Susan A. Calef, BA, PhD
Susan A. Calef, BA, PhD

Susan A. Calef, BA, PhD

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences


  • New Testament & Christian origins
  • Gospels, emphasizing narrative approach
  • feminist heremeneutics
  • biblical spirituality

Academic Appointments


  • Theology


  • Assistant Professor

Teaching Activity

  • graduate course on Scriptural Foundations of Spirituality
  • required course for the WGS minor: Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies
  • undergraduate courses on Biblical Tradition (Sickness & Healing; Gender, Economy, & Violence)
  • undergraduate elective Bible, Spirituality, & American Public Life
  • upper-division undergraduate course on Women & the Bible

Publications and Presentations


  • "By Grit and Grace: Women and the Early Christian Frontier", in M.G. Lawler & G. S. Risch, Practical Theology: Perspectives from the Plains (2000), 78-103, 2018
  • "The Radicalism of Jesus the Prophet: Implications for Christian Family", Todd Salzman et al., eds., Marriage in the Catholic Tradition. Scripture, Tradition, and Experience (2004), 53-65, 2018
  • "The Shape of Family and Family Values: 'The Bible Tells Us So,' or Does It?", R. Simkins and G. Risch, Religion and the Family (2008), 223-246, 2018
  • "Women in the New Testament", in R. Miller, ed., Women and the Shaping of Catholicism (2008), 12-37, 2018
  • "Reading Guide to the Gospel of Mark," for the Catholic Study Bible, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, 2016, RG 428-442, 2015
  • "Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels," Anselm Companion to the Bible, ed., Corinne L. Carvalho. Winona, MN (2014), Anselm Academic Press, 309-319, 2014
  • "Taking Up the Cross: Suffering and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark," in Richard Miller, ed., Suffering and the Christian Life. Maryknoll, NY, Orbis Press, 49-79, 2013
  • “Introduction to the Gospels,” in Anselm Academic Study Bible. Winona, MN:, Anselm Academic Press, 1549-1554, 2013
  • "The One Sent: Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the Christ" (a reflection on artist Janet McKenzie's painting), Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie (, 102-106, 2009
  • Prayer in the New Testament, Prayer and the Catholic Tradition, in R. Miller, ed., Prayer in the Catholic Tradition, 18-40, 2007
  • Thecla 'tried and true' and the inversion of romance, Amy-Jill Levine, ed., A Feminist Companion to the New Testament Apocrypha, 163-185, 2006


  • Review of Embracing the Human Jesus: A Wisdom Path for Contemporary Christianity. By David Galston. Salem, OR: Polebridge, 2012., Horizons, 41, 397-399, 2014
  • " 'Prophet Margins' in the Economy of Salvation: Having, Being, and Doing in the Gospel of Luke", Journal of Religion & Society, Journal of Religion & Society, Supplment Series 10, 106-131, 2014
  • “Coming to a Parish Near You: John’s Good News", Liguorian, March 2011, 23-26, 2011
  • "Charting New Territory: Religion and "the Gender-Critical Turn", Journal of Religion & Society, 5, 1-5, 2009
  • "Kephale, coverings, and cosmology: the impenetrable "logic" of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16", Journal of Religion & Society, 5, 21-44, 2009
  • editor, Women, Gender, & Religion, Journal of Religion & Society, Journal of Religion and Society, Supplement Series 5, 2009
  • "Charting New Territory: Religion and 'the Gender-Critical Turn", Journal of Religion & Society, 1-5, 2009
  • review of G. Aichele & R. Walsh, eds., Those Outside: Noncanonical Readings of Canonical Gospels, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 69, 847-849, 2007
  • Coming To A Parish Near You: Luke's Good News, Liguorian, December 2016, 8-12, 2006
  • review of Bruce Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities, Theological Studies, 66, 930-931, 2005
  • "Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels and Acts of the Apostles", in C. Carvalho, ed., Anselm Companion to the New Testament (2014), 189-199


  • Dictionary entry: "Acts of Paul and Thecla", New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 5 (2009), 550, 2018
  • Dictionary entry: "Acts of Paul", New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Vol 4 (2009), 402-403, 2018
  • "The Real Mary Magdalene: Replacing Fiction With Fact", Liguorian, October 2004, 22-26, 2018
  • “The Real Mary Magdalene.” The New Freeman (St. John, New Brunswick, Canada), May 27, 2005 , 13-15, 2018
  • "The Mary Magdalene of The DaVinci Code: Fact or Fiction?", Creighton University Magazine , Summer 2006, 15-21
  • “The Mary Magdalene of The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?” The Leaven (Kansas City, Kansas)  , November 26, 2004 , 8-9

Editing and Reviews

  • review of Klaus Berger, Identity and Experience in the New Testament, Journal of Religion and Society 7 (2005). , 2018

  • review of Satoko Yamaguchi, Mary and Martha. Women in the World of Jesus, Theological Studies 64 (2003) , 658-659, 2018
  • review of John L. White, The Apostle of God. Paul and the Promise of Abraham., Theological Studies 62 (2001) , 610-611, 2018
  • review of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rhetoric and Ethic. The Politics of Biblical Studies. , The Journal of Religion 81 (2001) , 278-280, 2018
  • Review of Laurel K. Cobb, Mark and Empire. Feminist Reflections., Theological Studies, 76, no. 3, 634, 2015
  • review of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Democratizing Biblical Studies: Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space, Horizons, 370-371, 2010
  • review of Gregory W. Dawes (ed.), The Historical Jesus Quest. Landmarks in the Search for the Jesus of History., Journal of Religion and Society 3 (2001)
  • review of John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul, Theological Studies 62 (2001), 201-202
  • review of John J. Pilch, Healing in the New Testament. Insights from Medical and Mediterranean Anthropology , Theological Studies 61 (2000) , 788-789
  • review of Halvor Moxnes (ed.), Constructing Early Christian Families as Social Reality and Metaphor, The Journal of Religion 80 (2000) , 120-22
  • review of Margaret Y. MacDonald, Early Christian Women and Pagan Opinion: The Power of the Hysterical Woman, The Journal of Religion 78 (1998) , 621-22


  • review of Robert Jewett, Saint Paul Returns to the Movies: Triumph Over Shame. , Journal of Religion and Society 2 (2000)


  • "'So be it . . .': Gender, Family, and Sacrificial Theology Envisioned in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ." Religion and the Visual Symposium: Exploring the Visual Communication of the Sacred., 2015
  • "Hearts Burning Within: Scripture, Story, and Spirit-Life," fifteen lectures, Summer Festival of Learning, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Eastern American Province, Sag Harbor, NY, July 6-11, 2014., 2014
  • "Suffering in the Gospel of Mark: Reflections for the Lenten Journey," Campus Ministry Lenten Lunch Series, Creighton University, 2014
  • "The Bible in Public Discourse and Theological Reflection on War and Violence." Guest lecture in JPS/THL 588., 2013
  • "Discipleship for the Reign of God: Being Body of Christ in the Contemporary Context," Staff Retreat, St. Wenceslaus Parish, Omaha, NE., 2013
  • "The Passion in Scripture and Cinema: Teaching Critical Attention to Gender." College Theology Society, 2013
  • "Faith, Spirituality, Health, and Healing: The Research Findings." Guest lecture in WGS/SRP/COMM 477., 2013
  • Center for Health Policy and Ethics: "Day Away, Women Who Rock.", 2013
  • "Jesus as Prophet Mighty in Word and Deed: Reflections on Prophetic Ministry for the Contemporary Context," a series of lectures, Academy of Spiritual Formation, United Methodist Nebraska Conference, St. Benedict Spirituality Center, Schuyer, NE., 2013
  • "My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" Good Friday Service, Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE., 2013
  • "'Profit Margins' and the Lukan Economy of Salvation: An Analysis of Being, Having, and Doing in the Gospel of Luke." Kripke Center Symposium on the Bible, the Economy, and the Poor., 2013
  • "Early Christian Table Fellowship in Socio-Cultural Context." Guest lecture ion SRP 455., 2013
  • "Women Living Prayer: A Morning of Reflection," West Hills Church, Omaha, NE., 2012
  • "A Prophet Might in Word and Deed: The Lukan Jesus as Model for Prophetic Ministry," Theological Education Workshop, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Tarrytown, NY, September 28-29, 2012., 2012
  • "Discipleship for the Reign of God: Reflections on Being Body of Christ in Today's World," Ministerial Staff Retreat, St. Vincent DePaul and St. James Parishes, Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center, Waterloo, NE., 2011
  • "Taking Up Your Cross: Suffering and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark." Conference on the Church in the 21st Century, Kansas City, Missouri., 2011
  • "Women and the Word," lecture and table talk, Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center, Waterloo, NE., 2011
  • "Women Living Prayer: A Morning of Reflection," St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. James Parishes' Tenth-Annual Women's Day of Reflection, Omaha, NE., 2011
  • "The Genesis of 'authority' (exousia) on her head' (1 Corinthians 11:10). AAR-SBL-ASOR Rocky Mountains Great Plains Region Annual Conference, 2010., 2010

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Narrative Criticism of the Gospels; Feminist Hermeneutics; Bible in Public Discourse; Biblical Spirituality; Early Christian Social History: the Body in Christian Self-Definition;  The Legacy of Paul in the First – Third Centuries (Acts of Paul & Thecla)

Current Research Projects

  • the contributions of each canonical Gospel to an authentic Christian spirituality;
    male "authority" in biblical traditions

Grant Funding Received

  • Kripke Center for the Study of Religion and Society Grant

Awards and Honors

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Delta Zeta Sorority, 2014
  • Volunteer of the Year, Nebraska Humane Society , 2014
  • Consultant, 2014
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, 2010
  • Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Award, Creighton University , 2006