Shelly Matthews

Brite Divinity School educates women and men to lead in the ministry of Christ’s church, the academy and public life as witnesses to God’s reconciling and transforming love and justice.


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. Before arriving at Brite, 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), and served three years in parish ministry in North Dakota before entering graduate school.

She currently co-chairs the Society of Biblical Literature Section on Early Jewish and Christian Relations, and was the co- founder and served for six years as co-chair of the SBL section on Violence and Representations of Violence Among Jews and Christians.  She also serves on  editorial boards the Journal of Biblical Literature, the Journal of New Testament Studies, and Lectio Dificilior. Her research interests include feminist biblical interpretation, the Acts of the Apostles, early Jewish Christian relations, and Paul in the second century.


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


United Methodist


  • Cities of Paul and John (travel course)
  • Exegesis in the Gopsels and Acts - Acts
  • Exegesis in the New Testament Epistles and Revelation: Paul, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Exegesis in the NT Epistles & Revelation - I Corinthians
  • Exegesis in the NT Epistles & Revelation - Romans
  • Feminist Approaches to Christian Beginnings
  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Issues in New Testament Studies - Acts, Historiography and Apologetics
  • Issues in New Testament Studies - Paul and Gender Politics
  • Issues in New Testament Studies - The World of Paul


  • 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 (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 (with Cynthia Kittredge, Melanie Johnson DeBaufre).

Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Book Chapters

  • “Feminist Biblical Interpretation” Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2013 (with Suzanne Scholz),
  • “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.
  • Cameo essays on “The Jews,” “Women in Acts,” and “Stephen” for the on the Acts of the Apostles, eds. Joseph Tyson and Dennis Smith, Polebridge Press, 2013.
  • “Did Christianity Begin at Pentecost? Reflections on the Question,” Forum (Fall 2010).
  • “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,” in New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views. Edited by Mary Hunt and Diane Neu. SkyLightPaths, 2010.
  • “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.
  • "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