Visiting Professor of Religious Studies
Campus Phone: Ext. 5272
Campus Mail: P.O. Box 5052
Office: Garland Library 129
Campus or Site Location: Greeneville
Dr. Travis B. Williams came to Tusculum College as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in 2011. He completed his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Exeter (UK), where he focused on the New Testament epistle of 1 Peter. Dr. Williams teaches many of the Hebrew and Christian Traditions courses as well as various electives within the Religious Studies curriculum. Along with his experience in the Residential Program, he also commonly works with the Graduate and Professional Studies Program.
Dr. Williams has produced a number of articles which have appeared in a variety of internationally-recognized journals—from the Journal of Biblical Literature to the Bulletin for Biblical Research to Currents in Biblical Research. One of the specific topics of research with which he is presently involved is a monograph entitled Good Works in 1 Peter: A Sociological and Theological Response to Early Christian Suffering (WUNT; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014 [under contract]). This work concerns the theology and social strategy of ethics in the epistle of 1 Peter and attempts to situate the letter’s call to “good works” within the larger context of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. The study builds on his earlier work, Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering (NovTSup 145; Leiden: Brill, 2012), which explores the participation (or lack thereof) of early Christians within Greco-Roman society and the resultant conflict which emerged with non-Christians. Both of these monographs attempt to challenge deep-seated modern consensuses within Petrine studies–the latter on the nature of persecution represented in the epistle and the former on the Petrine author’s social and theological strategy.
Aside from his efforts in 1 Peter, Dr. Williams is also currently focused on the topic of patronage and civic benefaction in the Greco-Roman world and in the New Testament. He has recently begun a volume entitled, Civic Benefaction in the Greco-Roman World: Texts, Translations, and Commentary, which is meant to serve as a sourcebook for the study of civic benefaction (i.e., an ancient gift-exchange in which a member of the local or provincial elite used his (or her) private wealth or power to benefit a city, its citizenry, or a group of citizens, and in return, received reciprocal recognition of the contribution as a benefaction). This work will collect a representative selection of inscriptions which record beneficent practices from various regions and time-periods across the Greco-Roman world and will provide English translations, brief explanatory notes, commentaries, and full indices. In connection with this volume, Dr. Williams is also focusing considerable research attention upon the economic ideas and practices of the apostle Paul and his communities.