Terryl L. Givens was born in upstate New York, raised in the American southwest, and did graduate work in Intellectual History (Cornell) and Comparative Literature (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill, 1988), working with Greek, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English languages and literatures. As Professor of Literature and Religion, and the Jabez A. Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Richmond, he teaches courses in Romanticism, nineteenth century cultural studies, and the Bible and Literature. He has published in literary theory, British and European Romanticism, Mormon studies, and intellectual history. The New York Times has praised him for his “provocative writing,” and Harpers has called him “fair-minded, scholarly, and unbiased.”
In addition to appearances on NPR, CNN, and Frontline’s The Mormons, Dr. Givens has authored and edited several books. These include Feeding the Flock: The Foundations of Mormon Thought vol. 2 (Oxford 2017); Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought vol. 1 (Oxford 2014); The Oxford Handbook to Mormonism (with Phil Barlow, Oxford 2014); The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormonism in America (with Reid Neilson, Columbia 2014); Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism (with Matthew Grow, Oxford 2011); When Souls had Wings: Pre-Mortal Life in Western Thought (Oxford 2010); The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2009); Joseph Smith: Reappraisals After Two Centuries (with Reid Neilson, Columbia 2008); People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture (Oxford 2007); The LDS Experience in America (Greenwood 2004); By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Oxford 2003); and The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (Oxford 1997; revised 2013);
He has also published, with Fiona Givens, The Christ Who Heals (Deseret 2017); The Crucible of Doubt (Deseret 2014), and The God Who Weeps (Deseret, 2012). Current projects include The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism’s Beleaguered Scripture (with Brian Hauglid, Oxford 2019); Stretching the Heavens: Eugene England, Mormonism, and the Dilemmas of Discipleship (UNC Press 2020); and What Everyone Needs to Know About Mormonism (Oxford 2020).
Dr. Givens makes his home with Fiona in the village of Montpelier, Virginia amidst abundant woods and wildlife.