S. Watson (eds.), Methods, Theories, Imagination: Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies. Sheffield: Phoenix (2014): 172-183. 

'The Bible: The History of Interpretation and Methods,' in Amanze, James N., Fidelis Nkomazana and Obed N. Kealotswe (eds.), Biblical Studies, Theology, Religion and Philosophy: An Introduction for African Universities. Eldoret, Kenya: Zapf Chancery, 2010, 11-36.

'Diagnosing Ezekiel' (178-79), 'Ezekiel's Inaugural Vision' (179-80), 'Lamentations: Reading Poetry of Distress in Distressing Times' (228-29), three separate contributions in Roncace, Mark and Patrick Gray (eds.), Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction. SBL Resources for Biblical Study. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2005.

'Women's Sexuality and Stigma in Genesis and the Prophets,' in Dube, Musa W. and M. Kanyoro (eds.), Grant Me Justice! HIV/AIDS and Gender Readings of the Bible
New York: Orbis and Natal: Cluster, 2004, 81-97.

'The Maligned Patriarch: Prophetic Ideology and the "Bad Press" of Esau,' in Hunter, Alastair G. and Philip R. Davies (eds.), Sense and Sensitivity: Essays on Reading the Bible in Memory of Robert Carroll (JSOT Supplement Series 348), 33-48. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2004.

'Material "Supplementary" to Biblical Literature' & 'What is the Relationship
of The Qumran Community to the Essenes?,' in Barclay, John M. G. (ed), Frequently Asked Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 15-20 and 34-39. Glasgow: Trinity St Mungo Press,

Non-refereed Articles

'Sex, Rape, and Social History - The Case of the Bible'. Available online: (27 April, 2017).

'Incest in the Hebrew Bible'. Available online: (November 2016).

Stiebert, Johanna and Katie Edwards, 'The Greatest Taboo? The Surprising Truth of What the Bible Says About Incest'. Available online:
(9 May 2016).

Stiebert, Johanna and Jerome T. Walsh, 'Chaos Cries For A King (Judges 19-21)', The Bible Today  39/4, 210-15.


For a podcast on Tamar (2 Samuel 13), where Professor Stiebert is interviewed for the Bible Society by Rosie Dawson, please see Episode 5:



  • Deputy Head of School

Research interests

Research interests

  • Emotion terminology of the Hebrew Bible

  • Ideological sub-texts of prophetic Hebrew Bible literature

  • Reading Hebrew Bible texts in the light of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and of rape cultures

  • Social-scientific criticism of the Hebrew Bible

  • Family relationships in the Hebrew Bible

  • The Hebrew Bible and human rights

  • Gender criticism and queer criticism of the Hebrew Bible

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • FHEA
  • PhD
  • MPhil
  • BA (Hons)
  • ATCL (Speech and Drama)

Professional memberships

  • SBL
  • AASR
  • Shiloh Project
  • IAHR

Student education

I teach Judaism, introduction to the Bible and ideological-critical readings of the Bible.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Religion and Public Life
  • Theology and Religious Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>