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2021 Lenten Studies

March 14 & 21, 2021
Denise Dombkowski Hopkins, Ph.D.

Biblical and Contemporary Trauma: Intersections for Resilience

Ancient Israel experienced many types of losses that gave rise to profound grief, both individually and collectively. David Carr notes that “suffering, and the survival of it, was written into the Bible” for both Israel and the early Church. Over the last decade, scholars have increasingly turned to trauma studies as their interpretive tool for illuminating this suffering and survival for the sake of recovery and resilience in the midst of contemporary trauma. Our 4 sessions will consider what selected biblical texts reveal about trauma then and now:

  • Sunday, March 14: 9:45-10:45 a.m.
    • Session 1: Biblical Survival: An Overview of Response to Trauma
  • Sunday, March 14: 7:00-8:30 p.m.
    • Session 2: Ezekiel: Accessing Trauma through Visual Images
  • Sunday, March 21: 9:45-10:45 a.m.
    • Session 3: The Little Slave Girl in 2 Kings 5: Heroine or Trauma Victim?
  • Sunday, March 21: 7:00-8:30 p.m.
    • Session 4: Psalm Metaphors, Neurobiology, and Trauma

All Sessions will be on ZOOM.  Links will be posted in the Thursday Mail before each of the Sunday sessions.

About the Speaker:

A native of upstate NY, Dr. Dombkowski Hopkins has studied twice at the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies on the West Bank. She has received several grants and awards, among them: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program “Science for Seminaries Phase II” project with Paul Cho and Michael Koppel (2020); a Wabash Center Project Grant, sponsored by the Lilly Endowment (2013), an Association of Theological Schools Research Grant (2007), and a Theological Education Renewal Award from the Yale Center for Faith and Culture (2006), all with her colleague, Michael Koppel. She also received an Exemplary Teaching Award (2011-12) from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Her interests include the Psalms, feminist interpretation of the Bible, and the intersections between the Bible and pastoral care. She is the mother of two children, Brian and Ariel, a new grandmother, and an avid gardener, golfer, bicyclist, tennis player, and ballet lover.


  • Syracuse University, B.A., magna cum laude
  • Vanderbilt University, M.A., Ph.D. with honors
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Selected Publications

  • “Bridging the Divide between the Bible and Pastoral Theology in 2 Kgs 5” in Practical    Matters: A Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology, sponsored by the Lilly Foundation and Candler School of Theology. June 17, 2019.
  • Co-editor and author (with Michael Koppel), Bridging the Divide between Bible and Pastoral Theology (Cambridge Scholars, 2018)
  • Books II and III of the Psalms (Pss 42-89) in the Wisdom Commentary Series (Liturgical Press, 2016). Winner of the Catholic Press Association Best in the Academic Study of the Bible Award
  • “Blessing and Curse,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Bible and Theology (Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • “‘Let Them Be Like the Snail that Dissolves into Slime’: Pastoral and Theological 
    Perspectives on Divine and Human Violence in the Bible” (with Michael Koppel), 
    Journal of Pastoral Theology 23,2 (2013): 2.1-2.18
  • “Judith” in Women’s Bible Commentary, 3rd ed., (Westminster John Knox, 2012) 
  • Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices (co-authored with Michael Koppel, (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2010)
  • “1 Maccabees,” “2 Maccabees,” “3 Maccabees,” “4 Maccabees,” “Judith,” in Westminster Discipleship Study Bible, introduction and annotations (Westminster John Knox, 2008)
  • Journey through the Psalms (Chalice Press, 2002)