Erin M. Runions

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


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

    How Hysterical: Identification and Resistance in the Bible and Film (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003)

    Changing Subjects: Gender, Nation, Future in Micah (Sheffield Academic Press, 2001)

    “Babel and the Fear of Same-Sex Marriage: Mapping Conservative Constellations.” Journal of Biblical Reception 1.1 (2014): 47-65.

    “Deconstructing Apocalyptic Literalist Allegory,” in The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature, ed. John J. Collins, 235-52. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

    “Empire’s Allure: Babylon and the Exception to Law in Two Conservative Discourses,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 77.3 (2009): 680-711.

    “From Disgust to Humor: Rahab’s Queer Affect.” Postscripts: A Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds 4.1 (2008), 41-69; reprinted in Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship, ed. T. Hornsby and K. Stone, 45-74. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2011.

  • 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.