The Authors

Zain Abdullah, Associate Professor of Religion and Society and Islamic Studies at Temple University, is the author of Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem (Oxford University Press, 2010). He holds a doctorate in anthropology and has earned awards from the Smithsonian Institution and the Ford Foundation for his work on race, religion, immigration, and civic engagement. He has organized national conferences on public issues such as Black males and crime, worked as a Muslim Chaplain for the New York and New Jersey departments of corrections, and served on the NJ Attorney General’s Stop Hate Crimes Committee. [See LETTER 71]

Ellen T. Armour, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Associate Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, directs the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender and Sexuality. Her latest book, Signs and Wonders: Theology after Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2016), uses photographs to diagnose and respond to shifts in our relationship to bio-disciplinary power. She will travel to Austria this summer to meet with other scholar-activists involved in resettling Syrian refugees. [See LETTER 9]

Rose Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University, received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is an interfaith activist as well as a scholar of Islam and religious studies. She teaches courses on global religions, with a focus on Islam, and her research focuses on ritual and material culture in diverse Muslim communities. [See LETTER 78]

Margaret Aymer, Associate Professor of New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. Her publications include James: Diaspora Writings of a Friend of God. [See LETTER 23]

Murali Balaji, Director of Education and Curriculum Reform at the Hindu American Foundation in Washington, DC, is a former journalist and professor who has advocated for pluralism and diversity for nearly 20 years. He has authored, edited, and co-edited several books, including The Professor and The Pupil, a political biography of WEB Du Bois and Paul Robeson[See LETTER 36]

M. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, also serves as Professor of Pastoral Ministry. He  earned his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in church history from the University of Chicago. He is the author of eight books, including most recently Body and Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism (2012) and The Pastor as Minor Poet (2008), and he serves as a columnist for The Christian Century. [See LETTER 15]

Eric D. Barreto, Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, is an ordained Baptist minister. The author of Ethnic Negotiations: The Function of Race and Ethnicity in Acts 16 (Mohr Siebeck, 2010) and the co-author of Exploring the Bible (Fortress Press, 2016), he is also a regular contributor to, the Huffington Post,, and [See LETTER 3]

Ryan P. Bonfiglio, Lecturer in Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, serves as the John H. Stembler Scholar in Residence at the First Presbyterian Church (USA) of Atlanta. His research and teaching interests include biblical metaphors, Old Testament theology, Israelite religion, and ancient Near Eastern iconography. He is author of Reading Images, Seeing Texts: Towards a Visual Hermeneutics for Biblical Studies (2016) and one of the editors of Iconographic Exegesis of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (2015). [See LETTER 83]

Lisa Bowens, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, received her M.T.S. and Th.M. from Duke University Divinity School and her Ph.D. in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the author of An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Mohr Siebeck, 2017) and her most recent articles are, “Liberating Paul: African Americans’ Use of Paul in Resistance and Protest” and “Painting Hope: Formational Hues of Paul’s Spiritual Warfare Language in 2 Corinthians 10-13” in Practicing with Paul: Reflections on Paul and the Practices of Ministry in Honor of Susan G. Eastman (Wipf and Stock, 2018). She teaches a range of courses that include New Testament Greek, African-American Pauline Hermeneutics, and New Testament Exegesis. [See LETTER 5]

Marc Z. BrettlerBernice and Morton Lerner Professor in Judaic Studies at Duke University, conducts research focused on the juncture between the Bible as history and as literature, biblical metaphors, biblical depictions of gender, and the book of Psalms. He co-edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament (2011), The New Oxford Annotated Bible (2001, revised 2010), and The Jewish Study Bible (2004; second edition 2014); and he co-authored The Bible and the Believer (2012; paperback 2015). He has written many books, including How to Read the Jewish Bible (Oxford, 2007), as well as op-eds on the place of the Bible in American public life. [See LETTER 14]

Bernadette J. Brooten, Robert and Myra Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies at Brandeis University, also serves as Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as well as Professor of Classical Studies, Chair of the Program in Religious Studies, and Director of the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project at Brandeis. She has published Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue (1982), Love Between Women: Early Christian Female Homoeroticism (1996), edited Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies, and is completing a book on early Christian enslaved women and female slave-holders. Trained as a Catholic theologian, she has also studied Protestant theology and Jewish Studies. [See LETTER 75]

William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  He is the author of several books and numerous essays on biblical interpretation and theology, including Sacred Sense (Eerdmans), Wisdom’s Wonder (Eerdmans), The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (Oxford University), Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor (Westminster John Knox). He was a founding member of Earth Covenant Ministry in Atlanta, now part of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL). [See LETTER 39]

Gay L. Byron, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C., is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and active in teaching and preaching in a variety of religious and educational contexts. She is the author of Symbolic Blackness and Ethnic Difference in Early Christian Literature (Routledge Press) and co-editor of Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse (SBL Press). [See LETTER 87]

Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary, is Resident Scholar at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Lancaster, PA. He is the author of Apocalyptic Literature in the New Testament, Luke: All Flesh Shall See God’s Salvation and Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers, among other works. A lay member in the United Church of Christ, he represents the UCC in both national and international ecumenical settings, and he blogs regularly for the Huffington Post. [See LETTER 53]

Corrine Carvalho, Professor of Theology and Interim Dean of Social Work at the University of St. Thomas, earned her M.A. from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and Ph.D. from Yale University. She has published numerous articles and books on Ezekiel and Jeremiah, along with Encountering Ancient Voices: A Guide to Reading the Old Testament, Second Edition (2010). [See LETTER 22]

Paul W. Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology & Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, has been involved in theological education on three continents and helped launch two new institutions: Africa University (Zimbabwe) and Asbury Theological Seminary (Florida). A Methodist scholar and Wesleyan specialist, he is the author of nearly 25 books, including Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, A Faith That Sings, and Recapturing the Wesleys’ Vision. He is a frequent speaker and workshop leader in applied Wesleyan studies, particularly in the areas of spirituality, worship, discipleship, and evangelism. [See LETTER 35]

Forrest Clingerman, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Ohio Northern University, is a specialist in how Christian thought engages environmental issues. As an author of scholarly works in religion and philosophy, he has written on such things as climate change, ecological restoration, local ethics, and appreciating the spiritual meaning of place.  He is co-editor of Teaching Civic Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2016), Theological and Ethical Perspectives on Climate Engineering (Lexington Books, 2016), and Interpreting Nature: The Emerging Field of Environmental Hermeneutics (Fordham University Press, 2014). [See LETTER 93]

Jeremy V. Cruz, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, holds a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Boston College. His research interests are at the intersection of Christian political theology, moral theory, and labor studies, with a current focus on U.S. farmworker movements. He has also worked in community organizing and served as the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Mary Magdalene parish in Riverside County, California. [See LETTER 70]

Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, received her doctorate from Marquette University in Religious Studies. She is a former member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the first and only Black Catholic female bioethicist in the U.S. Also a registered nurse, her areas of interest include beginning, middle, and end of life issues, especially through the lens of health disparities and race, class, and gender oppression. [See LETTER 66]

Maria Teresa Dávila, Associate Professor Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School, is a lay woman in the Roman Catholic tradition. She earned her M.T.S. at the Boston University School of Theology and Ph.D. at Boston College. She focuses on the intersections of class identity formation and Christian ethics. She is currently undertaking a study of the relationship between understandings of discipleship and activism-public witness-faith in action. [See LETTER 82]

Neomi DeAnda, Associate Professor in Religious Studies and Human Rights Center Research Associate at University of Dayton, is a Tejana scholar/activist and Catholic Lay Marianist. She holds a Ph.D. in Constructive Theology, and her research interests include Latinas and Latin American women writers in religion 1600–1900, Christology, Latin@ Theology, theology and breast milk, the intersection of race and migrations, and developing a border theology in partnership with the Hope Border Institute. Her work arises from her roots at St. Pius X Catholic Community in El Paso and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. [See LETTER 67]

Teresa Delgado, Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program and Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Religious Studies Department at Iona College, received her doctorate from Union Theological Seminary. Her scholarship utilizes the experiences of marginalized peoples to articulate a constructive theological/ethical vision. She has published extensively on issues ranging from diversity in higher education, transformational pedagogies, constructive theology and ethics, and justice for racial/ethnic/sexual minorities. She is currently completing a book entitled Prophesy Freedom: A Puerto Rican Decolonial Theology. [See LETTER 57]

Miguel H. Diaz, John Courtney Murray Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago, served under President Barack Obama as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. He is a theologian, prolific writer, and public speaker committed to bridging faith and public life. [See LETTER 56]

Emran El-Badawi, Program Director and Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Houston, is founding Executive Director of the International Qur’anic Studies Association, which is dedicated to critical and respectful study of the Qur’an, as well as building bridges and promoting peace and mutual understanding through scholarship. His work has been featured in the media, including The New York Times, Forbes and Al-Jazeera. [See LETTER 29]

Sarah Eltantawi, Assistant Professor of Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies at Evergreen State College, is a scholar of Islam and the author of Shari’ah on Trial: Northern Nigeria’s Islamic Revolution (University of California Press, 2017). She holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University.  She has published on contemporary Islamic law and society, Nigerian concepts of post-modernity, the stoning punishment in Islam, and the Egyptian revolution and its aftermath. [See LETTER 72]

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Effie Wise Ochs Professor of Biblical Literature and History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, is a rabbi and noted scholar in the area of Persian Period studies. She produced two award winning books as Editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (URJ Press, 2008) and author of The JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth (Jewish Publication Society, 2011). [See LETTER 26]

Kathleen Flake, Richard L. Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia, is author of The Politics of Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot and several scholarly essays. She is on the editorial board of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation and the Journal of Mormon Studies. She has held office in the American Academy of Religion and the American Society of Church History. [See LETTER 89]

Susan R. Garrett, Dean and Professor of New Testament at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, specializes in study of the New Testament writings in their social historical context. She is the author of No Ordinary Angel: Celestial Spirits and Christian Claims about Jesus (Yale University Press, 2008). She has been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Tübingen and a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology, and she currently serves as the Bibles Delegate for Oxford University Press. [See LETTER 47]

Joshua D. Garroway, Associate Professor of Early Christianity and Second Commonwealth Judaism at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, received rabbinical ordination from HUC-JIR in 2003 and earned a doctorate in New Testament studies from the Religious Studies department at Yale University in 2008. He teaches in the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at the University of Southern California and is the author of Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew Nor Gentile, but Both (2012). [See LETTER 30]

Deirdre Good, Theologian in Residence at Trinity Wall Street, formerly served as Academic Dean at General Theological Seminary and Interim Associate Academic Dean at Drew Theological School. She was Professor of New Testament at General from 1986-2015, and prior to that served as the chair of the religion department at Agnes Scott College, as well as on the religious studies faculty at Valparaiso University. She is a graduate of The University of St Andrews, Cambridge University, Union Theological Seminary, and Harvard University Divinity School, where she completed her doctoral studies. She is the author of many scholarly articles and the author and co-author of numerous books, including Jesus’ Family Values, Jesus the Meek King and Mariam, the Magdalen, and the Mother. [See LETTER 42]

Esther J. Hamori, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary, received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East from New York University in 2004. Her research is focused on various aspects of divine-human contact and communication in ancient Israelite and other Near Eastern religious literature. She is the author of Women’s Divination in Biblical Literature: Prophecy, Necromancy, and Other Arts of Knowledge (2015) and ‘When Gods Were Men’: The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature (2008). [See LETTER 73]

J.B. Haws, Assistant Professor of Church History at Brigham Young University, is Coordinator of BYU’s Richard L. Evans Office of Religious Outreach. His Ph.D. from the University of Utah is in American History, and his research interests center on the place of Mormonism in twentieth- and twenty-first century America. He is the author of The Mormon Image in the American Mind (Oxford, 2013). [See LETTER 64]

Christine Hayes, Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale University, is a specialist in biblical and ancient Jewish studies and the author of several award-winning books, including What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives (2015), and numerous scholarly articles. She has also authored two popular volumes: Introduction to the Bible, based on her free online course available through Open Yale Courses, and The Emergence of Judaism.  She lectures widely in the United States and abroad. [See LETTER 41]

Shai Held, President and Dean of the Hadar Institute, is a theologian, scholar, and educator. He is a 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish educationand he has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.  He is the author of Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence (Indiana University Press, 2013) and The Heart of Torah (forthcoming), a two volume collection of essays on the Torah. [See LETTER 97]

Katharine R. Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary, is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and author of God’s Troublemakers: How Women of Faith are Changing the World (Continuum, 2006). She is an internationally known speaker and has been featured in The Washington PostThe New York Times, MSNBCNPR, and more. She was named co-recipient of the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize for her lifelong passion to create spaces for authentic interfaith engagement, including spearheading the creation of “MountainTop,” a national gathering of 80 faith leaders to catalyze a multifaith movement for justice. [See LETTER 21]

Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies and Religion at Williams College, studies scriptures and the shaping of relations of race and gender among U.S. Latina/os, whose scriptures may include not only the Christian Bible but also other traditions, texts, images, songs, and stories. She is the author of Revelation in Aztlán: Scriptures, Utopias, and the Chicano Movement and Vice President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. [See LETTER 34]

Karina Martin Hogan, Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University, is a faculty member in Fordham’s Jewish Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies programs. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago Divinity School. Her teaching and research focus on the Bible and its interpretation in early Judaism, and she is an editor of Pedagogy in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (forthcoming) and author of Theologies in Conflict in 4 Ezra: Wisdom Debate and Apocalyptic Solution (2008). [See LETTER 16]

Shalom E. Holtz, Associate Professor of Bible at Yeshiva University, holds degrees in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard (AB, 1999) and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 2006). His recent published works include Neo-Babylonian Trial Records (Society of Biblical Literature, 2014) and several comparative studies on biblical and Mesopotamian law. [See LETTER 20]

Amir Hussain, Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, teaches courses on Islam and world religions. His specialty is the study of contemporary Muslim societies in North America. From 2011 to 2015, he was the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. The most recent of his six books is Muslims and the Making of America (Baylor University Press, 2016). [See LETTER 46]

Jennifer T. Kaalund, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, received her Ph.D. from Drew University in New Testament and Early Christianity. Her research interests include Christian Scriptures, African American history and culture, the Bible in popular culture, and the study of early Christianity in its Roman imperial context, with a focus on womanist hermeneutics and postcolonial and cultural studies. [See LETTER 51]

S. Tamar Kamionkowski, Professor of Biblical Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, holds a B.A from Oberlin College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D in Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University. She is the author of Leviticus: A Wisdom Commentary (Liturgical Press, forthcoming), Gender Reversal and Cosmic Chaos: Studies in the Book of Ezekiel (Sheffield Academic Press, 2003), co-editor of Bodies, Embodiment and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures (T&T Clark, 2010), and she has written numerous articles on biblical literature, feminist readings of biblical texts, and the intersection between scholarship and social justice. [See LETTER 43]

Tazim R. Kassam, Associate Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, is a historian of religions specializing in the Islamic tradition. Her research and teaching interests include gender, ritual, devotional literature, syncretism and the cultural heritage of Muslims particularly in South Asia. She is the author of Songs of Women and Circles of Dance (1995) and has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. [See LETTER 91]

Zayn Kassam, John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College, teaches courses on Islam, ethics and social practice, and the environment.  She has authored an introductory volume on Islam, edited volumes on women and religion, and published articles on Muslim women, religion and migration, and teaching Islam. [See LETTER 94]

Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa, Clinical Assistant Professor of Sikh and Jain Studies at Loyola Marymount University,  explores diversity, devotional practice, lived experience, and gender roles in South Asian religious traditions in her research. Her current work supports dialogue between the Sikh and Jain religions through forthcoming publications and a recent interfaith conference, “Spiritual Warriors: (Non)Violence in the Sikh and Jain Traditions.” Other publications have appeared in the Sikh Formations journal. [See LETTER 85]

Uriah Y. Kim, Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs and John Dillenberger Professor of Biblical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, holds a Ph.D. from GTU,  MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, Th.M. from Candler School of Theology of Emory University, and a BA in philosophy from New York University. He was born to a Buddhist family in Korea, immigrated to the United States at age 10, and became a Christian in his late teens. He believes that his decisions to go to seminary after college, to do doctoral studies in biblical studies, and to serve as professor and administrator in theological education are results of his sincere desire to know the truth, to love God, and to serve others. [See LETTER 6]

Karen L. King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, was trained in comparative religions and historical studies. She is the author of books and articles on the diversity of ancient Christianity, women and gender studies, and religion and violence, including What is Gnosticism?, The Secret Revelation of John, and The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, “Christianity and Torture” in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence, and “The Place of the Gospel of Philip in the Context of Early Christian Claims about Jesus’ Marital Status” in the Journal New Testament Studies 59. [See LETTER 27]

Nadia Kizenko, Professor of History and Director of Religious Studies at the State University of New York, Albany, is the author of A Prodigal Saint:  Father John of Kronstadt and the Russian People.  She studies the intersection of religion and politics in modern Russia and Ukraine, with a special interest in confession, gender, and holy people. [See LETTER 80]

Jennifer Wright Knust, Associate Professor at Boston University, teaches courses in early Christian history and literature, theoretical approaches to religion, and religion and gender. Author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire and editor of Ancient Mediterranean Sacrifice, as well as a number of other books, and articles, her work investigates the transmission of sacred texts, the materiality of ancient religions, and sexual slander, among other topics. [See LETTER 55]

Aaron Koller, Associate Professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, studies the ancient world of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East. His most recent book is Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He has served as a Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and he held research fellowships at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research and the Hartman Institute. [See LETTER 52]

Naomi Koltun-Fromm, Professor of Religion at Haverford College, received her MA and Ph.D. from Stanford in history and Jewish Studies. She specializes in Late Ancient Jewish history, Jewish and Christian relations, religious polemics, comparative biblical exegesis, rabbinic culture and the Syriac speaking churches. She recently published Hermeneutics of Holiness: Ancient Jewish and Christian Notions of Sexuality and Religious Community, and her present research focuses on the representation of Jerusalem in early Jewish, Christian and Muslim writings. [See LETTER 62]

Jennifer L. Koosed, Professor of Religious Studies at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, earned a M.St. degree from Oxford University, M.T.S. from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Hebrew Bible.  Her publications include (Per)mutations of Qohelet: Reading the Body in the Book (2006), Gleaning Ruth: A Biblical Heroine and Her Afterlives (2011), and Jesse’s Lineage: The Legendary Lives of Jesus, David and Jesse James (with Robert Paul Seesengood, 2013). [See LETTER 61]

John F. Kutsko, Executive Director at the Society of Biblical Literature and Affiliate Professor of Biblical Studies at Emory University, holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. He serves on the advisory boards of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC, and the Journal of General Education. His most recent article is “Compromise as a Biblical Value,” in The Bible in Political Debate (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016). [See LETTER 2]

Beatrice J. W. Lawrence, Assistant Professor Hebrew Bible at Seattle University, holds a Ph.D. from Emory University in Hebrew Bible with an emphasis in Jewish Hermeneutics.  Her research interests include biblical interpretation in rabbinics and parshanut, gender and sexuality in Jewish texts, popular culture and cultural theory, and critical interreligious engagement. [See LETTER 88]

Bill J. Leonard, James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and Professor of Church History at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, holds a Ph.D. from Boston University. He teaches church history with particular emphasis on Baptist studies, American religion, and religion in Appalachia. He is author and editor of some 24 books, the most recent of which is A Sense of the Heart: Christian Religious Experience in the United States. [See LETTER 10]

Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science, also serves as E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt. She is Affiliated Professor at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK.  Her most recent volume is Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi, and she is the co-editor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament. [See LETTER 33]

Karoline M. Lewis, Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She serves as Program Director for the Festival of Homiletics, authors the blog “Dear Working Preacher” at, and co-hosts the site’s weekly podcast, “Sermon Brainwave.” Her most recent book is SHE: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Women in Ministry. [See LETTER 74]

Tat-siong Benny Liew, Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament Studies at College of the Holy Cross, is also an ordained clergyperson of the Presbyterian Church (USA). His areas of interest include synoptic gospels, gospel of John, cultural and racial interpretations and receptions of the Bible, apocalypticism, Asian American history and literature. A naturalized US citizen who was born in Hong Kong, he is very proud of the many experiences and traditions that have enriched his life. [See LETTER 32]

Yii-Jan Lin, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School, teaches in the field of New Testament studies and specializes in critical race theory, gender and sexuality, and immigration. Her book, The Erotic Life of Manuscripts (Oxford, 2016), examines how metaphors of race, family, evolution, and genetic inheritance have shaped the goals and assumptions of New Testament textual criticism from the eighteenth century to the present. Her current research focuses on apocalypticism and the use of Revelation in the political discourse surrounding American immigration, both in utopian visions of America and dystopian fear of “outsiders.” [See LETTER 31]

Debra Majeed, Professor of Religious Studies at Beloit College, is a religious historian who has made the interconnection between religion, gender and justice central to her life’s work. With a doctorate in religious and theological studies from Northwestern University, she is the first African American female and first Muslim to be tenured in the 169-year history of Beloit College. With the publication of her groundbreaking book, ​Polygyny: What It Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands (2015), she continues to work with mosque communities for the cultivation of resources and support for healthy marriage regardless of form. [See LETTER 96]

Herbert Robinson Marbury, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, is a United Methodist clergy person. He researches the Bible’s textuality and how biblical texts came to meaning the the ancient and modern worlds. He is the author of Pillars of Cloud and Fire: The Politics of Exodus in African American Biblical Interpretation (2015) and Keep It Real: Working with Today’s Black Youth (2005). [See LETTER 99]

Bryan N. Massingale, Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University, holds a doctorate in Catholic moral theology from the Pontifical Institute for Moral Theology in Rome, Italy.  He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and a past convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium. [See LETTER 24]

Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Director of MA(TS) Program at Columbia Theological Seminary, is the author of Dialogue Not Dogma: Many Voices in the Gospel of Luke (T&T Clark, 2011). He is currently working on a book tentatively titled Synoptics and the Empire, and he is co-authoring an introductory book on Postcolonial Biblical Studies. He is a contributor to Huffington Post’s On Scripture blog and has written for other publications such as Presbyterians Today. [See LETTER 58]

Carmen Nanko-Fernández, Professor of Hispanic Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union at Chicago, is a Latin@́ Catholic theologian and Director of the Hispanic Theology and Ministry Program (HTMP). Her publications include the book Theologizing en Espanglish: Context, Community and Ministry. [See LETTER 19]

Laura Nasrallah, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, has written books and articles that focus on understanding early Christianity within the context of the Roman Empire, including Christian Responses to Roman Art and Architecture: The Second-Century Church amid the Spaces of Empire (2011). Her work brings together ancient literature and archaeological remains to study topics such as slavery, poverty, gender, justice, and power. [See LETTER 45]

Aaron D. Panken, President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute, has taught Rabbinic and Second Temple Literature at HUC-JIR in New York since 1995. He was ordained as a rabbi at the College-Institute and earned his doctorate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. His research focuses on legal change in Rabbinic Literature, which is the topic of his book, The Rhetoric of Innovation (2005). [See LETTER 50]

Aristotle Papanikolaou, Professor of Theology and Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture at Fordham University, is Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.  He is also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and author of The Mystical as Political:  Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy. [See LETTER 13]

Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, is a leading voice in the movement for interfaith cooperation. He is the author of the books Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground and Interfaith Leadership, a frequent guest speaker on college campuses, and a regular contributor to the public conversation around religion in America. He served on President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. [See LETTER 11]

Michael Peppard, Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University, is a scholar and teacher whose primary work brings to light the meanings of the New Testament and other Christian materials in their social, political, artistic, and ritual contexts. He is the award-winning author of two books and numerous articles. He frequently offers commentary on current events at the nexus of religion, politics, and culture for venues such as Commonweal, where he is contributing editor, as well as The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and PBS. [See LETTER 7]

Judith Plaskow, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at Manhattan College, is a Jewish feminist theologian who has been teaching, writing and speaking about Jewish feminism, feminist studies in religion, and sexuality for over forty years. She is author of the Jewish feminist classic Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective and of The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics 1972-2003. Her latest book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology (Fortress Press, 2016), co-authored with Carol P. Christ. [See LETTER 44]

Brian Rainey, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, earned his MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and his Ph.D. from Brown University. He studies ethnicity in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East and is fascinated by the way in which contemporary Christian and Jewish communities bridge the gap between modern ethical concepts and the ethically problematic social context of the Bible. Other interests include Assyriology, biblical mythology and Christian theology, and the development of monotheism in the ancient world. [See LETTER 69]

Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College, is also Visiting Professor at the Academy for the Study of World Religions at the University of Hamburg in Germany. His most recent book is A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-One is Not-Two. He has been involved in interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years as a Hindu participant and analyst. [See LETTER 17]

Hussein Rashid, Founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency, teaches as a contingent faculty member and engages with various interfaith and community building projects in New York City. He has a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, a Masters in Theological Studies focusing on Islam, and an MA and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, focusing on South and Central Asia from Harvard University. His faith and citizenship demand that he create a society with liberty and justice for all. [See LETTER 4]

Stephen Breck Reid, Professor of Christian Scriptures at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, is ordained in the Church of the Brethern. With a Ph.D. from Emory University, he has written numerous books and articles, including Psalms and Practice: Worship, Virtue and Authority (Liturgical Press, 2001) and Experience and Traditions: A Primer in Black Biblical Hermeneutics (Abingdon, 1991). [See LETTER 59]

Patrick B. Reyes, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives at the Forum for Theological Exploration, is a Latinx practical theologian, educator, administrator, and institutional strategist. At the Forum for Theological Exploration, he supports scholars of color and works with institutional leaders on a number of inclusive excellence initiatives. His expertise is helping communities, organizations, and individuals excavate their stories to create strategies and practices that promote their thriving. He is the author of the book, Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood.  [See LETTER 48]

Ellen M. Ross, Howard M. and Charles F. Jenkins Professor of Quakerism and Peace Studies in the Religion Department and Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore College, is past president of the Friends Historical Association. Currently, her research and writing center on eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Quaker traditions, peace history, and social change. [See LETTER 84]

Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John’s University in New York, is also a senior research fellow of the university’s Vincentian Center for Church and Society. His publications include Readings from the Edges: The Bible and People on the Move. [See LETTER 8]

Kimberly D. Russaw, President of The Russaw Agency, earned a Ph.D. in Religion at Vanderbilt University, with a focus on the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel. In her most recent project, she employs the tools of narrative criticism, feminist criticism, social scientific theory to explore how biblical daughters navigate antagonistic systems of power in their narratives. She is an ordained clergywoman in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and teaches at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. [See LETTER 12]

Tammi J. Schneider, Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, teaches ancient Near Eastern history, literature, archaeology and religion, and also women in the Hebrew Bible. She received her doctorate in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include  Judges (Berit Olam series), Sarah: Mother of NationsMothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis, and An Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Religion. [See LETTER 65]

Love Sechrest, Associate Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, pursued a career in the aerospace industry prior to earning her MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and her Ph.D. at Duke University. Author of A Former Jew: Paul and the Dialectics of Race (2009), she is currently working on a book entitled Race Relations and the New Testament, as well as a commentary on Second Corintians. She is also involved in projects to nurture preaching and ministry locally and across the globe. [See LETTER 95]

Choon-Leong Seow, Vanderbilt, Buffington, Cupples Chair in Divinity and Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, is the author of several books, including Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary (Eerdmans, 2013). Before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2015, he was the Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, where taught for 32 years. [See LETTER 81]

Katherine A. Shaner, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, studies the intersections of race, class, and gender as well as the ethics of contemporary biblical interpretation. Her book, Enslaved Leadership in Early Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2017), challenges readers to re-think common perceptions about how enslaved persons participated in early Christian communities. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and a regular guest preacher and presider. [See LETTER 86]

Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology and Culture at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, is the author of Self, Culture and Others in Womanist Practical Theology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). She is a pastoral theologian and psychoanalyst, and her research is concerned with the intersection of race, gender, culture, and religion. [See LETTER 79]

Rita D. Sherma, Associate Professor of Dharma Studies and Chair of Hindu Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, also serves as Director of the Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies at GTU. She is Co-founder and Vice President of the Dharma Academy of North America, and Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Dharma Studies. She has published several books and numerous academic papers, including a forthcoming book entitled Ethics, Ecology, & Enlightenment: A Hindu Ecotheology. [See LETTER 76]

Simran Jeet Singh, Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity University, is the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition. His academic expertise focuses on the history of religious communities and literatures in South Asia. He writes and speaks frequently on matters of religion, race, equity, and justice, with opinion pieces appearing in news outlets like The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Guardian. [See LETTER 25]

Matthew Skinner, Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of numerous books that explore the cultural realities  and ongoing theological relevance of the New Testament writings, most recently Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts. Ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he writes about the Bible for websites like Huffington Post, Working Preacher, and ON Scripture and co-hosts a weekly podcast that helps preachers interpret biblical texts. [See LETTER 49]

Mark S. Smith, Helena Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary, is the author of over one hundred articles and sixteen books, including Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World (Yale University Press, 2016). His work focuses on divinity in the Hebrew Bible and related ancient literature. [See LETTER 28]

Althea Spencer Miller, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Drew University Theological School, is a provisional elder in the NYAC and a Minister in Residence at United Methodist Church of the Village, Manhattan. She also serves on the Steering Committee of Methodists in New Directions, a grassroots movement of United Methodists working for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons within that denomination. She also is an Associate Member of First Congregation Church in Montclair, NJ. [See LETTER 38]

Gregory E. Sterling, The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School, also holds the position of The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament. He is an expert in ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. A New Testament scholar with a specialty in Hellenistic Judaism and Philo of Alexandria, he spent 23 years at the University of Notre Dame before moving to Yale. [See LETTER 68]

Elsie R. Stern, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, holds an MA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and a BA from Yale University. She is the author of From Rebuke to Consolation: Bible, Exegesis and Ritual in the Literature of the Tisha b’Av Season (Brown Judaic Series, 2004), co-editor of the Dictionary of the Bible in Ancient Media (forthcoming, T and T Clark), and a contributor to The Jewish Study Bible and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. Her teaching often focuses on social justice issues. [See LETTER 100]

Jeffrey Tigay, Emeritus Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania, taught in the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania until his retirement in 2010. He is a rabbi whose publications include commentaries on the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy and various studies about the Bible in the light of archaeology and Jewish exegesis. [See LETTER 60]

Emilie M. Townes, Dean and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, has written numerous publications, including Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). She served as president of the American Academy of Religion in 2008 and was president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, 2013-2016. [See LETTER 18]

Mai-Anh Le Tran, Associate Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary, is Past-President of the Religious Education Association, an international academic organization of scholars and practitioners in the study of religion and education. Her writing focuses on local/global intersections of race, gender, and class in religious identity formation and practices. She is an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church. [See LETTER 54]

Phyllis Trible, Baldwin Professor Emerita of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary, is an internationally known biblical scholar and rhetorical critic. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, she is the author of numerous articles and book in the text-based exploration of women and gender in Scripture, including God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (1978) and Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (1984). [See LETTER 63]

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of San Diego, holds a doctorate in Comparative Philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her publications include Into the Jaws of Yama: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death, as well as Sisters in Solitude: Two Traditions of Monastic Ethics for Women, and ten edited volumes on women in Buddhism. She is a founder and past President of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and Director of Jamyang Foundation, which supports education programs for women in the Indian Himalayas and Bangladesh. [See LETTER 77]

Joseph G. Walser, Associate Professor at Tufts University, holds a M.T.S. from Emory University and a Ph.D. in the History of Religions from Northwestern University. His research interests include Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and religion in early South Asia, and more. [See LETTER 90]

Andrea L. Weiss, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Associate Professor of Bible, is Campaign Coordinator for American Values Religious Voices. A rabbi, she served as Associate Editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (URJ Press, 2008), and she has published Figurative Language in Biblical Prose Narrative: Metaphor in the Book of Samuel (Brill, 2006) and articles on metaphor and biblical poetry. [See LETTER 1]

Danielle Widmann Abraham, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ursinus College, is a scholar of contemporary Islam who researches religious responses to poverty, inequality, and social suffering. Her scholarly work explores the ways in which Islamic tradition intersects with social movements in South and Southeast Asia, as well as the contemporary United States.  She received her graduate degrees in Comparative Religion from Harvard Divinity School and serves as the co-chair of the Contemporary Islam Group at the American Academy of Religion. [See LETTER 37]

Randy Woodley, Distinguished Professor of Faith and Culture and Director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies at George Fox University and Portland Seminary, is a Native American activist/scholar and distinguished speaker, teacher and wisdom keeper. He addresses a variety of issues concerning American culture, faith, justice, diversity, racism, our relationship with the earth and Indigenous realities. His expertise has been sought in national venues as diverse as Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, Moody Radio and Time Magazine, and his books include The Harmony Tree: A Story of Healing and Community (Friesen, 2016), Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (Eerdmans, 2012) and Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity (Intervarsity, 2004). [See LETTER 40]

Homayra Ziad, Scholar of Islam at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, was formerly Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity College. With a doctorate in Islamic Studies from Yale University, she is deeply involved in interreligious education and training, as well as local, national and international interfaith initiatives and educational outreach on Islam. Her academic research has focused on Islamic spiritual traditions, religion and the arts, religion and humor, and ideas of vocation. She has been published in both academic and popular venues, including The Huffington Post, WYPR, The Baltimore Sun, AltMuslimah, and other venues. [See LETTER 92]

Adnan Zulfiqar, Assistant Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School in Camden, studies Islamic law/legal theory and criminal law, with a particular focus on its legal theory and history. Formerly the George Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he earned a J.D. (Law), M.A. (Islamic Studies), and completed his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation examined collective duties in Islamic law and current writing focuses on the jurisprudence of revolution. [See LETTER 98]