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Dr. Terryl  Givens
Dr. Terryl Givens
Professor of Literature and Religion
Bostwick Professor of English

"Mormonism and Politics in American History," Public lecture at UVa Law School, sponsored by the Rex Lee Legal Society, 20 February 2008.

"The Several Lives of the Book of Mormon," Annual Public Lecture, Co-Sponsored by the Boston University Dept. of Religion and Luce Program in Scripture, 4 February 2008.

"Helen Whitney and 'The Mormons,'" Panel at the American Academy of Religion Annual Convention, San Diego, 19 November 2007.

When Souls had Wings: Pre-existence in Western Thought," The American Academy of Religion Annual Convention, San Diego, 18 November 2007.

"Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon," James Madison University, Public Lecture, 23 February 2006.

"Joseph Smith and the Forging of Community," Forum Address to the BYU Community and broadcast on satellite TV internationally, Provo, Utah, 29 November 2005.

"Joseph Smith and the Vocation of a Prophet," Georgia State University, 18 November 2005. Public symposium.

"Reading an American Scripture: Interpreting Mormon's Book," Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Convention," Rochester, NY, 5 November, 2005.

"The Book of Mormon and Theology," Symposium on Joseph Smith: Ideas for the 21st Century, National University of Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 26-27 August 2005.

"The Legacies of Joseph Smith: Progressivism and Pluralism," Joseph Smith Bicentennial Symposium, Parliament House New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 21 May 2005.

"Joseph Smith: Prophecy, Process, and Plenitude," The Worlds of Joseph Smith Symposium, The Library of Congress, 6 May 2005.

"New Religious Movements and the Challenge to Mainstream Religion," Public Lecture, Massey University, Auckland, NZ, 15 June 2004.

"New Religious Movements and the Challenge to Mainstream Religion," Public Lecture, Multi-Faith Center, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia; 22 June 2004.

"Positioning the Book of Mormon in Literary and Cultural Studies," "Positioning Mormonism in Religious Studies Conference," Claremont Graduate School/School of Theology, 25 October 2004.

"Shelley's Frankenstein, A Star Named Kolob, and the Nature of Mormon Heresy."  Public lecture, Harvard Divinity School, 6 November 2003.

"The Book of Mormon and Cultural Studies."  Miller-Eccles Group, La Canada Flintridge, CA, 12 July 2003.

"Joseph Smith in the 21st Century"  Annual Meeting of the Mormon History Association, Kirtland Ohio, May 2003.

"The American Scripture and a New World Religion."  Public lecture, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2 April 2003.

"The Book of Mormon and the Future(s) of Mormonism."  Conference on Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Yale Divinity School, 28-31 March, 2003.

"'Chimeras of Boundless Grandeur and Realities of Little Worth': Toward a  Mormon Cultural History."  On occasion of Alumnus of Year Award Presentation, Brigham Young University College of Humanities, Provo, Utah, 17 Oct 2002.

"'Fit Audience Find Though Few': The Book of Mormon and its Audiences."  Plenary Address, Mormon History Association, Tucson, Arizona.  19 May 2002.

"Heresy and the Perils of Pluralism."  NEH Seminar Public Lecture, Utah Valley State College.  23 March 2001.

"The Book of Mormon and the (Futile) Search for Middle Ground."  Public Lecture, ISPART Institute, Brigham Young University, 20 March 2001.

"Vipers and Heroes in the Great American Saga."  Conference Fellow presentation at "Spiritual Frontiers 2000: Belief and Values in the Literary West,"  Brigham Young University.  29 March 2000.

"The Book of Mormon and Religious Epistemology."  International Conference on "Mormonism: The Next World Religion?"  University of Durham, England.  24 April 1999.

Respondent in panel session on "Viper on the Hearth."  Annual conference of the Association for Mormon Letters.   Salt Lake City, Utah.  28 February 1998.

"Romantic Agonies: Human Suffering and the Ethical Sublime."  American Conference on Romanticism, Park City, Utah,  4 October 1996.


Givens, Terryl, and Reid L. Neilson, eds. The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.

Parley P. Pratt: A Cultural and Intellectual Biography. With Matthew Grow. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Life in Western Thought. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Joseph Smith: Reappraisals After Two Centuries. Edited, with Reid Neilson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. (Winner of MHA Best Book and AML Criticism Award)

The Latter-day Saint Experience in America. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004.

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. (Six printings)

The Viper on the Hearth:  Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy.  Religion in America Series.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. (Winner of Chipman Award from Mormon Historical Assoc.)

Dragon Scales and Willow Leaves.  Illus. Andrew Portwood.  New York:  Putnam's Sons, 1997. (Junior Library Guild Selection, March 1998.)

Simon, Iumna Maria and Vinicius Dantas. "Lousy Poetry, Worse Society."  Trans. (from Portuguese) Terryl Givens and H.B. Cavalcanti.  In Claudia Ferman, The Postmodern in Latin and Latino Cultural Narrative. New York: Garland Press, 1996.


"New Religious Movements and Orthodoxy: The Challenge to the Religious Mainstream," FARMS Review of Books.

The Book of Mormon Critical Text Project," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 15.1 (2006).

"The Book of Mormon and Religious Epistemology," Dialogue 34.3-4 (fall-winter 2001): 31-54.

"The Book of Mormon and Dialogic Revelation."  Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10.2 (2001): 16-27.

"Caricature as Containment: Orientalism, Bondage, and the Construction of Mormon Ethnicity in Nineteenth Century American Popular Fiction."  Nineteenth-Century Contexts 18.4 (Winter 1995): 385-403.

"Augusto Frederico Schmidt: A Reconsideration of his Romanticism."  Luso-Brazilian Studies 28:2 (Winter 1991): 86-108.

"Blind Men and Hieroglyphs: The Collapse of Mimesis."  European Romantic Review 2:1 (Summer 1991): 61-80.

"Os Maias: Incest, Dilettantes, and the Ethics of Realism."  Hispanófila 100 (September 1990): 53-65.

Review of Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith and Dorothy Allred Solomon, Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in PolygamyBoston Globe 16 August 2003.

Review of Sarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century AmericaBYU Studies 41:3 (2002): 81-84.

Protocols of the (Other) Elders of Zion: Review of The History of the Saints, by John C. Bennett.  Dialogue 33.4 (winter 2000): 170-72.

"The Aristotelian Critique of Mimesis:  The Romantic Prelude."  Comparative Literature Studies 28:2 (1991): 121-136.


"The Book of Mormon," in Encyclopedia of Religion in America Edited by Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010.

"The Book of Mormon," in A New Literary History of America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, forthcoming.

"The Book of Mormon," in Choon-Leong Seow and Hermann Spieckermann , General Eds., Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (30 vols.). Berlin: Gruyter Publishing House, forthcoming.

"Latter-day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of, and its Theology," "Mormon, Book of," "Mormon Worship," "Joseph Smith," "Brigham Young."  In Daniel M. Patte, ed.,  Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity.  Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

"'Common-Sense' Meets the Book of Mormon: Source, Substance, and Prophetic Disruption," in Revisiting The Mormons: Persistent Themes, and Contemporary Perspectives. Eds. Cardell K. Jacobson, John P. Hoffmann, and Tim B. Heaton. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2008.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," in Eugene V. Gallagher and William M. Ashcraft, eds. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America,  2: 34-51. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006.

"Mormons." In American History through Literature, 1820-1870, ed. Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer (Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006), 759-761.

"Joseph Smith: Prophecy, Process, and Plenitude," BYU Studies 44.4 (2005): 55-68. Republished in The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress, ed. John Welch. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2006.

"Mormons."  In Christianity: A Complete Guide.  London: Continuum, 2005.

"'Adjectives of Mystery and Splendor': Byron and Romantic Religiosity."  In Recent Perspectives on European Romanticism, ed. Larry Peer,  Lewiston, NY: Mellon Press, 2002;  Originally published in Prisms: A Journal of Studies in Romanticism.  (Winter 2000): 29-47.

"'This Great Modern Abomination': Orthodoxy and Heresy in American Religion."  In Mormons and Mormonism: A Reader.  Eric Eliason, ed.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

"Romantic Agonies: Human Suffering and the Ethical Sublime." (Co-authored with Anthony Russell)  In Romanticism Across the Disciplines, ed. Larry Peer.  New York: University Press of America, 1998.

"Murder and Mystery 'Mormon Style': Violence as Mediation in American Popular Culture."  In Violence and Mediation in Contemporary Culture.  Ed. Marcel Cornis-Pope and Ronald Bogue.  Albany, New York: SUNY Press, 1996.

Additional Publications

"'Lightening Out of Heaven': Joseph Smith and the Forging of Community," BYU Studies 44.5 (2006): 23-42.

Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Comparative Literature
M.A., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
B.A., Brigham Young University
Contact Information
303-B Ryland Hall
(804) 289-8303
(804) 289-8313 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Romanticism, Literary Theory, Religion and Literature