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Reading the Bible with Horror is a Unique Take on Theology

Strong Reviews Consider This Academic Research Book to be Essential Reading

Dr. Brandon Grafius offers an academic research text, Reading the Bible with Horror which explores the intersection of modern culture and religious theory. With attention to detail, Dr. Grafius was able to write in a manner that allows it to be used as a tool to explore community, fear, human experience, and chaos, while relating the past with today’s current issues.

With accolades coming from the literature world, Reading the Bible with Horror was both nominated for the Grawemeyer Award in Religion for 2021, and made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for nonfiction.

What Sleeps Beneath, a website that looks at the psychological concept behind horror, said of the book, "For those interested in religious horror, or even the supernatural part of the genre, I would consider Reading the Bible with Horror essential reading.” They then went on to say, "The intersection of a religious text and the horror genre is one that I felt I should have realized sooner, but Grafius clarified wonderfully: Both the Bible and horror explore the depths of fear, anxiety, and other elements of our psychological dark side."

While sifting through the biblical landscape, Dr. Grafius compares moments throughout the text in mannerisms that help the layman recognize similarities in concepts like ghosts, haunted houses, and community. The comparisons are not lost, as he draws you into each story while entangling the realities of anxiety, political chaos, fear and horror. It’s about the raw human experience. At the core, whether it dates back to the Hebrew Bible or moves forward to modern times, there is an intersecting rhythm that twists together like a strand of DNA.

The contrast of healing and chaos comes through with impactful meaning, allowing the reference material to be gripping as well as showcasing the patterns that exist within human nature. We recognize the painful truth of violence that plagues us through the years, and how cyclical life can be.

In seeing the similarities between the two ages in time, there is the ability to learn, the ability to examine outcomes, and the chance to understand that while some things change, some things always remain the same. Exploring our darker side is a fascinating journey of expression. Only by dissecting these darker elements can we truly find freedom to move beyond them, but still allows us to gape open-mouthed in understanding what needs to change.

Dr. Brandon Grafius is an associate professor at the Ecumencial Theological Seminary and director of the Urban Ministry Diploma Program in Detroit, Michigan. His background was spent between Michigan, California, and Illinois, as he finished his Master of Divinity program at Ecumenical Theological Seminary, then completed his Ph.D. at Chicago Theological Seminary in the Hebrew Bible program. He is currently the Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Ecumenical Theological Seminary.

The Ecumenical Theological Seminary was created in 1980 based on the needs of an urban theological center in Detroit, Michigan, while the roots of the center were grounded from 1957 for continuing education for clergy.

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