Professor of Religion
Direct Line: 423-636-7300 ext. 5272
Campus Phone: Ext. 5272
Campus Mail: P.O. Box 5052
Office: Garland Library 129
Department: College of Civic and Liberal Arts
Campus or Site Location: Greeneville
Ph.D. – Theology, with concentration in New Testament (University of Exeter)
Th.M. – Academic Ministry, with concentration in New Testament (Dallas Theological Seminary)
B.A. – Biblical Studies (Tennessee Temple University)
Dr. Travis B. Williams is a professor of Religion, specializing in ancient Jewish and Christian literature. He teaches introductory courses in Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, along with a variety of upper-level modules on subjects related to Jesus and the Gospels, the apostle Paul, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In all of these courses, he makes it his aim to help students become critical but empathetic evaluators of the thoughts, ideas, and belief systems generated by the texts of ancient Judaism and early Christianity so that they might be able to actively participate in, and meaningfully contribute to, their world—whether that be in the field of academia, in a congregational setting, or in other pursuits.
Outside the classroom, Dr. Williams travels both nationally and internationally speaking at universities, academic conferences, local churches, and other community organizations. Some of the topics on which he regularly lectures include: persecution in early Christianity, the Dead Sea Scrolls, pseudonymity and literary deception in the New Testament, and the historical Jesus in memory and oral tradition. For a number of years, he has also worked to coordinate Tusculum’s Theologian-in-Residence program, a lecture series designed to stimulate local pastors and laity through theological discussion.
During his time at Tusculum, Dr. Williams has been engaged in an extensive research agenda. His areas of specialty include the Catholic Epistles of the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The letter of 1 Peter has been a particular focus of his research. Over the past few years, he has published extensively on this epistle, including two major monographs (Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering. NovTSup 145. Leiden: Brill, 2012; and Good Works in 1 Peter: Negotiating Social Conflict and Christian Identity in the Greco-Roman World. WUNT 337. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014) along with a number of articles and essays. His latest work on this letter is a 1,700 page commentary in the prestigious International Critical Commentary series (co-authored with David G. Horrell, 1 Peter: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary. International Critical Commentary. London/New York: Bloomsbury, 2023).
In the field of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Dr. Williams’ research is driven by his interest in ancient media culture. He recently completed a monograph that seeks to chart a new methodological course in scholarship by employing memory theory as a way to direct historical study on the Teacher of Righteousness (History and Memory in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Remembering the Teacher of Righteousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). Most recently, he has turned his attention to the material aspects of the Scrolls and has just finished editing (with Chris Keith and Loren T. Stuckenbruck) a volume that considers what the Scrolls reveal about oral, written, and ritual forms of communication in antiquity (The Dead Sea Scrolls in Ancient Media Culture. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 144. Leiden: Brill, 2023).
Dr. Williams is currently writing a major critical commentary on the New Testament letters of Jude and 2 Peter, which will appear in the highly acclaimed Anchor Yale Bible Commentary series (Yale University Press). He is also working on a monograph that explores the role of secretaries in the composition of New Testament letters.
To view samples of his published work, visit http://tusculum.academia.edu/TravisWilliams