Rev. Associate Professor Matthew Anstey

Rev. Associate Professor Matthew Anstey

Director of Higher Degree Research; Associate Professor in Old Testament

Matthew is a leading Australian Old Testament academic with an international reputation in the area of Biblical Hebrew linguistics. He is a Research Fellow in the Public and Contextual Theology (PaCT) Strategic Research Centre of Charles Sturt University (CSU), a Visiting Research Fellow in Linguistics, The University of Adelaide, an Honorary Research Associate Professor (School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry), University of Queensland, and an Honorary Associate Professor in Theology, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University. 

He is a member of the steering committees of the Linguistics of Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Lexicography units of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and co-chairs the Biblical Hebrew Language and Linguistics Unit of the International SBL. Matthew is a member of the Doctrine Commission of the Anglican Church of Australia, a trustee of the Australian Research Theological Foundation (ARTFinc), and was recently appointed to the editorial board of HIPHIL Novum.

After completing studies at Canberra College of Theology (1994–1997) and then Regent College Vancouver (1998–2000), Matthew did his doctoral studies with Professor Eep Talstra at the Vrije Universeit Amsterdam. He was then awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at CSU in the area of Biblical Hebrew linguistics (2006–2009). From 2010 until the end of 2017, Matthew was Principal of St Barnabas College, the theological college of the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide, a member college of the CSU School of Theology. 

Matthew has research interests in Biblical Hebrew linguistics, especially in the study of phrase and clause structure, utilising digital annotated versions of the text of Hebrew Bible. To facilitate this research he has published online a complete Interlinear Morphemic Gloss of the Hebrew Bible (, used by Hebrew scholars internationally. His expertise in Biblical Hebrew language extends into interdisciplinary research both on the literature of the Old Testament, especially its narratives and poetry, and more broadly to the role Scripture plays in theological reasoning and the formulation of Christian doctrine. This interdisciplinarity informs and enriches all areas of his research, making Matthew one of the few scholars in the world who publishes both in the areas of linguistic analysis of Biblical languages and on the significant literary, exegetical, and theological concerns of these religious texts.

In Biblical studies he has published and presented on Genesis, Jonah, Habakkuk, and the interpretation of narrative and poetry. He is currently working mostly on the Psalms, including a new translation of the Psalms for public worship, and with Thomas Burton on a commentary on the critical edition of the English poetry of Rev'd William Barnes (1801-1886), specifically Barnes' translation into English of the Psalms and Song of Songs (to be published in OUP's The Complete Poems of William Barnes). In the area of Christian doctrine he has written on topics such as scripture, creation, and human flourishing.

Matthew is an experienced doctoral (and honours) supervisor. His first three doctoral students now hold Old Testament lectureships in theological colleges in Australia. He also loves lecturing and at CSU pioneered the teaching of Biblical Hebrew online, receiving recognition for his innovative and highly effective approach.


PhD (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Dissertation Title Towards a Functional Discourse Grammar Analysis of Tiberian Hebrew 2006

MCS (Regent College)
Dissertation Title The Linguistic Description and Analysis of 2 Samuel 11–12 from the Perspective of Functional Grammar in the Tradition of Simon Dik 2000

BTh (Canberra College of Theology) 1997

Research Interests

Biblical Hebrew language and linguistics; Old Testament/Hebrew Bible; hermeneutics and exegetical method; doctrine; trauma studies; lament; Hebrew poetry; narrative criticism; Anglican approaches to Scripture

Field of Research

  • 2004 Linguistics
  • 2204 Religion and Religious Studies
  • 2299 Other Philosophy and Religious Studies


  • 2017
    • Ambler, G.; Anstey, M.; White, M.; McCall, T. (2017). Flourishing in Faith: Theology encountering Positive Psychology. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
  • 2005
    • Anstey, M. P., L. Mackenzie (2005). Crucial Readings in Functional Grammar. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Book Chapter

  • 2021
    • Anstey, M. P.(2021). The Biblical Hebrew Verbal System: The Case for Tense In J. Naudé; C. Miller-Naudé, The Biblical Hebrew Verbal System (pp. ). Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.
  • 2019
    • Anstey, M. P.(2019). A Response: An Alternative Reading of The Book of Common Prayer In The Doctrine Commission, Marriage, Same-sex Marriage and The Anglican Church of Australia: Essays from the Doctrine Commission (pp. 49-54). Broughton Books: Mulgrave VIC.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2019). A Lifelong Journey: Going Further in Theological Study In J. Mathews, God, By Degrees (2d edition) (pp. ). Canberra: Kainos Books. | Link to journal
    • Anstey, M. P.(2019). Scripture and Moral Reasoning In The Doctrine Commission, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage And The Anglican Church Of Australia: Essays From The Doctrine Commission (pp. 57-71). Broughton Books: Mulgrave VIC.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2019). The Case for Same-sex Marriage In The Doctrine Commission, Marriage, Same-sex Marriage and The Anglican Church of Australia: Essays from the Doctrine Commission (pp. 267-284). Broughton Books: Mulgrave VIC.
  • 2017
    • Clifton, S., M. P. Anstey (2017). Flourishing in a Broken Body: An Interview with Professor Shane Clifton In G. Ambler, M. Anstey, M. White, T. McCall, Flourishing in Faith: Theology encountering Positive Psychology (pp. 159-172). Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2017). ‘And God Saw it was Good’: The Creation of Wellbeing and the Wellbeing of Creation In G. Ambler, M. Anstey, M. White, T. McCall, Flourishing in Faith: Theology encountering Positive Psychology (pp. 55-64). Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books.
  • 2011
    • Anstey, M. P.(2011). Sermon 15 – For the Anglican Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn Synod – Micah 6:1–8 In K. Weller; A. Lee, ‘Better be a Good Sermon’: Preaching for Special Occasions and Contexts (pp. 265-270). Brunswick East: Acorn Press.
  • 2008
    • Anstey, M. P.(2008). Scriptural reminiscence and narrative gerontology: Jacob’s wrestling with the unknown (Genesis 32) In E. MacKinlay, Ageing, Disability and Spirituality: Addressing the Challenge of Disability in Later Life, (pp. 106-117). London: Jessica Kingsley.
  • 2007
    • Anstey, M. P.(2007). Seeing Hagar the theologian: The interpretation of Genesis 16 In G. Garrett, “Into the world you love”: Encountering God in Everyday Life (pp. 17-35). Hindmarsh: ATF Press.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2007). Tree tigers and tree elephants: A constructional account of English nominal compounds In M. Hannay; G. Steen, The English Clause: Structure and Function. In Honour J. Lachlan Mackenzie (pp. 227-256). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 2004
    • Anstey, M. P.(2004). Functional Grammar from its inception In J. L. Mackenzie; M. J. Goméz-González, A New Architecture for Functional Grammar (pp. 23-72). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Journal Article

  • 2012
    • Anstey, M. P.(2012). 29th July: Proper 12 : Ephesians 3:14-21. Expository Times, 123 (9) , pp. 452-454.
  • 2010
    • Anstey, M. P.(2010). 9th January: The Baptism of our Lord: Matthew 3: 13-17. Expository Times, 122 (12) , pp. 127-129.
  • 2009
    • Anstey, M. P.(2009). The Biblical Hebrew Qatal verb: A Functional Discourse Grammar analysis. Linguistics, 47 (4) , pp. 825-844.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2009). Becoming a public theologian: Jonah's journey to Ninevah. St Mark's Review, 207 , pp. 37-48.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2009). 25th October: Proper 25: Psalm 34. Expository Times, 120 (12) , pp. 606-608.
  • 2008
    • Anstey (2008). 18th November: Proper 28: God’s Climate Change Agenda (Isaiah 65:17–25). Expository Times, 119 (5) , pp. 231-233.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2008). 21st December: 4th Advent: Luke 1:26–38. Expository Times, 120 (2) , pp. 83-85.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2008). Functional Discourse Grammar – Multifunctional problems and constructional solutions. Linguistics, 46 (4) , pp. 831-859.
  • 2007
    • Anstey, M. P.(2007). 2nd March: Fourth Sunday in Lent 1 Samuel 16:1–3: Cultural Treason. Expository Times, 119 (1) , pp. 36-38.
    • Anstey, M. P.(2007). Habakkuk the faithful dissident: A performative hermeneutic for Anglicans in Australia. St Mark's Review, 203 (2) , pp. 47-60.
  • 2006
    • Anstey, M. P.(2006). The grammatical-lexical cline in Tiberian Hebrew. Journal of Semitic Studies, 51 (1) , pp. 59-84.
  • 2005
    • Anstey, M. P.(2005). Towards a typological presentation of Tiberian Hebrew. Hebrew Studies, 46 , pp. 71-128.
  • 2002
    • Anstey, M. P.(2002). Layers and operators revisited. Working Papers in Functional Grammar, 77.

Research and Professional Grants

  • 2018
    • Research in transdisciplinary studies, $20000, Public and Contextual Theology Stragetic Research Centre, Charles Sturt University


Academic Conference

  • 2018
    • Are Biblical Hebrew Construct Noun Phrases Bicephalic? (2018), Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Denver, USA, 18 Nov 2018

Scholarship Publications


  • 2020
    • Anstey, MP (2020). Where do we go from here? Missional Bible studies based on the Book of Acts - for Lent or anytime. Anglican Board of Mission: Sydney. | External link

Book Review

  • 2003
    • Anstey, M. P.(2003). Review of Kathleen M. O’Connor, 2002, Lamentations & The Tears of the World, Orbis Books, Maryknoll. St Mark's Review, 216 , pp. 69-75.

Professional Memberships

Australian Girard Seminar (since 2012)

National Association of Professors of Hebrew (since 2002)

Society of Biblical Literature (since 1998)

Completed Supervision

  • 2018
    • Mathieson, R, Dress Code for Heaven? Exploring the Textures of the Parable of the Royal Wedding Feast (Matt 22:1–14) (Doctoral Thesis), 2018
    • Szepessy, D., A New Citizenship: Conversion in Roman Philippi as Reflected in the Letter to the Philippians (Doctoral Thesis), 2018
  • 2017
    • Hart, S., Confronting Stories of Human Sacrifice: A Dialogue Between René Girard and the Hebrew Bible (Doctoral Thesis), 2017
  • 2016
    • Cousins, M., Pilgrim Theology: Worldmaking through enactment of the Psalms of Ascents (Pss 120-134) (Doctoral Thesis), 2016
  • 2015
    • Craig, M-L., Hebrew-English Lexicons of the British Isles from John Parkhurst (1762) to Benjamin Davies (1872) (Doctoral Thesis), 2015
  • 2010
    • Mathews, J., Performing Habakkuk: Faithful Re-enactment in a Time of Crisis (Doctoral Thesis), 2010

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