Jerusha Matsen Neal
Assistant Professor of Homiletics
Duke Divinity School
Durham, NC 27708-0967
- B.A. (University of Chicago)
- M.Div. (Princeton Theological Seminary)
- Ph.D. (Princeton Theological Seminary)
Professor Neal’s scholarly work examines the action of the Spirit on the performative borders of body and culture. Her research interests focus on postcolonial preaching, preaching and gender, and the implications of Mariology for a Spirit-dependent homiletic.
Neal is an ordained American Baptist minister with broad ecumenical experience, most recently serving as a Global Ministries missionary to the Fiji Islands through the United Methodist Church. During her years in Fiji, she served as dean of studies at Davuilevu Theological College, the oldest theological seminary in that nation. Professor Neal’s teaching at Davuilevu integrated embodied exegetical approaches to biblical texts with an Oceanic emphasis on holistic education. Her reflections on biblical reception in the Fijian context are forthcoming in Bible in Folklore Worldwide (2017) and the International Journal of Homiletics. A former actress and playwright, she has also authored a collection of dramatic monologues, Blessed: Monologues for Mary (2012).
Neal has spent her ministry preaching in cross-cultural spaces and bridging denominational communities. God’s work in these in-between locations has convinced her that preaching matters now more than ever. Her forthcoming book, The Overshadowed Preacher (Wm. B. Eerdmans), asks the sticky question of what we mean when we say preaching is “anointed.” It challenges preachers to leave behind false shadows and be overshadowed by the Spirit of God.
Serving as keynote preacher for such events as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, the Young Preacher’s Festival and the Homegrown North Carolina Women’s Preaching Festival, Neal is committed to encouraging the voices of young preachers—and particularly the voices of women—in the risky proclamation of gospel hope.