Shelly Matthews

Brite Divinity School educates and inspires people to serve God's diverse world as leaders in churches, the academy, and public life.

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Shelly Matthews holds the ThD from the Harvard Divinity School, the MDiv from Boston University School of Theology, and the BA from the University of North Dakota.

Her recent publications include a co-authored, two-volume feminist commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Liturgical Press, 2021), a subject which she eagerly engages in public lectures and workshops. She is currently working on a book-length feminist guide to early Christian resurrection.

She is  the series editor for the SBL Press series Early Christianity and Its Literature; and was the co-founder and inaugural co-chair, with Tat-Siong Benny Liew, of the Society of Biblical Literature program unit on Racism, Pedagogy and Biblical Studies. 

Before arriving at Brite in 2011, she was the Dorothy and B.H. Peace Jr., Associate Professor of Religion at Furman University, in Greenville South Carolina, where she taught for 13 years. She is an ordained United Methodist Minister (Dakotas Area Conference).


D.Th., Harvard Divinity School, 1997
M.Div, Boston University School of Theology,1987
B.A., University of North Dakota, 1984


United Methodist


  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • The New Testament and Anti-Judaism
  • The New Testament, Gender and Sexuality
  • Slavery in the Pauline Churches
  • Rome and Romans in Luke-Acts
  • Early Christian Narrative: The Second Century
  • Exegesis in the Gospels and Acts – Luke
  • Exegesis in the NT Epistles & Revelation - I Corinthians
  • Exegesis in the NT Epistles & Revelation - Romans


  • A Feminist Guide to Early Christian Resurrection: Justice, Authority, Presence. Feminist Studies in Sacred Texts Series, Lexington Books. (Work in Progress, Under Contract)
  • Luke. 2 vols. Wisdom Commentary 43A and 43B. Liturgical Press, 2021.
  • The Acts of the Apostles: Taming the Tongues of Fire (Phoenix Guides to the New Testament 4) Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013.
  • Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • First Converts: Rich Pagan Women and the Rhetoric of Mission in Early Judaism and Christianity. Contraversions: Jews and Other Differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.
  • Violence in the New Testament: Jesus Followers and Other Jews under Empire. New York/London: T & T Clark International, 2005 (Co-edited with E. Leigh Gibson).
  • Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Harrisburg/London/New York: Trinity Press International, 2003 (Co-edited with Cynthia Kittredge, Melanie Johnson DeBaufre).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “‘I Have Prayed for You . . .Strengthen Your Brothers’ (Luke 22:32): Jesus’s Proleptic Prayer for Peter and Other Gendered Tropes in Luke’s War on Satan.” Page 231 – 46 of Petitioners, Penitents, and Poets: On Prayer and Praying in Second Temple Judaism. Edited by A Feldman and T. Sandoval. BZAW 524. De Gruyter, 2020.
  • “A Feminist Analysis of the Veiling Passage (1 Corinthians 11:2–16): Who really cares that Paul was not a Gender Egalitarian after all?” in The Bible, Gender and Sexuality: Critical Readings, edited by Lynn Huber and Rhiannon Graybill. T&T Clark Critical Readings in Biblical Studies. Bloomsbury, 2020. Originally published in Lectio Difficiloir 2 (2015).
  • "The Lynching Tree and the Cross: James Cone, Historical Narrative, and the Ideology of Just Crucifixion (Lk 23:41).” Pages 147 – 170 of The Narrative Self in Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Judith Perkins. Edited by Janet Spittler. WGRWSup 15. Atlantal, GA: SBL Press, 2019.
  • Does Dating Luke-Acts into the Second Century Affect the Q Hypothesis?” Pages 243-63 of Gospel Interpretation and the Q Hypothesis. Edited by Mogens Müller and Heike Omerzu. LNTS 573. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2018.
  • “Fleshly Resurrection, Wifely Submission, and the Myth of the Primal Androgyne: the link between Luke 24:39 and Ephesians 5:30.” Pages 101-117 of Delightful Acts: New Essays on Canonical and Non-Canonical Acts, edited by Harold Attridge, Dennis MacDonald, and Claire Rothschild. WUNT. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.
  • “To be one and the same with the woman whose head is shaven (1Cor 11:5b): Resisting the violence of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 from the bottom of the kyriarchal pyramid.” Pages 31-51 in Sexual Violence and Sacred Texts. Edited by Amy Kalmanofsky. Cambridge, MA: Feminist Studies in Religion Books, 2017.
  • “Fleshly Resurrection, Authority Claims, and the Scriptural Practices of Lukan Christianity” JBL 136 (2017): 163-83.
  • “Elijah, Ezekiel and Romulus: Luke’s Flesh and Bones (Luke 24:39) in Light of Ancient Narratives of Ascent, Resurrection, and Apotheosis.” Pages 161-82 in On Prophets, Warriors and Kings: Former Prophets through the Eyes of their Interpreters. Edited by Ariel Feldman and George Brook. BZAW 470. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.
  • “Feminist Historiography.” Pages 233-48 in Feminist Biblical Studies in the Twentieth Century: Scholarship and Movement. Edited by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. The Bible and Women: An Encyclopaedia of Exegesis and Cultural History 9.1. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014.
  • “Feminist Biblical Interpretation” (co-authored with with Suzanne Scholz), Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. (Steven L. McKenzie, ed.; Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • “The Weeping Jesus and the Daughters of Jerusalem: The significance of gender in Lukan lament.” Pages 385 -403 of Doing Gender- Doing Religion: Fallstudien zur Intersektionalität in Texten des frühen Judentums, Christentums und Islam. Edited by Christine Gerber, Ute E. Eisen und Angela Standhartinger. Tübingen: Mohr, 2013.
  • “Did Christianity Begin at Pentecost? Reflections on the Question,” Forum 3rd series, 1.2 (Fall 2007), 191-204.
  • “Clemency and Cruelty: Forgiveness and Force in the Dying Prayers of Jesus and Stephen,” Biblical Interpretation 17 (2009): 118-146. Reprinted in pages 117-144 of Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity. Edited by Ra’anan Boustan, Alex Jassen and Calvin Roetzel. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2010.
  • “The Future of Feminist Biblical Studies,” Pages 107-113 in New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views. Edited by Mary Hunt and Diane Neu. SkyLightPaths, 2010.
  • “The Need for the Stoning of Stephen.” Pages 124-39 in Violence in the New Testament: Jesus Followers and Other Jews Under Empire. Edited by E. Leigh Gibson and Shelly Matthews. New York/London: T & T Clark International, 2005.
  • “Elite Women, Public Religion, and Christian Propaganda in Acts 16.” Pages 111-33 in A Feminist Companion to Acts of the Apostles. Edited by Amy-Jill Levine. New York/London: T & T Clark, 2004.
  • “Ethical Issues in Reconstructing Intra-Religious Violence in Antiquity: The Gospel of Matthew as a Test Case.” Pages 334-50 in Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Edited by Shelly Matthews, Cynthia Kittredge, and Melanie Johnson DeBaufre. Harrisburg/Londong/New York: Trinity Press International, 2003.
  • "Thinking of Thecla: Issues in Feminist Historiography." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 17:2 (2001) 39-55.
  • "Ladies' Aid: Gentile Noblewomen as Saviors and Benefactors in the Antiquities," Harvard Theological Review, 92:2 (1999) 199-218.
  • "Second Corinthians." Pages 196-217 in Searching the Scriptures: A Feminist Commentary. Edited by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. New York: Crossroad Press, 1994.

Professional Affiliations

Society of New Testament Studies
North American Patristics Society
Society of Biblical Literature