Shively T. J. Smith

Assistant Professor of New Testament; Director, PhD Program

Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology (Boston, MA). She completed her PhD in New Testament Studies at Emory University, publishing her first book called, Strangers to Family: Diaspora and First Peter’s Invention of God’s Household with Baylor University Press. She is completing a commentary on Second Peter for SBL Press and several articles on Diaspora in the New Testament. As a scholar of New Testament, Smith writes and teaches on all 27 books of the New Testament, but her particular focus is on the traditions of Peter and the General Letters of the New Testament, diaspora studies, approaches to biblical interpretation (hermeneutics), Womanist and African American biblical interpretation, and Howard Thurman.

Smith has studied at a variety of institutions, including: Fisk University (Nashville, TN), Emory University Candler School of Theology (Atlanta, GA), Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA), and at Oxford University (Oxford, UK) as an English-Speaking Union Luard Fellow. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion, Association for Jewish Studies, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. She serves on the editorial boards for SBL’s Emory Studies in Early Christianity and Semeia Studies as well as the board of trustees for the Forum for Theological Exploration. She is a contributor to the revision review of the NRSV and the new History Channel Documentary, “Jesus, His Life.” Smith’s work has been supported by organizations such as the Forum for Theological Exploration, Louisville Institute, Ford Foundation, Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Black Women in Church and Society Program, Social Science Research Council, and the Mellon Mays Fellowship Program.

Since her graduation, Smith has emerged as a sought-after scholar, teacher, preacher, and writer who is dedicated to the service of academic theological studies and ecumenical conversations across multiple arenas. She has contributed to multiple writing projects and series, including Feasting on the Gospels, Reading & Writing Theologically, and the forthcoming series, Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship. She is a regular contributor to the online Working Preacher Lectionary series and the Odyssey Network’s “On Scripture” online series and “Odyssey Impact” campaigns. She is a frequent commentator on the Recy Taylor Documentary, “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” and the Howard Thurman Documentary, “Backs Against the Wall.”

Smith has served on a variety of academic boards, serving as a member of the Status of Women in the Profession for the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). She has also served on SBL’s Women in the Bible Steering Committee and participated in the Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity Colloquy. She has served as a national mentor for the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) and has been recognized as an outstanding alumna and mentor by IRT’s Maryland Alumni Chapter and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. She has been recognized as the 2018 Scholar in Residence for Foundry UMC in Washington, DC and, currently, serves as the Scholar in Residence at the “Cathedral of the AME,” Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC.

Selected Publications

Strangers to Family: Diaspora and 1 Peter’s Invention of God’s Household (Baylor University Press, 2016)

Second Peter Commentary for the Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity series in SBL Press (forthcoming Spring 2020)

“Strengths and Gaps of Foundations for Sociorhetorical Exploration,” in Welcoming the Nations: International Sociorhetorical Explorations, edited by Vernon K. Robbins and Roy Jeal (International Voices in Biblical Studies series; Atlanta: SBL Press, forthcoming Fall 2019)

“One More Time with Assata on My Mind: A Womanist Rereading of the Escape to Egypt (Matt 2:13– 23) in Dialogue with an African American Woman Fugitive Narrative ,” in Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse, edited by Gay L. Byron and Vanessa Lovelace (Semeia Studies 85; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016)

“Writing Briefly,” in Writing Theologically: Foundations for Learning, edited by Eric D. Barreto (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), 45-58

Faculty Types