Dr Deryn Guest BA, PhD (Birmingham)

Dr Deryn Guest

Department of Theology and Religion
Senior Lecturer in Biblical Hermeneutics

Contact details

ERI Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Deryn is interested in two main areas of research. First: contemporary biblical hermeneutics, specifically in the ways gender theory, queer theory and psychological can inform the interpretation of scriptural texts. Much of her work to date attends to lesbian, transgender and queer interpretations of scripture and she remains interested in ways in which masculinities and femininities are constructed in biblical texts, not necessary as binary options. However, Deryn is currently working on how psychological theory can be used to illuminate the relationship between God and Israel, specifically in Book of Judges, and is more widely interested in psychological readings of biblical texts. Second: thealogy (study of Goddess spiritualities). Deryn’s teaching in this area informs an additional research interest in how women can resist the cultural constructions of femininity and idealised body bodies. She investigates how far thealogical practice enables resistance by providing effective tools to re-align the psyche to alternative ways of Being. 


I ventured into academic life relatively late having spent some years as a minister of religion with the Salvation Army, working in Manchester. During the Salvation Army residential training I took up study for a Cambridge Diploma which introduced me to biblical study, church history and theology from academic perspectives. I was an engaged student and when my ministerial vocation unravelled I furthered this study by undertaking a BA Theology at Birmingham. Enthusiastic and encouraging tutors encouraged me to stay for a PhD which I completed in 1996. While studying for the PhD I worked full-time at Westhill Teacher Training College, delivering modules on Greek and Hebrew, Biblical studies, and Women and Christianity.  In 2002 I moved to the University of Birmingham where I am now Senior Lecturer in Biblical Hermeneutics.

In my work I have always been interested in how the experiences of being both LGBT+ and Christian or Jewish can be theorised and you can read more about this journal on my LGBT profile.


Deryn’s teaching includes modules on Queer Theology, and the study of women’s spirituality with particular reference to Thealogy and Goddess spirituality. She also participates in modules that are focussed on the contemporary interpretation of biblical texts.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Gender and sexuality studies with reference to the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Queer Theology and Queer Biblical Studies
  • Gay and lesbian theology
  • Thealogy, Goddess,  and women’s spirituality
  • Transgender discourses and Biblical Studies/Theology/Religion
  • Thealogy and postfeminism.


  • The application of contemporary theories of gender, queer and trans studies to biblical texts.
  • Psychology as a theoretical tool for exploring biblical texts
  • Goddess spirituality and ritual with particular reference to how this can enable resistance to postfeminist scripts concerning genders and bodies.

Other activities

  • Member of the Society for Old Testament Study


  • Teresa Hornsby and Deryn Guest Transgender, Intersex, and Biblical Interpretation SBL Press, 2016
  • ‘Judging Yhwh in the Book of Judges’ in Dana Fewell (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Narrative, OUP, 2016
  • Beyond Feminist Biblical Studies by Deryn Guest. Sheffield Phoenix Press 2012
  • 'From Gender Reversal to Genderfuck:  Reading Jael through a Lesbian Lens' in Teresa J Hornsby and Ken Stone (eds) Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship Atlanta, Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, pp. 9-43
  • ‘Liturgy and Loss: A Lesbian Perspective on using Psalms of Lament in Liturgy’ in Stephen Burns, Michael N Jagessar and Nicola Slee (eds.) The Edge of God: New Liturgical Texts and Contexts in Conversation London: Epworth Press.
  • ‘Encountering Beasts: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics on the Road’ Conclilium: International Journal for Theology  1 (2008) pp. 105-119.
  • 'Looking Lesbian at the Bathing Bathsheba' Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches, Vol. 16, No. 3. (2008), pp. 227-262
  • The Queer Bible Commentary  co-edited by Deryn Guest, Bob Goss, Mona West and Tom Bohache, SCM Press (2006)
  • When Deborah met Jael: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics, SCM Press (2005)
  • 'Judges' in JD Dunn & JW Rogerson (eds) Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, Eerdmans (2003)
  • 'Battling for the Bible: Academy, Church and the Gay Agenda', Theology and Sexuality (2001)
  • 'Hiding Behind the Naked Woman: A Recriminative Response' Biblical Interpretation VII/4 (1999)
  • 'Can Judges Survive Without Sources? Challenging the Consensus' Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 78 (1998)  


Biblical studies and biblical interpretation; lesbian and gay theology

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