BA, BD, ThM, PhD.
Monica teaches Hebrew Bible/Old Testament studies. She is a graduate of the United Theological College, Bangalore (BD) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, USA (Th.M and PhD). Born and raised in India, she taught Hebrew Bible studies and Women’s Studies at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai, India, before coming to Australia in 2012.
Monica is active in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and is a member of the SBL Council; she co-chairs the Steering Committee of the group on Asian and Asian American Hermeneutics of the SBL and is currently on the editorial boards of JFSR, and HBTH. She is also the President of the Society of Asian Biblical Studies committed to fostering biblical studies in Asia.
Monica positions herself as a feminist advocate and liberation theologian, committed to producing reflections and texts that resist and counter cultures and languages of dominance that exclude the voices of the oppressed. she has contributed toward developing Dalit and Indian Feminist hermeneutics and theologies. Her approach to the Biblical text is critical, contextual, interdisciplinary and liberative. She draws on insights derived from the lived experiences and social biographies of the marginalized, particularly women and dalits to interpret the biblical text. She employs the ‘contrapuntal method’ that has evolved for her out of her engagement with difference and plurality, enabling her to juxtapose the biblical text alongside those beyond the biblical canon, written, oral, and those in the making, texts which for varied reasons, have been suppressed and left out of the traditional ecclesial process of selection and rejection. Three major issues, namely, gender, religious plurality, and caste have dominated her theological reflection, thinking and praxis.
Monica loves the classroom and the opportunity to engage with students. Her involvement in theological and religious education is driven by the passion and conviction that the Christian Scriptures should meet people at the point of their needs and struggles. Through her teaching she seeks to enable students to read the Bible with ‘suspicious hope,’ mindful of both its distortions and possibilities. Besides foundational units that introduce the student to the world of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the varied methods and approaches to the reading of the Biblical text, Monica has also designed units that attend to the Psalms, the Prophets, the OT apocryphal books and issues of gender, violence, justice, and culture within the Biblical text.
Monica welcomes the opportunity to work with students interested in researching the Hebrew Bible in general, but would be excited about those projects that seek to bring the Hebrew text into conversation with issues of culture, gender, other scriptural traditions, and social issues; those open to employing new and emerging approaches and methodologies and engaging sources also from the non-Western world.
Monica is an ordained Lutheran minister and serves the wider church as speaker, theological reflector and bible study leader.