Faculty Profile

Dr. Brandon R. Grafius

Assistant Professor of

Biblical Studies

bgrafius@etseminary.edu

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.

 

Dr. Grafius recently appeared on an episode of the Podcast “Imaginary Worlds”. The topic of the episode was cursed films, and he provided a perspective from the world of religion.

 

https://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org

 

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

Publications

 

Books:
 

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 (forthcoming).

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

Articles:

 

“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 [http://www.bookreviews.org] (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 [http://www.bookreviews.org] (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.

Classes

BL5001 Biblical Hebrew I


2018 Fall / Biblical Languages Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies This is the first quarter of a three-quarter sequence in the study of Biblical Hebrew. After mastering the alphabet, pronunciation, key grammatical concepts, and a beginning vocabulary, you will begin reading from the Hebrew Bible. At the end of the sequence, it is expected that you are able to read Biblical Hebrew narrative with relative ease, and be able to translate the more difficult portions of the Hebrew Bible with occasional reference to a standard lexicon. Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




BL5002 Biblical Hebrew II


2019 Winter / Biblical Languages Professor Brandon R. Grafius AssistantProfessor of Biblical Studies This is the second quarter of a three quarter sequence in the study of Biblical Hebrew. After mastering the alphabet, pronunciation, key grammatical concepts, and a beginning vocabulary, you will begin reading from the Hebrew Bible. At the end of the sequence, it is expected that you are able to read Biblical Hebrew narrative with relative ease, and be able to translate the more difficult portions of the Hebrew Bible with occasional reference to a standard lexicon. Certificate in Theological Studiees, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




BLH6000 Biblical Hebrew Exegesis


2019 Spring / Biblical Languages Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry
REGISTER




BS5000 Biblical Hermeneutics


2019 Fall / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies This course provides students with a general introduction to the academic study of the Bible, with a focus on exegetical practice and methodology. While students will be exposed to a wide range of interpretive principles, the emphasis will be on questions of responsible biblical interpretation and developing a solid exegetical foundation. This course is intended to prepare students for BS5100: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible and BS5200: Introduction to the New Testament, as well as other biblical studies courses. Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Divinity REGISTER




BS5100 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (OT)


2020 Summer, 2020 Winter / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies James Waddell Associate Professor of Biblical Studies This is a general introductory course to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The student will learn to use various methodologies to explore the diverse origins of the traditions of ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism and how these traditions came to be written in the Hebrew Bible. By making use of the results of current archaeological and comparative studies significant attention is placed on the surrounding cultures of the ancient Near East and their impact on the development of the Hebrew Bible. Special attention will be given to the problem of developing the student's research and writing skills using historical analysis and specific, detailed elements of biblical exegesis. The course includes lectures, discussions, and prepared slides. Course requirements include reading the Hebrew Bible and selections from texts of various ancient Near Eastern cultures. Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




BS7004 The Prophetic Tradition


2018 Winter / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies James Waddell Associate Professor of Biblical Studies This course is the second general course in Old Testament and is required at most of the cooperating seminaries . You will explore the central role that the prophetic movement played in ancient Israel with special attention to the defining role of the free-lance prophetic movement and its institutionalization in "prophetic schools" which facilitated the transition from charismatic figure to religious text. The central dynamic of the relationship of this prophetic material to subsequent Deuteronomic materials is given particular emphasis. You will devote significant attention to the rise of wisdom, cultic and other special historical interests that grew up around the prophetic movement and interacted with it. You will learn to write a carefully researched and argued exegetical paper on a particular text taken from this material snd given attention to its application to the problems of contemporary American life. Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




BS7005 Psalms


2020 Spring / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies In a cycle over five years, courses on major books of the Old Testament are offered. The importance of each book in defining the religious thought of the Old Testament is emphasized with particular reference to contemporary scholarship that lays bare the origins and development of each book within its religious and cultural setting. Particular attention is given to the theological implications of each book and the relevance to contemporary social issues. Each class helps you develop your skills in writing a detailed study of a passage from the book being examined. Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




BS7006 Book of Job


2019 Spring / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies REGISTER




PM7001 Final Project (Fall Term)


2019 Fall / Pastoral Ministry Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies This is the first of a two-part course required or completion of the MAPM program. This course is designed to help students develop the ability to recognize and evaluate a ministerial need, formulate an effective plan to address the need, meet specific contemporary needs by implementing the plan, and adequately evaluate the results of the execution of the plan. The entire three-quarter sequence of Field Education must be completed before enrolling for this first part of the Final Project. Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




PM7002 Final Project (Spring Term)


2017 Spring, 2019 Spring / Biblical Studies Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies This is the second of a two-part course required for completion of the MAPM. This course is designed to help students develop the ability to recognize and evaluate a ministerial need, formulate an effective plan to address the need, meet specific contemporary needs by implementing the plan, and adequately evaluate the results of the execution of the plan. Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry REGISTER




HIS6000 Church History I


2019 Fall / History Professor James Waddell Associate Professor of Biblical Studies Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies The Church History I and Church History II courses identify and explore the fundamental theological questions of the Christian tradition and examine the various ways in which the church evolved in response to those questions. Beginning with New Testament communities, it follows the growth and development of the church as an institution beginning with formative early centuries, the Reformation, up until our own day. It gives special attention to the ways in which the church responded to persecutions, heresies, schism, conflict, and the rise of contemporary denominationalism. It also evaluates the impact upon the church of major historical events. Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER




HIS6100 Church History II


2020 Winter / History Professor Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies James Waddell Associate Professor of Biblical Studies The Church History I and Church History II courses identify and explore the fundamental theological questions of the Christian tradition and examine the various ways in which the church evolved in response to those questions. Beginning with New Testament communities, it follows the growth and development of the church as an institution beginning with formative early centuries, the Reformation, up until our own day. It gives special attention to the ways in which the church responded to persecutions, heresies, schism, conflict, and the rise of contemporary denominationalism. It also evaluates the impact upon the church of major historical events. Certificate in Theological Studies, Master of Arts (Academic), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, Master of Divinity REGISTER





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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