Elaine James

Assistant Professor



Elaine James studies the literature of the Hebrew Bible, examining its significance in its ancient context and its legacy for the contemporary world. Her specialty is in biblical Hebrew poetry, especially the love poetry of the Song of Songs. She is interested in how artistic literary practices shape ethical and theological thought.

Since joining the faculty of St. Catherine University in 2013, Professor James has taught Old Testament at undergraduate and graduate levels. She also teaches Women and the Bible, Theological Questions, and several courses for the CORE curriculum. She serves as Vice-President of the Society of Biblical Literature's Upper-Midwestern Region.

She especially enjoys working collaboratively with students, both in the classroom and in her research.

New Publication

  • Hebrew Bible
  • Biblical Hebrew Poetry
  • Religion and Literature
  • Feminist and Ecological Hermeneutics
  • Reception History

Ph.D., Old Testament
Princeton Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity
Princeton Theological Seminary

Collaborative Undergraduate Research Award, St. Catherine University, 2016

Collaborative Undergraduate Research Award, St. Catherine University, 2014

Research and Scholarly Activities Award, St. Catherine University, 2014

Regional Scholar Award, Society of Biblical Literature, 2013

Landscapes of the Song of Songs: Poetry and Place (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Close Readings: Biblical Poetry and The Tasks of Interpretation (co-edited, with J. Blake Couey; Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

“Battle of the Sexes: Gender and the City in the Song of Songs,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, forthcoming

“A City Who Surrenders,” Vetus Testamentum, forthcoming

“The Plowers Plowed: The Violated Body in Psalm 129,” Biblical Interpretation, forthcoming

"Land and Community in the Book of Ruth,” Rooted and Grounded Eugene, Or.: Pickwick Press

“Poetic Process: Geography and Reiteration in the Song of Songs," Poetic Approaches to the Song of Songs. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns.