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Diana Abernethy

Diana Abernethy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Religion


Phone Number: (334) 833-4572
Office and/or Address:  Flowers 323


  • Ph.D., Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Duke University
    • Certificate in Feminist Studies
    • Certificate in College Teaching
  • M.A., Religious Studies, Duke University
  • M.Div., magna cum laude, Duke Divinity School
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Chemistry (minor in Religion), Duke University


The Rev. Dr. Diana Abernethy joined the Huntingdon College faculty in 2018. Her dissertation entitled “Profiles of Deception: Lying and Falsehood in 1 Samuel” uses a series of character studies to explore the literary and theological function of deception in 1 Samuel. Her research and teaching interests include narrative analysis of the Old Testament, theological interpretation of the Old Testament, the books of Samuel, the book of Numbers, women in the Old Testament, feminist philology in the Old Testament, violence in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament in film.

She was ordained as an Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2017. With passions for campus ministry, local church Bible Studies, and community for persons of all abilities, her ministry experience includes serving as a board member for the Duke Wesley Fellowship, leading Disciple Bible Studies, long-term volunteering with Reality Ministries (Durham, NC), and serving as a committee member for Friends of L’Arche North Carolina.

Courses Taught

RLGN 101 Interpreting the Old Testament
RLGN 101H Honors Interpreting the Old Testament
RLGN 102 Interpreting the New Testament
RLGN 208 Torah
RLGN 313 Wisdom and Poetic Literature (Hebrew Scriptures)
RLGN 309 The Prophets (Hebrew Scriptures)
HEBR 101 Introduction to Biblical Hebrew
RLGN 401 Women in the Old Testament
RLGN 315 Race and the Old Testament
INDP 372 Travel Seminar: Prague & Vienna


Refereed Journal Article
2017 “Translation of Horse Colors in Zechariah 1:8; 6:2–3, 6 Based on Textual and Material Evidence,” Journal of Biblical Literature 136.3

Chapter in Edited Volume
2020 “The Heir of Saul: Jonathan’s Life and Death in Theological Perspective” in Characters and Characterization in 1 and 2 Samuel, edited by Keith Bodner and Benjamin J. M. Johnson, T & T Clark LHBOTS

Book Reviews

2022 Divine Violence in the Book of Samuel by Rachel Gilmour in Review of Biblical Literature
2019 The Female Ruse: Women’s Deception & Divine Sanction in the Hebrew Bible by Rachel E. Adelman in Review of Biblical Literature

Encyclopedia Entries
2015 “Rachel” and “Leah” in Routledge Enc. of Ancient Mediterranean Religions

Other Publications

2020 “Building an Old Testament Library: Psalms–Daniel” for Catalyst website
2016 “Deborah,” “Delilah,” and “Abishag,” in Common English Bible Women’s Bible

Conference Presentations

2022 “Catastrophe in Parasite as Immanent Apocalypse,” Bible and Film Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Denver, CO

2022 “David’s Deceptions: Reading Old Testament Narrative as Christian Scripture,” Wesleyan Theological Society Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference

2020 “Imagined Dynasties: Interpreting and Over-interpreting מַמְלָכָה in 1 Sam 13:13–14,” Biblical Lexicography Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference

2019 “Worthy of Love: The Omission of Biblical Quotations in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time,” International Conference on Religion & Film, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

2019 “Jonathan the Savvy Strategist: Re-Reading 1 Samuel 20:2 in the Context of Jonathan’s Characterization in 1 Samuel,” Emerging Voices in Samuel Studies Symposium, University of Wisconsin-Madison

2018 “Jonathan as a Capable but not Chosen Successor: How the Narrative Sequence of 1 Samuel 13–15 Reveals the Theological Foundation of Israel’s Monarchy,” Book of Samuel: Narrative, Theology and Interpretation Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Denver, CO

2018 “Thematic Power of Deception: An Experimentally Intertextual Reading of 1 Samuel 14, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” International Conference on Religion & Film, Toronto, Ontario

2016 “Translating Deception in 1 Samuel: A Case Study of Jonathan, Michal, and Abigail,” Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Section, Southeastern Regional Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, GA

2014 “Translation of the Colors of the Horses in Zechariah 1:8; 6:2–3; and 6:6 Based on Textual and Material Evidence,” Biblical Lexicography Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA

2013 “The Violence Continues: The Portrayal of Violence in Joshua 20 and 22,” John Wesley Fellows Christmas Conference, Durham, NC

Fellowships and Awards

2021 Dr. and Mrs. John N. Todd III Award for Excellence in Teaching, Huntingdon College

2015–2017 Dempster Graduate Fellowship, GBHEM of the United Methodist Church

2015–2016 Preparing Future Faculty Fellow, Duke University; Faculty Mentor: Margarita Suarez, Meredith College

2014, 2016 Duke Graduate School Conference Travel Grant

2014 Gurney Harris Kearns Summer Research Fellowship, Duke University

2010–2015 Graduate Program in Religion Doctoral Fellowship, Duke University

2010–2014 John Wesley Fellowship, A Foundation for Theological Education

2007–2010 Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship, Duke Divinity School

2006 William J. Griffith University Service Award, Duke University



Academics, Religion

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