Assistant Professor of Old Testament

H. Eugene Farlough Chair 

Montgomery Hall, Room 205

PhD Candidate, Vanderbilt University
MDiv, Wesley Theological Seminary
MTS, Wesley Theological Seminary
BA, Syracuse University

Rev. Yolanda M. Norton is a PhD candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel and Theology and Practice Fellow at Vanderbilt University.   Her current research interests include womanist interpretation, narrative and literary criticism, and the Persian period. In particular, her work focuses on the books of Genesis and Ruth, and how each text treats foreign women, and considers the ways in which insider-outsider paradigms in Scripture influence constructions of identity and facilitate the vilification and/or oppression of women of color who encounter the biblical canon in the modern world.

Professor Norton has published chapters in I Found God in Me: Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader and Global Perspectives in the Old Testament. She also has articles included in a pending publication in Liturgical Press’ new feminist commentary on the Psalms.

Prior to coming to SFTS, Norton was a Visiting Instructor at Moravian Theological Seminary and adjunct faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary. She is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has served in various ministerial capacities in the Washington, D.C. area and Nashville, TN.

She holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies degree from Wesley Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Syracuse University.

Classes Taught

Introduction to Old Testament
Womanist Biblical Interpretation
Old Testament Exegesis
Hebrew Reading Course
Beyoncé & The Hebrew Bible (Spring 2018, SFTS)


Contributing Voice Author, Wisdom Commentary: The Psalms, Books II and III, Denise Dombkowski Hopkins, lead author, (Collegeville, MN, Liturgical Press, pending)

“Silenced Struggles for Survival: Finding Life in Death in the Book of Ruth” in I Found God in Me: A Womanist Biblical Hermeneutics Reader, Mitzi Smith, ed. (Eugene, OR: Cascade Publishing, 2015)

“Reading Esther as an African American Woman” in Global Perspectives on the Old Testament, Mark Roncace and Joseph Weaver, eds. (Boston: Prentice Hall, 2013)

Guest Lectionary Commentator, Ushers and Nurses Guild Sunday Lectionary Commentary, 2013 African American Lectionary Commentary

Guest Lectionary Commentator, Holy Thursday Compact Unit Commentary, 2012 African American Lectionary Commentary

Guest Lectionary Commentator, Ash Wednesday Compact Unit Commentary, 2011 African American Lectionary Commentary

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is about mutuality. I am a content expert but the ideal classroom space requires all students to bring their experience to the classroom. Further, for students to freely explore the sometimes difficult biblical and faith issues in the classroom, we must leave room for respectful disagreement and work hard to actively listen to dissonant perspectives. We must acknowledge that there are historical facts that must be understood, even if not accepted in order to understand the biblical materials. However, the history and literature of the biblical material interacts with our identities and experiences in a myriad of ways.

In her own words

One of the joys of my calling is the gift of exposing my students to the world of ancient Israel, the world of the Hebrew Bible, and the world in which we live. Global theological education—that is, theological education on the move—gives students new opportunities to step outside of the classroom to learn something about the world and themselves.