Formerly a professor of Hebrew Bible studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, TN, Dr. J. Renita Weems presently serves as the 2003-2005 Camille and William Cosby Visiting Professor in Humanities at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
Professor Weems has numerous academic books and articles to her credit including her 1995 publication, Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Bible were published by Fortress Press in 1995. She also contributed the commentary for the book of Song of Songs for the New Interpreter’s Bible Series published by Abingdon Press (1990) and, more recently, a commentary on the book of Jeremiah for the Global Bible Commentary, which was also published by Abingdon Press (2004). Over the years, her contribution to the field has included writing articles on various topics as varied as race and gender ideology in the book of Exodus, sexual violence imagery in the book of Hosea, to African American women readers and the Bible.
One of her non-academic books, Listening for God: A Believer’s Journey through Silence and Doubt (Simon & Schuster, 1999), won the Religious Communicators’ Council’s prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for “excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media.” Two of her recent books represent a return to her first love -- women’s stories in the Bible -- What Matters Most: Ten Lessons on Passion from the Book of Song of Solomon (2004) and Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom, and the Blessings of God (2002), both published by Walk Worthy/Time Warner Books.
Dr. Renita J. Weems has spoken at national religious, civic, and sorority gatherings, local churches, community-wide events, and on radio and television programs. A graduate of Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, Prof. Weems work as a scholar and a religious thinker has led to invitations for her to serve as a panelist for Bill Moyer’s 1995 PBS award-winning “Genesis Project,” as well as a number of the A&E channel’s religion and biography projects. She has been particularly active lately speaking to professional women’s organizations about women’s spiritual values and support systems, juggling family and work, work and spirituality and women finding a balance between their spiritual values and their professional aspirations. Another area of interest to her is women, addiction, and recovery. For several years, she was a featured speaker for the North Carolina State Substance Abuse Office “Addiction: Focus on Women” Conference held in Kanuga, NC. Highlights of her 2002 speaking schedule involves being invited to give a keynote speech on women and leadership at the Delta Sigma Theta annual meeting in Atlanta, GA in July 2002, as well as being invited to speak on women, spirituality, and healing for the Annual Women’s Council luncheon at the National Medical Association annual meeting in Honolulu in August, 2002.
Professor Weems online newsletter, “Something Within: For Women Seeking Balance and Wholeness” (www.somethingwithin.com) allows Dr. Weems to keep in touch with readers interested in exploring women’s values; women interested in conversations about faith, work and spirituality, friendship, aging, love, values, and inner wisdom, and other topics of interest to what Dr. Weems likes to call “thinking women of faith.” Through her business venture, “Leadership Within,” she conducts business seminars for high-achieving professional women interested in integrating their values and sense of vocation in their career environment.
Professor Weems is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
She resides in Nashville with her husband and their twelve year old daughter.