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James Murphy

James Murphy


Associate Director and Associate Professor of Religion

Office Building

West Hall



Mailing Address

West Hall 118
School of American & Global Studies-Box 0510
University Station
Brookings, SD 57007


Dr. Murphy is Associate Director of the School of American and Global Studies, faculty of Religious Studies, and resident Biblical Scholar. He is one of less than twenty scholars in the world currently researching and writing about children in the Biblical World of antiquity, a sub field of inquiry that emerged in the late 2000s. He has published on children in Deuteronomy and 1 Samuel, but primarily writes on children in relation to the Jesus movement, the Gospels, and the hypothetical sayings gospel Q. He is currently exploring Jewish sectarian documents from the Second-Temple period in relation to children.
Specialties also include kinship, sexuality and asceticism, literary criticism, deconstruction, Greco-Roman religions, and Second Temple Judaism. He has co-led study abroads to Greece and participated in excavations at Banias, Israel. He has been with SDState since 2011, taught history at Evangel University from 2002-2006, and taught Old Testament as a grad student as Missouri State 1999-2001.


Curriculum Vitae.doc(51.5 KB)


Ph.D., Biblical Interpretation, University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology, 2011; MA, Religious Studies, Missouri State, 2000; BA, History and Social Science Education, Evangel University, 1998.

Academic Interests/Expertise

Torah, Gospels, Historical Jesus, Jewish sectarian Second-Temple history & literature, literary and deconstructive analysis, children in the Bible, women in the Bible, kinship, sexuality, and asceticism, Greco-Roman religions

Hebrew Bible & Christian Origins

Academic Responsibilities

Intro to Religion; World Religions; Old Testament; New Testament; The Gospels/Historical Jesus; Apocalyptic Texts & Sects; Women and Religion; Early Christian Era; the Reformation & Counter Reformation; Religion in American Culture

Awards and Honors

2017, Hendrickson Scholar / Cheever Lecture Award

Professional Memberships

Society of Biblical Literature

Work Experience

2019-present, Associate Director of American and Global Studies;
2017-present, Associate Professor of Religion, SDSU;
2011-2017, Assistant Professor of Religion, SDSU;
2006-2011, Affiliate faculty, Colorado Christian University;
2002-2006, Assistant Professor of History, Evangel University;
1999-2001, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Missouri State University

Creative Activities

2013. Kids and Kingdom: the Precarious Presence of Children in the Synoptic Gospels. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.

2019. "Children and the Sayings Source Q - What the Double Tradition Reveals about Q's Attitude toward Children, Part B: Q 11:19-20; 12:53; 14:26; and 17:1-2," Biblical Interpretation 27, no. 1 (in press).
2018. "Contrasting Portrayals of Children in 1 Samuel." Point of View Publishing. Online:
2018. "Focusing on the Child Next to Jesus in Mark 9:33-37." Point of View Publishing. Online:
2014. "Undesired Offspring and Child Endangerment in Jewish Antiquity," Journal of Childhood and Religion 5. Online:
2012. "Children in Deuteronomy: the Partisan Nature of Divine Justice," Biblical Interpretation 20, no. 1: 1-15.

Book Chapters:
2020. "Children in Mark: A Deconstructive Approach." Pages 196-216 in Listening to and Learning from Children in the Biblical World, eds. Kristine Henriksen Garroway and John W. Martens. Leiden: Brill.
2019. "The 'Lost Boys' (and Girls) of Q's 'Neverland.'" Pages 291-310 in T&T Clark Handbook to Children and Childhood in the Biblical World, eds. Sharon Betsworth and Julie Faith Parker. London, New York, Oxford, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark.

Book Reviews:
2019. Review of For Theirs is the Kingdom: Inclusion and Participation of Children in the Gospel According to Luke by Amy Lindeman Allen. Lexington/Fortress Press, 2019, in Review of Biblical Literature. Online:
2016. Review of Children in Early Christian Narratives by Sharon Betsworth. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013, in Review of Biblical Literature. Online:
2016. Review of The Reign of God is Such as These: a Socio-Literary Analysis of Daughters in the Gospel of Mark by Sharon Betsworth. London/New York: T&T Clark, 2010, in the Journal of Childhood and Religion. Online:
2010. Review of The Child in the Bible, eds. Marcia J. Bunge, et al. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008, in the Journal of Childhood and Religion. Online:

In Review:
"Children and the Sayings Source Q - What the Double Tradition Reveals about Q's Attitude toward Children, Part A: Q 7:31-32; 9:59-62; and 11:11-13," (in review).

Area(s) of Research

Current research involves children in relation 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and other Jewish sectarian Second-Temple texts. Recent research and publications on children have also included the Jesus movement of the first century, particularly as represented in the Gospel of Mark as well as the hypothetical source behind Matthew and Luke known as "Q."

Applications of Research

✓Recent Media Appearances

2019. “Future of Faith: James Murphy.” In the Moment with Lori Walsh. SDPB Radio. Dec. 16.



Biblical Quests