Barbara Brown Taylor

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Barbara Brown Taylor
Barbara Brown

(1951-09-21) September 21, 1951 (age 69)
Alma materYale Divinity School
OccupationHarry R. Butman Chair in Religion and Philosophy, Piedmont College, Georgia and Adjunct Professor of Spirituality, Columbia Theological Seminary, Georgia
Known forEpiscopal priest, teacher, and author
Board member ofThe Buechner Institute, Yale Divinity School, and The Istanbul Center
Spouse(s)E. Edward Taylor (since 1982)
Parent(s)Grace McGahee Brown and Earl Clement Brown

Barbara Brown Taylor (born September 21, 1951) is an American Episcopal priest, professor, author and theologian and is one of the United States' best known preachers.[1][2] In 2014, the TIME magazine placed her in its annual TIME 100 list of most influential people in the world.[3]

Education and recognition[edit]

Taylor did her undergraduate studies at Emory University where she graduated in 1973. She then went on to study at Yale Divinity School, where she graduated in 1976. She was ordained in 1984,[1] and became the rector of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta) in Clarkesville, Georgia in 1992.[4] She later left parish ministry and became a full-time professor at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia and an adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.[5] She taught World Religions and exposed her mainly Christian students to other faiths so they could better understand how various groups worship.[5]

In 1996, she was named one of the twelve "most effective" preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University.[6] She was awarded the 1998 Emory Medal by the Emory Alumni Association of Emory University for her distinguished achievement in education.[7] In February 2009, Barbara Brown Taylor led the 2nd annual Piedmont College religion conference in Athens, Georgia.[8] Taylor was also the keynote speaker at the conference in previous years.[9] In addition, Taylor gave the 2009 Annual Buechner Lecture at The Buechner Institute at King University. She has written twelve books on faith and spirituality.[1][10] In February 2010, days before Piedmont College's religion conference, Taylor ranked in the top ten most influential living preachers in a poll conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention.[11]


In the early 2000s, she chose to leave active ministry, while retaining her ordination. Her memoir of this time Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith was the first of a trilogy of books about redefining her faith followed by An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith and Learning to Walk in the Dark.

Private life[edit]

She lives on her farm in northern Georgia, with husband Edward Taylor.[3]


  • "He was alive and he was real". Christian Century. 110 (28): 967. 1993.
  • The Preaching Life. Cowley Publications. 1993. pp. 174. ISBN 978-1-56101-074-5.
  • Gospel Medicine. Cowley Publications. 1995. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-56101-110-0.
  • Bread of Angels. Cowley Publications. 1997. pp. 176. ISBN 978-1-56101-142-1.
  • God in Pain. Abingdon Press. 1998. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-687-05887-7.
  • Mixed Blessings. Cowley Publications. 1998. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-56101-162-9.
  • When God is Silent. Cowley Publications. 1998. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-56101-157-5.
  • Home By Another Way. Cowley Publications. 1999. pp. 212. ISBN 978-1-56101-167-4.
  • Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation. Cowley Publications. 2001. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-56101-189-6.
  • The Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion. Cowley Publications. 2001. pp. 109. ISBN 978-1-56101-169-8.
  • The Seeds of Heaven: Sermons on the Gospel of Matthew. Westminster. 2004. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-664-22886-6.
  • Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. HarperOne. 2007. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-06-087263-2.
  • "The poured-out church". Christian Century. 11: 35. 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  • An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. HarperOne. 2009. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-06-137046-5.
  • Learning to Walk in the Dark. HarperOne. 2014. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-06-202435-0.
  • Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others. HarperOne. 2019. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-06-240656-9.
  • Co-editor with David L. Bartlett, Feasting on the Word Commentary Series. Westminster John Knox Press. 2008.


  1. ^ a b c "Barbara Brown Taylor live at the Westminster Town Hall Forum". Minnesota Public Radio. March 5, 2009. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Dias (April 17, 2014). "Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness". TIME. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  3. ^ a b "TIME 100 ARTISTS: Barbara Brown Taylor". TIME. April 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
  4. ^ Virshup, Amy (June 15, 2006). "Newly released: Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  5. ^ a b Gross, Terry (March 11, 2019). "For Priest Turned Professor, 'Holy Envy' Is Key To Appreciating World Religions". NPR News. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  6. ^ Woodward, Kenneth L. (March 4, 1996). "Heard Any Good Sermons Lately?". Newsweek. Newsweek, Inc. Archived from the original on 29 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  7. ^ Emory Alumni Association. "Emory Medal Recipients". Archived from the original on 2009-10-28.
  8. ^ Cheesman, Heather (2009-02-23). "Know your neighbor conference: Teaching tolerance and interfaith in today's diverse community". The Navigator. Piedmont College. Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  9. ^ Lumpkin, Elise (2008-02-25). "Faculty uncovers 'Christ-haunted' South". The Navigator. Piedmont College. Archived from the original on 2010-10-17. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  10. ^ "Piedmont Professors' book signings". The Navigator. Piedmont College. 2005-03-21. Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
  11. ^ ABP staff (2010-02-02). "Billy Graham tops poll of most influential living preachers". Associated Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 6 February 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010.

Further reading[edit]