Terryl Givens

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Terryl Givens
Born Terryl Lynn Givens
(1957-04-27) April 27, 1957 (age 58)
Residence Richmond, Virginia
Nationality United States
Alma mater Brigham Young
(comparative literature, 1981)
University of North Carolina (Ph.D., comparative literature, 1988)
Occupation James A. Bostwick Professor of English and Religion , University of Richmond[1]
Spouse(s) Fiona Givens[1]
Website TerrylGivens.com

Terryl Lynn Givens (born 1957) is professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, where he holds the James A. Bostwick Chair in English. Givens teaches courses in 19th century studies and literary theory, and focused his early research and publications there, but he is best known for his books and articles on Mormon history, culture, and theology.

His book By the Hand of Mormon was the first critique of the Book of Mormon and its relationship to Mormonism to be published by a major academic press (Oxford University Press).


Terryl Givens was born in rural upstate New York on April 27, 1957, but spent his childhood in Arizona and then Virginia.[citation needed] He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in São Paulo, Brazil. He received his bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brigham Young University in 1981 and his PhD in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina in 1988.[citation needed] He accepted a position to teach English literature at the University of Richmond in the same year, and has lived near Richmond with his family since then.[citation needed]

Givens wife, Fiona Givens, is a Latter-day Saint who was raised as a Catholic. She has co-authored some of his books and been involved in some theologically related work on her own, such as discussing the possibility of fully developing a theology of Heavenly Mother in a Neal A. Maxwell Institute Podcast.[2]

Early work[edit]

Givens's early work focused on literary studies and specifically romanticism. His dissertation and early publications were on the classical theory of mimesis and its dissolution in the 19th century. He also published with Putnam a children’s book, Dragon Scales and Willow Leaves.[citation needed]

Later work (Mormon history)[edit]

Givens published his first book - The Viper on the Hearth - in 1997.[citation needed] His second book is By the Hand of Mormon.[citation needed] In 2011 a third book by Givens, this time co-authored with Matthew J. Grow, Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism was published by Oxford University Press. This is a biography of Parley P. Pratt, one of the first 12 apostles of Mormonism.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]

The New York Times referred to his work as “provocative”[3] and Harper’s praised him for being “fair-minded and unbiased.”[4] Givens is a practicing Mormon who served as bishop in a local congregation for some years.[5]



Edited volumes[edit]

Articles and papers[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Prominent Author Fiona Givens To Be Keynote Speaker At The Sunstone Education Foundation’s Christ Conference December 29, 2012". Prweb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  2. ^ Article on Podcast on theology of Heavenly Mother
  3. ^ Bobrick, Benson: The Gospel According to Joseph Smith, page 2. The New York Times, August 18, 2002. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9503E0D8163AF93BA2575BC0A9649C8B63
  4. ^ Davenport, Guy: By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Subject of Review). Harpers, July 2002. http://www.harpers.org/subjects/ByTheHandOfMormonTheAmericanScriptureThatLaunchedANewWorldReligionBook/SubjectOf/Review
  5. ^ Daniel Peterson (22 July 2010). "Daniel Peterson: Terryl Givens making his mark in Mormon writing". Mormon Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 

External links[edit]