Dr. Diana Swancutt


Diana Swancutt is an award- and grant-winning author, teacher, and scholar who served as faculty in New Testament and Christian origins at Yale Divinity School for twelve years, from 2000-2012. She earned the doctorate in New Testament (with a certificate in Women’s Studies), summa cum laude, from Duke University in 2001, received the M.Div. from Duke University (summa cum laude, 1993), and the B.A. (religion, high honors) and B.S. (psychology) from the University of Florida in 1989. Currently, Professor Swancutt is a writer, speaker, professor and consultant on Bible, Religion, and American Culture and Politics. In her work, she continues to teach the history of emergent Christianity. But she also addresses the challenges of systemic poverty and economic injustice, as well as women's, LGBTQI, and racial and ethnic justice, especially as they relate to religion and the use of the Bible in modern US cultural movements and debates.

In the past, Dr. Swancutt served on the steering committee of the LBGT/Queer Hermeneutics Consultation of the Society of Biblical Literature, served as advisor to the LGBT group at Yale Divinity School, has taught various courses on gender and sexuality in a variety of settings, and was a co-founder of the Initiative for Religion and Politics at Yale, a progressive think tank that seeks to deepen academic discourse, strengthen public conversation, and encourage thoughtful activism on the intersections of religion and politics, including those of gender, race, and sexuality. Dr. Swancutt continues to serve on the editorial board of theJournal of Men, Masculinities, and Spirituality. While at Duke, she also served on the University Committee on LGB Matters, helped to found the Center for LGB Life, and was active in the fight to extend domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

Professor Swancutt’s historical research has focused on the intersections of ethnicity, imperialism, gender and desire in the identity formation of early Christians, particularly of Greeks living under Roman rule who the apostle Paul resocialized into Pauline Christian Judaism. Professor Swancutt’s has written several articles targeting the subjects of gender and desire: on Paul’s use of anti-Roman sexualized gender stereotypes to resist Roman self-definition of believers (“Sexy Stoics and the Rereading of Romans 1:18-2:16”; “‘Disease of Effemination’: The Charge of Effeminacy and the Verdict of God (Rom. 1:18-2:16)”); Roman elites’ creation of an imperial gender stereotype, the tribas or androgynized Greek wo/man, as an ideological bulwark against foreign influence in the Empire (“Still Before Sexuality: ‘Greek’ Androgyny, the Roman Imperial Politics of Masculinity, and the Roman Invention of the Tribas”); and the role of hegemonic modern assumptions about sex, sexuality, and scripture in the American culture war over homosexuality (“Sexing the Pauline Body of Christ: Scriptural ‘Sex’ in the Context of the American Christian Culture War”). Her current writing projects include studies of: modern Christian engagements with poverty and economic inequity; race and ethnicity in biblical studies; rhetoric and Roman imperialism’s effects on religious and ethnic identity in Pauline communities; and the gender ideologies at play in the Pauline conception of the Body of Christ. 

(This biographical statement provided by Diana Swancutt.)

Biography Date: June, 2006

Additional Resources


Author/editor | Feminism | Theology


“Dr. Diana Swancutt | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 22, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/diana-swancutt.


“Diana is the first openly gay person I ever had the pleasure of getting to know on a real level. I did so at Yale during the height of the Gene Robinson "scandal" as a relatively new Episcopalian trying to figure out just what the hell was happening with the Anglican communion. Diana helped me figure it out, and did so with the care and kindness of a loving parent. To this day--more than a decade on--I credit Diana as a greater contributor to my personal, intellectual and Christian growth than any other single figure in my life's history. Simply put, she is both a beautiful person, and a beautiful person. I am thankful to have spent several years under her care and advisement at YDS. My life is far richer because of it, and the aperture through which I view the world has been greatly expanded by the years I spent alongside her. Although time and distance have interceded, it is a rare week that I don't reference something I came to understand as a result of Diana's thoughtful and careful instruction. In a world where flighty airheaded princesses and vain, self obsessed celebrities serve as "role models" for young women, Diana is just the sort of lovely, strong, intelligent, engaged woman who, in contradistinction, I would love to see my own 5-year-old daughter emulate.
 – as remembered by Todd Johnson on November 13, 2013

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