Erin M. Runions

Nancy M. Lyon Professor of Biblical History and Literature; Professor of Religious Studies
  • Expertise


    Erin Runions’s research focuses on the Hebrew Bible and its reception history, with special attention to the influence of the Bible on contemporary culture and politics. In her work, she demonstrates the cumulative effect of biblical reception on sexuality, biopolitics, racialization, governance, war, torture and U.S. imperialism. Her publications include, The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty (2014); How Hysterical: Identification and Resistance in the Bible and Film (2003); Changing Subjects: Gender, Nation, Future in Micah (2001).

    Runions has also been an activist for many years, working on issues of police brutality and prison injustice, globalization, antiwar activism, feminist and queer organizing. She currently helps facilitate a writing workshop inside a women’s prison and is working on issues of environmental justice in the nearby city of Pomona. 

    Research Interests

    The intersections of biblical interpretation and political philosophies, with their multiple impacts on political subjectivity, gender, sexuality, U.S. national sovereignty, and biopolitics

    Areas of Expertise


    • Hebrew Bible
    • Cultural Studies
    • Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Bible
    • Bible and Film; Religion and Film
    • Apocalypse and Millennium
    • Bible and Politics


    • Poststructuralism
  • Work


    “Immobile Theologies, Carceral Affects: Interest and Debt in Faith-Based Prison Programs.” Affectivity and Divinity: Affect Theories and Theologies, ed. Karen Bray and Stephen A. Moore, 55-84. New York: Fordham University Press, 2020.

    “Sexual Politics and Surveillance: A Feminist, Metonymic, Spinozan Reading of Psalm 139.” In The Bible and Feminism: Remapping the Field, ed. Yvonne Sherwood, 296-314. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

    “The Bible as Biopolitics in Obergefell v. Hodges: Theopolitical Subtexts and the Economic Management of Democracy.” Political Theology 17.5 (2016): 465-85.

    Review essay, “Gehenna Trauma, Prison Hell.” A review essay of The Lives of Objects: Material Culture, Experience, and the Real in the History of Early Christianity by Maia Kotrosits. Religious Studies Review 47.3 (2021): 307-309.

    Review essay, “Divine Currency and Carceral Sacrificonomics in the Time of COVID-19.” A review essay of Divine Currency: The Theological Power of Money in the West, by Devin Singh. Critical Research on Religion 9.1 (2021): 98-102. 

    The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex and Sovereignty (Fordham University Press, 2014).

  • Education


    McGill University

    Bachelor of Arts
    University of British Columbia

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Queer Theory and the Bible
    • Senior Seminar in Religious Studies
    • Senior Seminar in Gender and Women’s Studies
    • Gender and Religion
    • Interpreting Religious Worlds
    • Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
    • The Bible Goes To Hollywood: Ideological Afterlives of Scripture in Film
    • Feminisms in Community
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Lilly Endowment, Wabash Center Grant for workshops for university and college faculty on pedagogies for civic engagement in the study of religion, 2008-2009 [with Reid Locklin, Forrest Clingerman, and Clark Chilson].

    Lilly Endowment, Wabash Center, summer research stipend, 2007.

    Lilly Endowment, Wabash Center Grant for participation in the Workshop on Teaching and Learning for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty at Colleges and Universities, 2006-2007.

    Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et l'aide à la recherche, Québec; Postdoctoral Fellowship held at Barnard College, 2000-02; Doctoral Fellowship, 1995-96.