20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020
20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020
By Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker
Recently, we published “160+ Australian and New Zealander Women in Theology You Should Know About.” The post shows the quality of theological work being done by women in Australia and New Zealand. But 160+ female theologians can be overwhelming, so here are 20 Australian and New Zealander female theologians you should get to know in 2020.
We asked a random selection of 20 Australian and New Zealander female theologians to nominate 20 of their peers that people should read in 2020 (the only thing not random about the selection is that we sought an equal number of nominators from both countries). We also asked these women to include one recommended book/chapter/article for each female theologian they nominated. We then just included the 20 female theologians that got the most votes.
This blog post represents the 20 female theologians nominated by their peers.20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020 Click To Tweet
Here are the 20 female theologians, beginning with one recommended book/chapter/article for each. We strongly encourage you to get to know the work of these 20 female theologians in 2020.
Recommended book: An Ecological Feminist Reading of the Gospel of Luke: A Gestational Paradigm (Mellen, 2005).
Anne Elvey is a poet, editor, and researcher. Her PhD in Women’s Studies from Monash University received in 2000 was published as An Ecological Feminist Reading of the Gospel of Luke: A Gestational Paradigm (Mellen, 2005). Her most recent scholarly books are Ecological Aspects of War: Engagements with Biblical Texts (co-edited with Keith Dyer and Deborah Guess, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017); Ecological Aspects of War: Religious and Theological Perspectives from Australia (co-edited with Deborah Guess and Keith Dyer, ATF Press, 2016); Climate Change—Cultural Change: Religious Responses and Responsibilities (coedited with David Gormley O’Brien, Mosaic Press, 2013); Reinterpreting the Eucharist: Explorations in Feminist Theology and Ethics (coedited with Carol Hogan, Kim Power and Claire Renkin, Equinox, 2013); The Matter of the Text: Material Engagements between Luke and the Five Senses (Sheffield Phoenix, 2011). She was editor of Colloquium: The Australian and New Zealand Theological Review from May 2012 to May 2017 and president of the Fellowship for Biblical Studies in 2011. Her most recent poetry collections are On Arrivals of Breath (Poetica Christi, 2019) and White on White (Cordite, 2018). She is managing editor of Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics.
Anne Elvey’s research interests are in ecological poetics; ecological feminist hermeneutics; Gospel of Luke; the new materialism; postcolonial biblical interpretation; and political theology. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow, School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, and an Honorary Research Associate, Trinity College Theological School, University of Divinity, Melbourne. Anne’s current research is on an eco-aesthetic approach to the Magnificat and its cultural reception in Australia. https://anneelvey.wordpress.com/
Recommended book: The Great White Flood: Racism in Australia: Critically Appraised from an Aboriginal Historico-Theological Viewpoint (Oxford, 1997)
Anne Pattel-Gray is an Aboriginal woman who is a descendant of the Bidjara/ Kari Kari people in Queensland and she is a recognised Aboriginal leader within Australia – nationally and internationally. She has dedicated her life to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and she is a strong campaigner and lobbyist and deeply committed to seeking justice, equity and equal representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She is very proud of her Aboriginal culture and heritage and is a strong advocate for Aboriginal women, children, families and community regarding our Cultural and basic Human Rights. She has developed a leadership quality that promotes and builds a deeper sense of community and participation that brings a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and cultural identity and cohesion with the broader community that leads to beneficial partnerships, engagement and reconciliation.
Anne Pattel-Gray has an earned Ph.D. from the University of Sydney awarded in 1995 in the Studies of Religion with the major focus on Aboriginal Religion and Spirituality (she was the first Aboriginal person to graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney). And a Doctor of Divinity from India awarded in 1997 (the first Aboriginal person to be awarded the D.D.). Dr. Pattel-Gray has achieved many firsts in her prestigious life and she is known as a trail blazer and she has opened many doors for her people. She is a recognised scholar, theologian, activist and prolific writer with several publications – chapters, articles, edited works and authored books. Dr. Anne Pattel-Gray is deeply committed to the advancement of Aboriginal people and to reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. She has over thirty years in senior management as a CEO and she possesses a wealth of experience and she has developed enormous expertise.
Anne Pattel-Gray’s books include: The Great White Flood: Racism in Australia: Critically Appraised from an Aboriginal Historico-Theological Viewpoint (Oxford, 1997); Indigenous Australia: A Dialogue about the Word Becoming Flesh in Aboriginal Churches (WCC, 1997); Aboriginal Spirituality: Past, Present, Future (HarperCollins, 1996); Through Aboriginal Eyes the Cry from the Wilderness: The Cry from the Wilderness (WCC, 1991).
Recommended book chapter: “Hospitality: The Church as a Mother with an Open Heart”, in C. Ross and S. Bevans, eds, Mission on the Road to Emmaus: Constants, Context and Prophetic Dialogue (SCM, 2015).
Canon Dr Cathy Ross is from Aotearoa/New Zealand and is originally a French and German teacher. She has lived in Oxford for 14 years. She is Head of Pioneer Mission Leadership Training for the Church Mission Society (CMS) in Oxford, Associate Tutor at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and at Regent’s Park College at the University of Oxford. She is also Canon Theologian for Leicester Cathedral. She has previously lived and worked in Rwanda, Congo and Uganda with NZCMS. From 2008–2016 she was General Secretary for the International Association for Mission Studies.
Cathy Ross publishes in the area of mission and enjoys publishing collaboratively. Her books include Women with a Mission, Rediscovering Missionary Wives in Early New Zealand (Penguin, 2006), Mission in the 21st Century, Exploring the Five Marks of Global Mission (with Andrew Walls, DLT, 2008), Life-Widening Mission: Global Anglican Perspectives (Regnum, 2012), The Pioneer Gift (with Jonny Baker, SCM, 2014), Mission on the Road to Emmaus (with Steve Bevans, SCM, 2015), Pioneering Spirituality (with Jonny Baker, 2015), Missional Conversations: A Dialogue between Theory and Praxis in World Mission (with Colin Smith, SCM, 2018). She writes in the areas of hospitality, feminist theologies, World Christianity, and mission.
Dorothy A. Lee
Recommended book: Flesh and Glory: Symbol, Gender and Theology in the Gospel of John (Crossroad, 2002).
Dorothy A. Lee is a Scottish born Australian theologian living and working in Melbourne. She is the Stewart Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity College, University of Divinity. She is an Anglican priest and Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, as well as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her interests include New Testament symbolism and theology, particularly in the Gospels, as well as feminist theology, spirituality, and creation.
Dorothy A. Lee has published widely, contributing articles and essays in New Testament studies. Her books include Flesh and Glory: Symbol, Gender and Theology in the Gospel of John (New York: Crossroad, 2002) and The Gospels Speak: Addressing Life’s Questions (New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2017) Her current project is a monograph on women’s ministry and the New Testament with Baker Academic Press.
Elaine Mary Wainwright
Recommended book: Women Healing/Healing Women: the Genderisation of Healing in Early Christianity (Equinox, 2006).
Elaine Mary Wainwright is Professor Emerita of the University of Auckland where she established and was Head of the School of Theology/Department of Theology from 2003–2010 and again in 2014. She is a New Testament scholar of international renown, specializing in the study of the gospels, in particular the Gospel of Matthew. Professor Wainwright has had a long career in biblical studies, teaching and supervising research students, both at the University of Auckland and in the Brisbane College of Theology/Griffith University.
Elaine Mary Wainwright is currently writing the Matthew volume in the Wisdom Commentary series, a feminist commentary on each biblical book, being published by Collegeville Liturgical Press, and has recently published Habitat, Human and Holy: An Eco-Rhetorical Reading of the Gospel of Matthew in the Earth Bible Commentary Series (Sheffield Phoenix, 2016). Her publications include: The Bible in/and Popular Culture: A Creative Encounter (SBL, 2010); Women Healing/Healing Women: the Genderisation of Healing in Early Christianity (Equinox, 2006); and Shall We Look for Another: A Feminist Re-reading of the Matthean Jesus (Orbis, 1998).
Elizabeth (Liz) Boase
Recommended book: The Fulfilment of Doom?: The Dialogic Interaction between the Book of Lamentations and the Pre-Exilic/Early Exilic Prophetic Literature (T&T Clark, 2016).
Liz Boase is an Australian Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Scholar who completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies through Murdoch University in Perth. She has worked as a lecturer at University of Notre Dame (Fremantle), and at Uniting College for Leadership and Theology/Adelaide College of Divinity/Flinders University from 2009–2019. During that time, she was head of discipline for Flinders University and Academic Dean for Adelaide College of Divinity. In 2020 she commences as Dean of the School of Graduate Research at the University of Divinity in Melbourne.
Liz Boase’s research and publication areas include the books of Lamentations and Jeremiah, other prophetic literature, and Genesis. She focusses on a range of hermeneutical approaches, but has a special interest in trauma hermeneutics. Her publications include The Fulfilment of Doom?: The Dialogic Interaction between the Book of Lamentations and the Pre-Exilic/Early Exilic Prophetic Literature (T&T Clark, 2016), and Bible through the Lens of Trauma, co-edited with Christopher Frechette (SBL, 2016).
Recommended book: Toward a Theology of Migration: Social Justice and Religious Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Gemma Cruz is a former Fellow at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University in Chicago, USA. Her main area of research is migration theologies. She also does research in missiology, liberationist theologies, Asian theologies, and theologies on women and gender issues. Her research projects include “Faith on the Move: Christianity and the Intercultural Church” (ACURF), “Asian Catholicism and Globalization” (ACU-IRPS and Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs), and “Christian Mission and Multicultural Relations” (Australian Theology Research Foundation, Inc). She is also the Coordinator of the research project “Mission and Evangelisation in the Context of Migration: Asian Perspectives” which is funded by the Centro Internazionale di Animazione Missionaria (CIAM), a centre in the Vatican. Other upcoming research projects include “Women and Mission: The Feminine Genius” for the Oxford Handbook of Mission Studies and “Contemporary Theologies of Migration” for the book Christianity and the Law of Migration, which will be published by Cambridge University Press.
Gemma Cruz’s publications include Toward a Theology of Migration: Social Justice and Religious Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and An Intercultural Theology of Migration: Pilgrims in the Wilderness (Brill, 2010). Her book chapters include: “Brothers and Sisters Across Borders: Theological Perspectives on Catholic Transnationalism,” in Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism, eds. Dominic Pasura and Marta Bivand Erdal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 23–50; “Christianity and the Cause of Women in Asia,” in The Oxford Handbook on Christianity in Asia, eds. Felix Wilfred et. al. (Oxford University Press, 2014): 302–14; “A New Way of Being Christian: The Contribution of Migrants to the Church,” in Theology, Migration and World Christianity, eds. Peter Phan and Elaine Padilla (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013): 95–120; “Weapons of the Weak: Cultural Forms of Resistance and their Implications to Missionary Theology and Practice,” in Mission and Culture: The Louis J. Luzbetak Lectures, ed. Stephen Bevans (Orbis, 2012): 249–74; “God Before Us, God Among Us: Interreligious Dialogue from an Intercultural Feminist Perspective” in Schilebeeckx and Contemporary Theology, eds. Lieven Boeve, Frederiek Depoortere, and Stephan Van Erp (T & T Clark, 2010): 85–97.
Recommended book: Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology (Fortress, 2016).
Janice McRandal is a systematic theologian who specialises in feminist, queer, postcolonial, and public theologies. She is the Director of the newly formed Centre for Public Theology at Wesley Mission Queensland, while teaching and writing as a Research Fellow of Charles Sturt University.
Janice McRandal’s publications include Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Difference: A Contribution to Feminist Systematic Theology (Fortress, 2015), and Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology (Fortress, 2016).
Recommended book: Performing Habakkuk: Faithful Re-enactment in the Midst of Crisis (Cascade, 2012).
Jeanette Mathews is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies (Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew) at St Mark’s National Theological College, Canberra, a partner in the School of Theology of Charles Sturt University. She holds a PhD from Charles Sturt University, a Master of Arts (Theological Studies) from the University of Cape Town, a Bachelor of Divinity from the International Baptist Theological Seminary (Rüschlikon, Switzerland) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) from Lincoln Institute, Melbourne. Jeanette is an accredited minister in the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT, and was Associate Minister at Canberra Baptist Church from 1997 – 2007 where she was ordained in 1999. She has been teaching at St Mark’s since 2006.
Jeanette’s area of research is Biblical Performance Criticism of the Old Testament. This method is explained and illustrated in her article ‘Scripture as Performance’ in St Mark’s Review No. 249, 2019 (3). Her PhD thesis on the book of Habakkuk was published as a monograph entitled Performing Habakkuk: Faithful Re-enactment in the Midst of Crisis (Cascade, 2012), and a new monograph entitled Prophets as Performers: Biblical Performance Criticism and Prophetic Literature. Biblical Performance Criticism Series will be published in 2020. Her current research project will be a contribution to the Smyth and Helwys ‘Reading the Old Testament’ series, with a focus on the Megilloth (Festival Scrolls) and Biblical Performance Criticism. In addition to a number of essays in journals and edited books, Jeanette has edited two editions of a handbook for new theological students entitled God, by Degrees (Barton Books, 2014, 2019).
Jeanette Mathews is on the Steering Committee of the Performance Criticism of Biblical and Other Ancient Texts section of SBL, and a Senior Fellow of the Baptist Scholars International Roundtable.
Jenny Te Paa Daniel
Recommended book chapter: “Women’s Leadership Development for the Anglican Communion: Oh Lord, How Long Must We Wait . . . ?” in Anglican Woman on Church and Mission (co-edited by Jenny Te Paa Daniel, Judith Berling, and Kwok Pui-lan: Canterbury Press/Morehouse, 2012).
Jenny Te Paa Daniel was appointed to the role of Te Mareikura at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, in 2018. The term, meaning “woman visionary”, is a role providing guidance, leadership, and wisdom as the Centre journeys to partnership with Tangata Whenua. Jenny has had a long association with the Centre, and is both a Research Associate and a member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust. Jenny was formerly the Ahorangi/Principal at Te Rau Kahikatea/St John’s Theological College in Auckland. She has held many positions of leadership including Convenor of the International Anglican Peace and Justice Network for 17 years, a role which saw her travel widely advocating for peace and justice, often in relation to the issues of indigenous peoples.
Te Paa Daniel (Te Rarawa) is an internationally accomplished public theologian and professional consultant in higher education. She was the first Maori in the world to gain an academic degree in Theology (University of Auckland 1992). In 1995 she completed a master’s degree in Education also at the University of Auckland; and in 2001, writing on Race, Politics and Theological Education, she was awarded a Ph.D. degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
Te Paa Daniel was the first indigenous Anglican lay woman appointed to lead an Anglican theological college in the worldwide Anglican Communion. She served for three years as a lecturer and was then appointed Ahorangi or Dean of Te Rau Kahikatea at St. John’s Theological College in Auckland for 22 years from 1992 until 2013. During her time at St. John’s, both her scholarship and her academic leadership were internationally recognized. She was appointed to lead or participate in a number of international delegations and commissions by both the Anglican Communion and the World Council of Churches. Notable among these was her leadership of the international Anglican Peace and Justice network. This work saw her head delegations into parts of the world where peace continues to be globally yearned for, but where justice for all remains an elusive reality, such as Palestine/Israel, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo.
Te Paa Daniel has demonstrated an unceasing commitment to advancing women’s leadership, not only in the Church but in society generally. Her globally-based work mentoring young women, particularly those from the third world and indigenous communities, is well-recognized, and she was an NGO representative for five years to the annual working sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
In 2003 she was awarded the first of three honorary doctorates and, in 2010, she was recognized as Alumna of the Year by her Ph.D. alma mater, the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Later that year, Te Paa Daniel was awarded a Distinguished Alumna Award by the University of Auckland.
Te Paa Daniel has written and researched extensively on gender and social justice, theological education and race politics. She has taught students in New Zealand, Australia, throughout the South Pacific, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, and United States and in various parts of Asia. She is popularly sought after–nationally and internationally–as guest speaker, lecturer, facilitator, media commentator, preacher, and panellist, on a wide range of political and theological issues particularly those concerning social justice, indigenous rights, race politics, feminist politics, and theological education. Te Paa Daniel’s numerous publications include Anglican Woman on Church and Mission (co-editor with Judith Berling and Kwok Pui-lan (Canterbury Press/Morehouse, 2012).
Recommended book: Sacred Threads: Catholic Spirituality in Australia (University of New South Wales Press, 1996).
Katharine Massam joined the faculty of what is now Pilgrim Theological College within the University of Divinity in 2000 (as the first Catholic laywoman to be appointed to the ecumenical faculty of Pilgrim’s predecessor college, the United Faculty of Theology (UFT)). She is a historian working at the intersection of history and theology with a particular interest in the lived experience of faith and belief. Originally from Perth, Katharine completed doctoral work at the University of Western Australia (with Patricia Crawford and Tom Stannage), and taught at Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University (with Lenore Layman and Peggy Brock). Before moving to Melbourne, she held teaching and research positions at the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University. Her research explores intersections between Christian tradition and wider culture in postcolonial, settler societies, including Australia. She writes on the history of Christian spirituality (especially Benedictine traditions), cross-cultural encounter in the Australian mission context, the dynamics work and leisure, and is especially interested in methodologies that open-up neglected sources and experience (such as historical readings of space and place, devotional literature, art, music, and material culture).
Katharine Massam is author of 3 monographs: Sacred Threads: Catholic Spirituality in Australia (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1996), On High Ground: One Hundred Years at Aquinas College (Nedlands: UWA Press, 1999), and The Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2020), and some 30 other refereed articles and book chapters. Katharine was recognised as a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in 2017.
Lee Miena Skye
Recommended book: Kerygmatics of the New Millennium: A Study of Australian Aboriginal Women’s Christology (ISPCK, 2007)
Lee Miena Skye is a Womanist (black feminist) theologian, a Tasmanian Aboriginal, a Palawa, descended from the last “full blood” before the genocide. She is author of Kerygmatics of the New Millennium: A Study of Australian Aboriginal Women’s Christology (ISPCK, 2007). Her PhD from the University of Sydney was entitled Yiminga (Spirit) Calling: A Study of Australian Aboriginal Women’s Creation Theology.
Lee Miena Skye won the Australian Feminist Theology Foundation (AFTF) scholarship to Harvard Divinity School in 2005. She made an historical presentation at the Parliament of the World’s Religions Congress, at Montreal, in 2006 and won the Women’s Scholars in Religion and Theology (WSRT) scholarship to present at the University of Auckland in 2008. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Divinity School in 2009. Lee has published widely in her area in Australia and overseas.
Maeve Louise Heaney
Recommended book: Music as Theology: What Music Says about the Word (Princeton Theological Monograph Series, 2012).
Maeve Louise Heaney VDMF is a Catholic systematic theologian and Director of the Xavier Centre for Theological Formation at Australian Catholic University. She is Vice-President of the Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA) and Acting President of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology (INSeCT), also as representative of the Asia-Pacific region. She completed her Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology at the Instituto Teológico Verbum Dei, San Pablo Apóstol, in Madrid and her Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where she also taught for two years. She is a member of a Catholic Institute of consecrate life called Verbum Dei. A theologian, musician, and composer, Maeve Louise Heaney writes and researches on music, theology, spirituality, and the role of women in the Church. She was awarded a laureate of the European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT) Emerging Scholars Essay Competition, with an essay on “Music and Embodiment: What Music Tells Theology about the Word” in 2011; and was the Bannan Fellow at Santa Clara University in 2011–2012, and a Research Fellow at the Lonergan Institute at Boston College in 2019.
Maeve Louise Heaney’s publications include Music as Theology: What Music Says about the Word, Princeton Theological Monograph Series (2012); “Music and Theological Method: A Lonerganian Perspective”, Theological Studies (September 2016); “Music’s Multilayered Subversion of the Word”, Literature and Theology (2017) 31 (2): 200–14; “From the Particular to the Universal: Musings of a Woman Theologian” in Catholic Women Speak Network (ed.). Shared Visions: Women Responding to God’s Call (Paulist, 2018); and “New Styles” in Carlos Alberto Moreira Azevedo, Richard Rouse (ed.) Chiesa e compositori; Parole e Suoni (Aracne editrice, forthcoming). In 2014 she released her 4th CD: Break the Crystal Frame, with Willow Publishing, Australia, and is currently working on her next book and CD.
Recommended book: Dwelling in the Household of God: Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality (Liturgical Press, 2007).
Mary is Associate Professor of New Testament within the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, and is a Catholic nun. Her great love is the Gospel of John and she has published numerous books, essays, and articles on John for academics and non-professionals, some of which are listed on her home page, www.marycoloe.org.au. Her doctorate was, God Dwells with Us: Temple Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel (Liturgical Press, 2001), for which she was awarded a large Australian research grant, resulting in Dwelling in the Household of God: Johannine Ecclesiology and Spirituality (Liturgical Press, 2007).
Mary Coloe is completing a feminist commentary on John for the Wisdom Commentary Series, and expects this to be published in 2020. Mary was appointed for six years to an international dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Church/Disciples of Christ. Her work on John has also taken her into Jewish/Christian studies and interfaith dialogue. She is a member of the SNTS and has taught in Boston MA, Berkeley CA, Jerusalem, and Hong Kong. She laments that women in the Catholic Church are not permitted to be ministers of the Word, and Table in Eucharistic liturgies. This ban impoverishes the church and starves the people of God who hunger for the Word and Bread of life. In her article, “A Matter of Justice and Necessity” (Compass Theological Review, 2011), she wrote: “The liberating God of the Exodus, who hears the cries of all who are oppressed, laments with us and over us, and over our institution for the centuries of neglect, ignorance and prejudice that have been part of women’s experience within the Church that we too would like to call our home.”
Recommended book: The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History (NewSouth, 2018).
Meredith Lake is a historian of religion, society, and culture with a PhD from the University of Sydney. Her books include Faith in Action: HammondCare (UNSW Press, 2013), a study of one of Australia’s largest but least known Christian charities from the Great Depression to the 21st century, and The Bible in Australia: a cultural history (NewSouth, 2018). The Bible in Australia has won various awards, including: Winner, 2019 NSW Premier’s History Awards, Australian History prize; Winner, 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Australian History prize; Winner, 2019 CHASS Australia Prize for a Book; Winner, 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year.
Meredith Lake took up a Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarship at the University of Sydney, where she studied with some of the leading cultural historians in the country. She graduated with a PhD for research on religious narratives about land in colonial Australia. Since 2009, Meredith has worked in the education and not-for-profit sectors, telling true stories about religious faith and how it plays out in society and culture. Her innovative essay on Christianity and colonialism beat an international field to win the 2012 Bruce Mansfield Prize for best article in the Journal of Religious History. She’s also written for The Conversation, spoken on various radio shows, and appeared at the Sydney Writers Festival. She is an Honorary Associate of the Department of History, Sydney University.
Recommended publication: “Te Karaiti in Mihingare Spirituality: Women’s Perspectives.” PhD thesis, Auckland University, 2011.
Moeawa Callaghan (Ngati Kahungunu, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou) is a former lecturer in Practical Theology and the Kaiwhakahaere (Coordinator/Lecturer) of the Indigenous Programme of Laidlaw College. Moeawa’s teaches indigenous and majority world christologies and theologies and praxis methodologies. Moeawa is an experienced lecturer, programme co-ordinator, undergraduate and postgraduate academic supervisor, and administrator. She has a background in Practical Theology, Christian Thought, and Maori and Indigenous Theology, particularly as they relate to social issues affecting church and society. Moeawa has extensive experience as a mentor for Maori students in tertiary educational environments and is familiar with tikanga Maori educational issues. She has a PhD in Theology (University of Auckland 2011), Master of Arts (Hons.), (Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California 1999), Bachelor of Theology (University of Auckland 1997), Te Whare Wananga o Te Rau Kahikatea – Diploma Social Services 1993.
Most recently, Moeawa Callaghan is working for an iwi (tribal) Therapeutic Community for Maori women low offenders. She is currently an Aotearoa representative on the Anglican Roman Catholic Commission NZ and in 2019 was appointed to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission III.
Moeawa Callaghan’s publications include: “A reflection on Creation Stories in Maori Tradition”, First Peoples Theology Journal, September 2001, 79; “Theology in the Context of Aotearoa New Zealand.” MA thesis, Graduate Theological Union, 1999; “Look to the Past to See the Future.” First Peoples Theology Journal 4, no. 1 (2006): 104–109; “Ka Ngaro Te Reo: Maori Language under Seige in the Nineteenth Century [Book Review].” Stimulus: The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice 24, no. 2 (2017): 52; “Te Karaiti in Mihingare Spirituality: Women’s Perspectives.” PhD thesis, Auckland University, 2011; “Nineteenth-century Wairoa District Mission: Missionary/Maori ‘Entanglement,'” in, Te Rongopai 1814: ‘Takoto te pai!’ – Bicentenary reflections on Christian beginnings and developments in Aotearoa New Zealand, Allan Davidson, Stuart Lange, Peter Lineham, Adrienne Puckey, eds., (Auckland: The Anglican General Synod Office, 2014); “Indigenous Women and Christ in Pacific Contexts.” In Seachanges: Women Scholars of Religion and Theology, Volume 6, May (2013); “Mihingare Women’s Voices – Te Tairawhiti” in Our Place, Our Voice: Explorations in Contextual Theology, Women in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, Council for Anglican Women’s Studies (2013); “Look to the Past to See the Future.” First Peoples Theology Journal 4, no. 1 (2006): 104–9; “Culture and Theology.” In Culture: Yeah Right, edited by Jacky Sewell, 39–44. Auckland: Churches Youth Ministry Association, 2005; “Women and Theological Education: Our Stories.” Weaving 1, no. 3 (2005): 2–5; “Ecumenical and Interfaith Linkages.” In Into the Deep, edited by Erice Fairbrother, 49–64. Hastings: DEFT, 2004; “Reflection on Creation Stories in Maori Tradition.” First Peoples Theology Journal 2, no. 1 (2001): 77–83; Callaghan, M. and Harrison, J. “Singing a New Song”. Religious Education In Asia – challenges, perspectives, and visions for the 21st Century, edited by Edna Orteza, Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia, 2003; “A Theology of Creation from the Context of Aotearoa.” PTCA Bulletin 13, no. 1&2 (2000): 95–98.
Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon
Recommended book: Rejection by God: The History and Significance of the Rejection Motif in the Hebrew Bible (Peter Lang, 2001).
Feminist Biblical scholar, Church worker, and Lutheran theologian, Rev Dr Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon has several degrees – a BA from Mount Carmel College (Bangalore University, India), a Bachelor’s in Divinity (BD) from the United Theological College, Bangalore (Senate of Serampore College, [University]); a Th.M. and a PhD from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA, where she wrote a dissertation on the theme, Rejection by God: The History and Significance of the Rejection Motif in the Hebrew Bible (Peter Lang, 2001).
Prior to her current position as Associate Professor, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies at the Pilgrim Theological College. Parkville, Australia (University of Divinity), Melanchthon, born and raised in India, taught Hebrew Bible and Gender Studies at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Melanchthon has been active in several organizations and ecumenical bodies. She has contributed to various study projects of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and has participated and presented regionally and internationally in various programs related to the Bible, Hermeneutics, Lutheran Tradition and theology, gender, interfaith dialog, Mission, Development, and Theological Education initiated by the LWF, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Council of World Mission (CWM), and the Asian Women’s Resource Center for Culture and Theology (AWRC). In 2009, her alma mater, LSTC recognized her work by awarding her the Distinguished Alumna Award for Theological Education in the Global Church.
Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and sits on the SBL council. She was the co-editor of the International Voices in Biblical Studies (IVBS), a series of the SBL and is currently on the editorial boards of Semeia Studies and Horizons in Biblical Theology. She co-chairs the Steering Committee of the “Asian and Asian-American Hermeneutics Group,” of the SBL and the group on Bible and Postcolonial Studies of the ISBL. She is also the founding secretary and the current President of the Society of Asian Biblical Studies to foster biblical scholarship and research in Asia that takes seriously the Asian context—its cultures, religions, and methodologies. Her involvements are driven by the conviction that Scripture and its interpretations should meet people at the point of their needs and struggles. With strong commitments to context and liberation of the marginalized, who, in the Asian/Indian context, are the poor, women and Dalits, she has contributed toward developing Dalit and Indian Feminist hermeneutics and theologies and interpretation of Biblical texts drawing on insights from the social biographies of these communities, their perspectives and their lived experiences. Four major issues, namely, gender, religious plurality, caste/poverty, and the environment as they intersect with context have dominated her theological reflection, thinking and praxis.
Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon’s publications attest to her global profile among biblical scholars who engage in contextual biblical interpretations. She has authored many articles and book chapters, several of which are forthcoming: “Rape Matters: Dinah (Genesis 34) meets Asifa Bano” (2020); “Reading for Justice, Dignity and Life: Feminist Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible in South Asia,” (2020); “Intersections: Reading Caste, Gender and Violence in the Jephthah narrative” (2020); “Ecology in the Book of Isaiah (2020). Her published works include “Scripture and Scriptures in the Worship Space,” (2019); “Making Connections: Dinah, Luther and Indian Women” (2019); “Culture Tricks in Biblical Narrative” (2016); “Engaging Women’s Experiences in the Struggle for Justice, Dignity, and Humanity: Hebrew Bible Readings by South Asian Women,” (2014); “Protect me from those who are violent!”— Psalm 140: A Cry for Justice, A Song of Hope” (2014); “Reading Rizpah across Borders, Cultures, Belongings…all the way to India” (2014); “Toward Mapping Feminist Biblical Interpretations in Asia’ (2014); The Servant in the Book of Judith: Interpreting her Silence, Telling her Story,” (2010). Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon is currently engaged in two major writing projects: a feminist commentary on 1 Kings (Wisdom Commentary Series, Liturgical Press) and an earth centred reading of Joshua 1–11 (Bloomsbury).
Recommended book: Ekphrasis, Vision, and Persuasion in the Book of Revelation (Mohr Siebeck, 2015).
Robyn Whitaker is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Pilgrim Theological College, at the University of Divinity (Melbourne, Australia). Born in South Africa, Robyn was raised in Australia and the UK. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and has taught at Princeton Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her research focuses on the apocalyptic literature of the Bible, particularly Revelation, as well as visuality and visual exegesis of the Bible.
Robyn Whitaker’s first book, Ekphrasis, Vision, and Persuasion in the Book of Revelation, was published in 2015. In addition to her scholarly work, Robyn regularly writes popular articles on the Bible, gender, and sexuality, and co-hosts a podcast for preachers.
Victoria S. Balabanski
Recommended book: Colossians: An Earth Bible Commentary: An Eco-Stoic Reading (T & T Clark, 2020).
Vicky Balabanski, a New Testament scholar at Flinders University of South Australia, has a focus on ecological hermeneutics. She is the daughter of post-war displaced people from Orthodox and Catholic roots, and is ordained in the Uniting Church. Her doctoral work was done in Berne, Switzerland, and this work was published as Eschatology in the Making: Mark, Matthew and the Didache by Cambridge University Press (1997). In 1996, she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Her feminist rereading of the “Wise and Foolish Virgins (Mt. 25.1–13)” (2002) has been influential.
Vicky Balabanski is a writer and editor in the international Earth Bible Project. Her Earth Bible commentary – Colossians: An Eco-Stoic Reading – is published by Bloomsbury T & T Clark (2020). Vicky Balabanski has long-term connections with a remote Aboriginal community, and works together with Indigenous writers who are developing their own hermeneutical approaches to reading the Bible.
Recommended book chapter: “Australia’s Moral Compass and Societal Wellbeing”, in Wellbeing, Personal Wholeness and the Social Fabric: An Interdisciplinary Approach (ed. D. Costache, D. Cronshaw and J.R. Harrison, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press), 110–31.
Wendy Mayer is Professor and Associate Dean for Research at Australian Lutheran College. In 2019, Professor Wendy Mayer was elected Head of the Religion section of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She is trained as a classicist (in Greek and Latin language and literature) and gained her doctorate in Studies in Religion at University of Queensland in 1996. Since gaining her doctorate she has mostly been working with a team of researchers as they built the international reputation of the Centre for Early Christian Studies at Australian Catholic University. Her career has been research-focused, and fostering and mentoring a research culture that opens up and explores questions of relevance to the contemporary world is her passion. Her latest ARC (Australian Research Council) grant (with Prof. Bronwen Neil, Macquarie University; Prof. Pauline Allen, ACU; and A/Prof. Chris de Wet, University of South Africa) is titled: Memories of Utopia: Destroying the Past to Create the Future (300–650 CE).
Wendy Mayer’s publications include: (with Éric Fournier) ed., Heirs of Roman Persecution: Studies on a Christian and Para-Christian Discourse in Late Antiquity (Routledge, 2019); (with Chris L. de Wet) ed., Revisioning John Chrysostom: New Approaches, New Perspectives, Critical Approaches to Early Christianity 1 (Brill, 2019); (with Chris de Wet) Reconceiving Religious Conflict: New Views from the Formative Centuries of Christianity, Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World (Routledge, 2018); (with Geoffrey D. Dunn) ed., Christians Shaping Identity from the Roman Empire to Byzantium: Studies inspired by Pauline Allen, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 132 (Brill, 2015); (with Ian J. Elmer) ed., Men and Women in the Early Christian Centuries, Early Christian Studies 18 (St Pauls, 2014); (with Bronwen Neil) ed., Religious Conflict from Early Christianity to the Rise of Islam, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 121 (De Gruyter, 2013); (with Pauline Allen) The Churches of Syrian Antioch (300–638 CE), Late Antique History and Religion 5 (Peeters, 2012).
Plus 2 Recommended Websites by Australian Theologians
Marg Mowczko is an Australian theologian writing numerous online articles about the mutuality and equality of men and women in Christian marriage, theology, and ministry, plus Bible studies and articles about our new life in Jesus. Take a look around. It’s an extraordinary website exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism: www.margmowczko.com
Fixing Her Eyes is an Australian website written by and for Christian women, exploring theology, faith, and ministry: www.fixinghereyes.org
Further Reading and Resources
This post is part of a series we are running profiling female theologians from all over the globe — see our other articles in this series:
Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “20 Australian and New Zealander Female Theologians You Should Get to Know in 2020”
Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker, “160+ Australian and New Zealander Women in Theology You Should Know About”
Juliany González Nieves, “23 Latin American Women and USA Latinas in Theology and Religion You Should Know About”
Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Arab Female Theologians and Christian Leaders You Should Know About”
Jessie Giyou Kim and Graham Joseph Hill, “18 Asian Female Theologians You Should Know About (Plus Others For You To Explore)”
Graham Joseph Hill and Jessie Giyou Kim, “12 Women on Changing the World: A 12-Session Film Series on Transforming Society and Neighborhoods”
Juliany González Nieves, “Caribbean Christian Theology: A Bibliography”
About Graham Joseph Hill and Jen Barker
Graham Joseph Hill (PhD) is the Founding Director of TheGlobalChurchProject.com. He is Director of Research at Stirling Theological College (University of Divinity). Graham has written 6 books. His latest books are Global Church (IVP, 2016) and a co-authored book with Grace Ji-Sun Kim called Healing Our Broken Humanity (IVP, 2018). In 2020 his new book on biblical equality comes out called Holding Up Half the Sky: A Biblical Case for Women Leading and Teaching in the Church (Cascade, 2020). See all Graham’s books HERE.
Jen Barker founded the website fixinghereyes.org in 2015 as a platform for Australian Christian Women’s voices. She is a primary school teacher in Sydney and has also worked in marketing and communications.
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Don't forget to buy Graham Joseph Hill's books:
- Healing Our Broken Humanity
- Global Church
- Salt, Light, and a City (second edition)
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