Richard Purcell, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

In teaching biblical studies, I strive to help students hear and engage with voices other than their own, both in the texts that we study and in classroom dialogue. I work to encourage students to become critical Christian thinkers, individuals that listen with empathy and speak carefully. The study of religious traditions fosters empathy and flexibility in students that will benefit them in any path they choose to pursue.

- Richard Purcell

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Richard Purcell

building is Edge Hall - room is 310
Phone 863.680.4185


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Dr. Richard Anthony Purcell received his Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and his doctorate in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament from Emory University. His research interests include biblical poetry, ancient Near Eastern art, gender theory, and expressions of rhetoric in both art and text. His dissertation “Icons of Royal Power: Viewing the Rhetoric of the Royal Psalms in the Context of Ancient Near Eastern Royal Art” contextualizes the royal psalms within ancient Near Eastern royal art in an attempt to view the royal psalms as icons in their own right, complex constellations of imagery that sustain royal identities and deal with societal anxieties. His other publications focus on how ancient art relates to biblical studies as well as how modern theories of gender might help us better understand the rhetoric of ancient texts. He is currently writing a book with T & T Clark on how gender, ethnicity, and class ideals shape the rhetoric of the book of Ruth.


As for hobbies, Richard enjoys hiking, camping, and relaxing in nature.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Emory University, 2020
  • Master of Arts in Religion, Yale Divinity School, 2015
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Brewton-Parker College, 2013

Honors and Awards

  • Tam Institute for Jewish Studies Fellowship, Emory University, 2015–2020     
  • Marvin H. Pope Prize in Biblical Hebrew, Yale Divinity School, 2015
  • Award for Academic Excellence in Christian Studies, Brewton-Parker College, 2013

Publications and Exhibitions

Richard A. Purcell, Ruth and Traumatized Hope: The Interplay of Identity and Imagination in Reading the Book of Ruth. The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies. Bloomsbury/T&T Clark. Under Contract for Fall 2025.
Brent A. Strawn, Richard A. Purcell, and Jeffrey G. Audirsch, eds. The Religions around the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Under Contract for Fall 2022.
Richard A. Purcell, Icons of Royal Power: Viewing the Rhetoric of the Royal Psalms in the Context of Ancient Near Eastern Royal Art. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis. Leuven: Peeters. Monograph under Review.
Richard A. Purcell and Joel M. LeMon, “Egyptian Gods and Religion,” in The Religions around the Old Testament. Edited by Brent A. Strawn, Richard Anthony Purcell, and Jeffrey G. Audirsch. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Under Contract for Fall 2022.
Richard A. Purcell, “Names, Naming (People) | Hebrew Bible/Old Testament” and “Names, Naming (Places) | Hebrew Bible/Old Testament” in The Encyclopaedia of the Bible and its Reception. Berlin: De Gruyter. In Press.
Richard A. Purcell, “Introduction to the Book of Ruth,” in The Hebrew Scriptures. Edited by Joshua Stewart. Tullahoma, TN: McGahan Publishing House. Under Contract for Summer 2021.
Richard A. Purcell, “The King as Priest? Royal Imagery in Psalm 110 and Ancient Near Eastern Iconography.” Journal of Biblical Literature 139/2 (June 2020): 275–300.
Richard A. Purcell, “Yhwh, Moses, and Pharaoh: Masculine Competition as Rhetoric in the Exodus Narrative.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 44/4 (May 2020): 532–550.
Joel M. LeMon and Richard Purcell, “The Garments of God: Iconographic Case Studies from Isaiah 6:1; 59:17; and 63:1–6,” in Clothing and Nudity in the Hebrew Bible. Edited by Christoph Berner, Manuel Schäfer, Martin Schott, Sarah Schulz, Martina Weingärtner. New York: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2019.