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Rodney A. Werline, Ph.D.

Rodney A. Werline (Ph.D., The University of Iowa, 1995) is the Leman and Marie Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies and Professor of Religious Studies. He also serves as Director of the Barton College Center for Religious Studies. While he teaches broadly in the areas of Biblical Studies, Christianity, and Judaism, his research and writing focus especially on early Judaism, and secondarily on Biblical Studies and early Christianity. Drawing on anthropological theories, especially ritual studies, his work highlights the embodied and experiential aspects of practice, as well as the micropolitics of ritual enactments. For nine years, he served as the series editor for Early Judaism and Its Literature, SBL Press, which publishes academic monographs and collected essays. He has authored three books and has co-edited eight others, along with writing many essays and articles. Currently, he and Dr. Daniel K. Falk (Penn State) serve as general editors for the Prayer in the Ancient World project (Brill Publishers), a massive critical collection of prayers from the beginnings of western civilization to the beginning of Islam. The project involves a team of international scholars, with about twelve area editors and over one hundred contributors. With both an interactive online version and a print edition planned, the reference work will consist of three print volumes totaling around 2 million words. He also continues to work on a book on ritual in the Bible for Westminster John Knox Press and A Commentary on Matthew for the series The New Testament in its Second Temple Period Context (Cascade Books).

He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and assists Barton College in continuing its relationship with the denomination.

At the center of his life are his grandchildren, along with his family. He also plays guitar and sings in local venues with his good friend. Nearly every summer includes he and his wife traveling to an interesting venue to catch the Dave Matthew Band live. In addition, he loves Americana and bluegrass music, especially live.


Authored Books

Whenever They Prayed: Dimensions of New Testament Prayer. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2021.

Pray Like This: Understanding Prayer in the Bible. London/New York: T&T Clark, 2007.

Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism: The Development of a Religious Institution. Society of Biblical Literature Early Judaism and its Literature 13. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998. 


Co-Edited Books

With Matthias Henze. Early Judaism and Its Modern Interpreters. 2nd ed Atlanta: SBL Press, 2020.

With Frances Flannery. The Bible in Political Debate: Does the Bible Really Say That? New York/London: T&T Clark, 2016.

With Colleen Shantz. Experientia, Volume 2: From Text to Experience. Early Judaism and its Literature. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.

With Frances Flannery-Dailey, and Colleen Shantz, Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Symposium 40. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008.