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Dr. Brandon R. Grafius

Academic Dean and Chief Academic Officer (CAO)

Director of the Urban Ministry Diploma Program
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

Dr. Brandon Grafius grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and earned a BA in English from Michigan State University. He lived in California for six years, during which time he earned an MA in English from the University of California-Davis and worked as a freelance film reviewer. 


After moving back to Michigan, he completed the Master of Divinity program at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in 2010.  He completed his Ph.D. at Chicago Theological Seminary in the Hebrew Bible program, writing his dissertation on Numbers 25 and the problem of divinely sanctioned violence through the lens of contemporary horror theory.


His dissertation was published by Lexington Books/Fortress Academic in 2018.  His second monograph, Reading the Bible with Horror (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019) made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award in nonfiction, and has been nominated for the 2021 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. ​


He began teaching as an adjunct professor at ETS in 2010, and has taught courses in Hebrew, theory, hermeneutics, and the books of Jeremiah, Job, Isaiah, the Psalms, and Daniel. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies in 2016, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. He was named Academic Dean in 2022.


Dr. Grafius has been a frequent podcast guest and lecturer at colleges and universities around the country, and has written for such publications as Sojourners and The Christian Century.  Dr. Grafius’ most recent book is Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us, published by Broadleaf Books in 2022.

Currently, he lives in Mason with his wife and two children.


Lurking Under the Surface: Horror, Religion, and the Questions that Haunt Us. Minneapolis: Broadleaf Books, 2022.

The Witch: Devil’s Advocates. Leighton Buzzard, UK: Auteur Publishing/Liverpool University Press, 2021.

Reading the Bible with Horror. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2019.

Reading Phinehas, Watching Slashers: Numbers 25 and Horror Theory. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2018.

Edited Volumes

The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Monsters (co-editor with John W. Morehead). New York: Oxford University Press, 2023 (forthcoming).

Seeing the Apocalypse: Essays on Bird Box (co-editor with Gregory Stevenson). New York: Lehigh University Press, 2020.

Theology and Horror (co-editor with John W. Morehead). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020.


“Messianism in the Horror Film: Transcendence and Salvation in The Mist (2008) and Martyrs (2008).” In The T&T Clark Companion to Jesus in Film, ed. Richard T. Walsh. London: T&T Clark, 2020 (forthcoming).

“’They Never Believe Me’: Discourses of Belief in Hill House and #MeToo.” Pages 233-243 in The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation, ed. Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2020.

“Keeping the Other at Bay: The Witch, It Comes at Night, and Policing the Boundaries.” Pages 119-128 in Make America Hate Again: Trump-Era Horror and the Politics of Fear, Victoria McCollum, ed. New York: Routledge, 2019.

“Mama and Kristeva: Matricide in the Horror Film,” Post Script 36.1 (2017): 52-64.

“Text and Terror: Monster Theory and the Hebrew Bible,” Currents in Biblical Research 16.1 (2017), 34-49.

“Ideas of Maternity in Inside,” Horror Studies 6.1 (2015): 57-68.


The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation.  His essay is called, “’They Never Believe Me:’ Discourses of Belief in Hill House and #MeToo.”

Book Reviews

Dongshin Don Chang, Phinehas, the Sons of Zadok, and Melchizedek: Priestly Covenant in Late Second Temple Texts, Library of Second Temple Studies 90, Horizons in Biblical Theology 39.2 (2017): 241-244.

David J. A. Clines, Job 38-42, Word Biblical Commentary 18B, Restoration Quarterly 55 (2013).

John J. Collins, T. M. Lemos, and Saul M. Olyan, eds., Worship, Women, and War: Essays in Honor of Susan Niditch, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79.3 (2017): 534-536.

Cynthia Edelman, Dismembering the Whole: Composition and Purpose of Judges 19-21, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79.3 (2017): 501-04.

Anathea Portier-Young, Apocalypse Against Empire, Biblical Interpretation 20.3 (2012): 343-345.

Susanne Scholz and Pablo R. Andiñach, eds., La Violencia and the Hebrew Bible: The Politics and Histories of Biblical Hermeneutics on the American Continent, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2017).

Ada Taggar-Cohen and Roy E. Gane, eds, Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature: The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond, Resources for Biblical Study 82, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2017).

Marion Ann Taylor and Christiana de Groot, eds., Women of War, Women of Woe: Joshua and Judges through the Eyes of Nineteenth-Century Female Biblical Interpreters, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 79.3 (2017): 536-538.


Interests & Projects

Dr. Grafius’s research involves explorations of Violence in the Hebrew Bible, Wisdom Literature, and Horror Theory. He is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Monsters, and serves as co-editor for the monograph series “Horror and Scripture.” At ETS, Dr. Grafius teaches courses in Hebrew Bible, directs the Final Project in the MAPM program, and is the director of the Urban Ministry Diploma program.

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