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Mary Dance Berry is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program in Religion, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament track with a Literary Theory minor. Her interests center on how communities interpret biblical texts and why and how that matters. Mary's dissertation examines ecological hermeneutics in three different reading communities—African biblical interpreters, Euro-American evangelical interpreters, and Euro-American mainline or non-evangelical interpreters—and considers how their reading approaches can inform an understanding of the prophetic texts in the Hebrew Bible. Her other interests include biblical poetry, feminist and postcolonial criticisms, questions of divine judgment and justice, and a growing curiosity about the bible and pop culture.

Mary is currently a recipient of the Julian Price Graduate Fellowship through Duke University and is a fellow in Duke's Preparing Future Faculty Program. She previously held a Graduate Fellowship through the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke (2021-2022) and participated in a Religions and Public Life working group, also through the Kenan institute (2022-2023). 

Mary has served as a preceptor for the introductory Old Testament course and an interdisciplinary course, Religion, Restrictions, and Violence, that includes both graduate and undergraduate students. She previously served as the Old Testament tutor for the Divinity School as well.

Mary earned her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2017 and her B.A. from Sweet Briar College in 2008. She is a certified candidate for ordination in the PC(USA).

Current Appointments & Affiliations