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Alice Ogden Bellis (She/her)

Professor of Hebrew Bible

  • Biblical Studies, Divinity
  • School of Divinity


Alice Ogden Bellis was born and raised in North Carolina. She attended Mount Holyoke College and graduated from Duke University with a BA in Religion magna cum laude, from Howard University with an MDiv cum laude, from Catholic University with an MA and PhD in Semitic languages, and most recently from Howard University with an MBA. An ordained minister and Professor of Hebrew Bible at Howard University School of Divinity for over 25 years, before joining the faculty at HUSD, she was first an assistant, then associate, and twice acting head of staff at Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA.  Dr. Bellis has written numerous books and articles, including Proverbs (Wisdom Commentary Series; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press), which won the 2019 Catholic Publishers Association Book of the Year Award. Her most recent book is Africa and the Bible: Corrective Lenses (Eugene, OR: Wifk and Stoc), an edited volume of the writings of Gene Rice, emeritus professor of Old Testament at Howard University School of Divinity. She has also just published an edited volume, How Plausible Is a Kushite Role in Sennacherib’s Retreat? A Conversation with Henry Aubin’s The Rescue of Jerusalem (JHS 19:7 (2019), which will be coming out in hard copy this spring (Piscataway Township, NJ: Gorgias Press). Finally, she is a co-editor of the catalog of the Andre Tweed Collection of Ethiopic Manuscripts. See full publication list below.Before coming to Howard, she served as a pastor for fifteen years and still is actively involved in a church community; she preaches on a regular basis in the DMV area.Nana (as she is known to her grandchildren) has two married adult daughters, Margaret Douglass English and Elizabeth Ogden Bellis Wolfe, both attorneys, three grand-daughters Azalea and Vivian Bellis Wolfe and Clara English, and one grandson, Henry Bellis Wolfe. She is married to Dr. Jeff Nicoll, a physicist, who is also an alumnus of HUSD (MA - RS, 2018). They live in Washington, DC.     Alice Bellis enjoys swimming on Washington, DC's Water Wizards Swim Team, knitting, gardening, and working on her house. Publications Melaku Terafe, Stephen Delamarter, Jeremy Brown, and Alice Ogden Bellis, Catalogue of the Ethiopic Imaging Project, Vol 15: Catalogue of the André Tweed Collection at Howard University School of Divinity, Washington, DC (Ethiopic Manuscripts, Texts, and Studies; forthcoming).Alice Ogden Bellis, ed., How Plausible Is a Kushite Role in Sennacherib’s Retreat? A Conversation with Henry Aubin’s The Rescue of Jerusalem, JHS 19:7 (2019) and Pistacaway Township, NJ: Gorgias, forthcoming.Africa and the Bible: Corrective LensesCritical Essays by Gene Rice (my former senior colleague), edited by Alice Ogden Bellis (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2019).Proverbs (Wisdom Commentary Series 23; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2018), Winner of Book of the Year Award by the Catholic Publishers Association.Science, Scripture, and Homosexuality. Co-authored with Terry Hufford, Biology Professor Emeritus at George Washington University (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2001, reissued Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011).Helpmates, Harlots, and Heroes: Women’s Stories in the Hebrew Bible (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, l994); 2nd revised edition, 2007.)The Priests in the Prophets: The Portrayal of Priests, Prophets, and Other Religious Specialists in the Latter Prophets (JSOTSup408; London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2004), co-edited with Lester L. Grabbe.Jews and Christians and the Theology of Hebrew Scriptures (co-edited with Joel Kaminsky, Hebrew Bible Professor at Smith College, SBL Symposium Series; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, November 2000).Doing the Twist to Amazing Grace (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1998).Resistance and Restoration: The Message of the Prophet Jeremiah, l998-99 Bible Study for  Presbyterian Women (Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing House, 1998).Way Back. Edited autobiography of Elizabeth Singletary (Hemingway, SC: Three Rivers Historical Society, 1998).Many Voices: Multicultural Responses to the Minor Prophets, edited by Alice Ogden Bellis             (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995).The Structure and Composition of Jeremiah 50:2-5l:58 (Lewiston, NY: Mellen Biblical Press, 1995).                  

Education & Expertise


Hebrew Bible

Howard University School of Divinity

MA and PhD

Semitic Languages (Major in Northwest Semitic Languages)
The Catholic University of America Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages


Howard University School of Business



Hebrew Language II

The second semester of a course designed to introduce students to the basics of Classical/Biblical Hebrew. In this semester students use Logos Bible Software to read the stories of Ruth and Jonah and the beginning chapters of Genesis, consolidating their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and learning a little about Hebrew syntax. They pronounce the material, becoming more fluent in pronunciation, as well as becoming better at comprehending the written text.

Hollywood Hermeneutics: Reel Religion

In this online course students watch two films each week and read chapters from a textbook on Film and Religion, as well as reviews, both academic and popular, on the films of the week. They take quizzes on their readings, participate in Discussion Board chats, and discuss the films and material through Zoom video-conference software at lunchtime once a week. There is a research paper dealing with some aspect of film and religion of the student's choice.




African presence in and influence on the Bible; women in the Bible; Proverbs; prophets, esp. Jeremiah and Minor Prophets; Hebrew poetry



My Proverbs commentary in the Wisdom Series won two awards: The Catholic Publishers Association Best Book on Scripture and the Book of the Year Award and also the Book of the Year Award, which was the best book out of their winners in twelve categories.

The Catholic Publishers Association website explains:From the Scripture category, Proverbs by Alice Ogden Bellis (published by Liturgical Press) took the top honor. Judges commented that this book adds “significant diversity to the market of biblical commentaries” and is “a huge undertaking, taking the next step in writing that updates all of the earlier work on biblical research from a feminist point of view.” They noted that the volume was greatly enhanced by extra features on topics like “Translation Matters” and “Excursus."

Related Articles

“Eve (and Eve-figures) in Film” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, ed. By Christine Helmer, Steven Linn McKenzie, Thomas Chr. Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, & Eric Ziolkowski (vol. 8 [and online]; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014.

“Deadly Connections: Idolatry, Addiction, Economics, and Politics,” Living Pulpit, Feb 1, 2014.“Teaching Context, Black Hermeneutics, and the Historical-Critical Method,” Teaching Theology & Religion, 17:2 (2014), 144-14.“Introduction and Notes to Judith,” Common English Bible Study Bible with Apocrypha, ed. Joel B. Green, Nashville, TN, 2013, 35AP-59AP.“Teaching Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at a Historically Black Non-Denominational, University Related Divinity School.” Living Pulpit January, 2012.“Assaulting the Empire: A Refugee Community’s Language of Hope,” in A.R. Pete Diamond and Louis Stulman, ed. Jeremiah (Dis)Placed: New Directions in Writing/Reading Jeremiah. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 529; New York: T & T Clark International, 2011, 219-34.“The Rescue of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in 701 BCE by the Cushites,” in Raising up a Faithful Exegete: Essays in Honor of Richard D. Nelson, ed. by K.L. Noll and Brooks Schramm. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2010, 247-60.“Jeremiah 31:22b: an Intentionally Ambiguous, Multivalent Riddle-Text,” in Uprooting and Planting: Essays on Jeremiah for Leslie Allen, ed. by John Goldingay. JSOTSup; New York : T & T Clark, 2007, 5-13.“The Changing Face of Babylon in Prophetic/Apocalyptic Literature,” in Knowing the End from the Beginning: The Prophetic, the Apocalyptic, and their Relationships, ed. by Lester L. Grabbe and Robert D. Haak. JSOPSup; Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2004. “Hab 2:4b: Intertextuality and Hermeneutics,” in Jews and Christians and the Theology of Hebrew Scriptures. SBL Symposium Series; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000. “Death,” “Mystery,” and “Spirit,” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, edited by David Noel Freedman. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000, 330-31, 931, 1248.“The New Exodus in Jeremiah 50:33-38” in Imagery and Imagination in Biblical Literature: Essays in Honor of Aloysius Fitzgerald, F. S. C., edited by L. Boadt and M. S. Smith; Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 32; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2001.“Feminist Biblical Interpretation,” “Cushite Woman, wife of Moses (Num 12:l),” “Eve in the Deuteronocanonical Books (Tob 8:6; Sir 25:25, 40:1; 4 Mac 18:6),” and “Hagar in the Deuteronocanonical Books (Bar 3:23),” in Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, and New Testament, edited by Carol Meyers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000, 24-32, 219, 82-83, 87-88. “Poetic Structure and Intertextual Logic in Jeremiah 50”  in Troubling Jeremiah: New Readings of the Book of Jeremiah, ed. A.R. Diamond, Kathleen O’Connor, and Louis Stulman, JSOT Supplement Series. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999. “The Grounding of Marriage in the Order of Creation (Genesis 2:18-24),” in The Family Handbook, edited by Herbert Anderson, Don S.Browning, Ian S.Evison, and Mary Stewart Van Leewen.  Religion, Culture, and Family Series. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1998, 201-203. “Mount Holyoke College,” in Women’s Issues (Ready Reference) edited by Margaret McFadden. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 1997.“Ruth: Sweet or Salty,” in Journal of Religious Thought 52:2/53:1 (1996) 65-68. “The Gender and Motives of the Wisdom Teacher in Proverbs 7,” in Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996), 1-8; and in a revised form in A. Brenner and Carole R. Fontaine (eds.),  A Feminist Companion to Wisdom and the Psalms (The Feminist Companion to the Bible, Second Series vol. 2, Sheffield: Sheffield  Academic Press, 1998) 79-91.“(The Queen of) Sheba: A Gender Sensitive Reading,” in Journal of Religious Thought 51:2 (1994-1995), 17-28. “The Jael Enigma,” in Daughters of Sarah, Winter, l995, 19-20.“Objective Biblical Truth Versus the Value of Various Viewpoints: A False Dichotomy,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 17:1 (1995), 25-36.