Ellen F. Davis

Ellen F. Davis

Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology in the Divinity School

External address: 
303 Old Divinity, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90967, Durham, NC 27708-0967
(919) 660-3561

Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University Divinity School in North Carolina.

The author of eight books and many articles, her research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their response to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. Her most recent book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production.  Her other publications include Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching (Westminster John Knox, 2005); Who Are You, My Daughter? Reading Ruth through Image and Text (Westminster John Knox, 2003), an annotated translation accompanying woodcuts by Margaret Adams Parker; Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament (Cowley, 2002); and The Art of Reading Scripture (Eerdmans, 2003), co-edited with Richard Hays.

She has long been involved in inter-religious dialogue and is now cooperating with the Episcopal Church of Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture.


  • Ph.D., Yale University 1987
  • M.Div., Church Divinity School of the Pacific 1983

Davis, E. F. “Entering the story: teaching the Bible in the church.” In Sharper than a Two-Edged Sword, 44–62. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

Davis, E. F. “The soil that is Scripture.” In Engaging Biblical Authority, 36–44. Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox, 2007.

Davis, E. F. “"And Pharaoh will change his mind..." (Ezekiel 32:31) : dismantling mythical discourse.” In Theological Exegesis, 224–39. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.

Davis, E. F. “Holy preaching : ethical interpretation and the practical imagination.” In Reclaiming Faith, 197–224. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993.

Davis, E. F. “Swallowing hard : reflections on Ezekiel's dumbness.” In Signs and Wonders, 217–37. [S.l]: Society of Biblical Literature, 1989.


Davis, E. F. “Learning our place: the agrarian perspective of the Bible.” Word & World 29, no. 2 (March 1, 2009): 109–20.

Davis, E. F. “Hebrew without whining: teaching biblical languages in Sudan.” Christian Century 126, no. 1 (January 13, 2009): 30–31.

Davis, E. F. “Propriety and trespass: the drama of eating,” 2009, 203–16.

Davis, E. F. “Reasoning with scripture.” Anglican Theological Review 90, no. 3 (June 1, 2008): 513–19.

Davis, E. F. “Poised: A response to bonaventure's the soul's journey into god.” Theology Today 63, no. 2 (January 1, 2006): 215–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/004057360606300207. Full Text

Davis, E. F. “The tabernacle is not a storehouse: building sacred space.” Sewanee Theological Review 49, no. 3 (January 1, 2006): 305–19.

Ellen F Davis, E. F. “Feeling Your Way: Preaching the Psalms.” The Clergy Journal 82, no. 2 (2005).

Ellen F Davis, E. F. “The Bible and Our Topsoil.” Tikkun 19, no. 4 (2004).

Davis, E. F. “Reading the Bible confessionally in the Church.” Anglican Theological Review 84, no. 1 (December 1, 2002): 25–35.

Davis, E. F. “Slaves or Sabbath-keepers: a biblical perspective on human work.” Anglican Theological Review 83, no. 1 (December 1, 2001): 25–40.