Francesca Stavrakopoulou (born 1975 in Bromley, London with an English mother and a Greek father) is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion in the University of Exeter's Department of Theology and Religion. The main focus of her research is Israelite and Judahite history and religion.
She is noted for her academic and media roles: presenting a three-part television series on the BBC The Bible's Buried Secrets (2011; not to be confused with the 2008 NOVA programme of the same name), and for contributions to Channel 4's series The Bible: A History. She describes herself as "an atheist with huge respect for religion" and regards her work as "a branch of history like any other". She has often been quoted as believing many of the Bible's major characters are merely fabrications created by ancient writers who "had a different understanding of what was fact or fiction."
Her DPhil from the University of Oxford, which examined the creation of an imagined past within the Hebrew Bible, was subsequently published with the title King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities.
Her second book was Land of our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration in Biblical Land Claims. She has also co-edited Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah and Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives. She was a junior research fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, before moving to Exeter.
Stavrakopoulou is the secretary of the British-based Society for Old Testament Study, and a member of the European Association of Biblical Studies and of the US-based Society of Biblical Literature.
She identifies as an atheist.
- BBC Special with Richard Dawkins
- Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter. (Accessed March 2011)
- Hannah Roberts and Paul Revoir, BBC's face of religion is a self-proclaimed atheist who claims God had a wife and Eve suffered from sexism, Daily Mail, 9 March 2011. (Accessed March 2011)
- "Was God's wife edited out of the Bible? Atheist claims the Almighty had partner known as Asherah". Daily Mail (London). 19 March 2011.
- Singh, Anita (17 March 2011). "Profile of the BBC's new face of religion". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Francesca Stavrakopoulou, King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities. (BZAW 338). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004. ISBN 3-11-017994-6.
- Wyatt, N. (2008) King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities. By Francesca Stavrakopoulou. J Theol Studies, 59(1): 222-223. doi:10.1093/jts/flm050
- Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Land of our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration in Biblical Land Claims. New York: T & T Clark International, 2010. ISBN 978-0-567-02881-5.
- Francesca Stavrakopoulou and John Barton, editors, Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah. New York: T & T Clark International, 2010. ISBN 978-0-567-03215-7.
- David G. Horrell, Cherryl Hunt, Christopher Southgate and Francesca Stavrakopoulou, editors, Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives. New York: T & T Clark International, 2010. ISBN 978-0-567-03303-1.
- About the Society, Society for Old Testament Study. (Accessed March 2011)
- Homepage Society of Biblical Literature. (Accessed March 2011).
- [Francesca Stavrakopoulou Twitter Account https://twitter.com/proffrancesca]