Timothy Beal

Quick Facts

IntroAmerican writer
Is Writer
From United States of America
Type Literature


Timothy K. Beal (born 1963) is a writer and scholar in the field of religious studies whose work explores matters of religion and American culture, past and present. He is currently Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Beal was born in Hood River, Oregon and was raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He went to college at Seattle Pacific University where he earned a B.A. in English in 1986. He earned a Master of Divinity at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Religion and Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at Emory University in 1995. Before joining the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, he was assistant professor of religious studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida (1994-1999). He was also Honorary Lecturer at the University of Glasgow in 1997.

He is married to Clover Reuter Beal, a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). They have two children, Sophie and Seth.


The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2011).

Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know (HarperOne, 2009).

Religion in America: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith (Beacon, 2005), which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and one of Publishers Weekly’s ten Best Religion Books of 2005

Religion and Its Monsters (Routledge, 2002), which was a Reviews in Religion and Theology Editor’s Choice

The Book of Hiding: Gender, Ethnicity, and Annihilation in Esther (Routledge, 1997);

Esther (Liturgical Press, 1999)

Theory for Religious Studies (co-authored with William E. Deal; Routledge, 2004)

Mel Gibson’s Bible: Religion, Popular Culture, and The Passion of the Christ (co-edited with Tod Linafelt; University of Chicago Press, 2006)

Reading Bibles, Writing Bodies: Identity and The Book (co-edited with David M. Gunn; Routledge, 1996)

God in the Fray: Essays in Honor of Walter Brueggemann (co-edited with Tod Linafelt; Fortress, 1998)

Other writings

Beal has also published essays on religion and American culture for magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer. He has been featured on radio shows including NPR’s All Things Considered and The Bob Edwards Show.


New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2005, Sarah Ferrell, “Cross Country: A Professor of Religion Investigates Unusual Pilgrimage Sites throughout Rural America,” p. 38.

San Diego Union Tribune, May 5, 2005, Richard N. Osting, “Holy Roaming Empire: Author’s ‘Roadside Religion’ Stops Off at Off-beat Spiritual Attractions,” E3-4 (Associate Press review which ran in many papers).

Commonweal, March 8, 2002, William Jordan, “Mysterium tremendum,” review of Religion and Its Monsters, p. 23.

Interpretation, April, 2001, Joan E. Cook, review of Esther, p. 188.

Publishers Weekly, November 12, 2001, Jana Riess, starred review of Religion and Its Monsters, p. S16.