New Testament and Christian Origins
M.Div., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Union Theological Seminary
The Rev. Dr. Gay L. Byron is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. Her scholarship focuses on liberation and womanist interpretations of the Bible, the Pauline epistles, race and ethnicity in early Christian writings, and the origins of Christianity in ancient Ethiopia. She is the recipient of several fellowships for her research, which identifies and examines ancient Ethiopic (Ge`ez) sources for the study of the New Testament and other early Christian writings. She is the author of Symbolic Blackness and Ethnic Difference in Early Christian Literature (Routledge Press), co-editor of Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse (Society of Biblical Literature Press), and most recently co-editor of Black Scholars Matter: Visions, Struggles, and Hopes in Africana Biblical Studies (Society of Biblical Literature Press, 2022). Her essays and articles are included in publications such as True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, the Women’s Bible Commentary, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, Teaching Theology and Religion, Biblical Interpretation, and the Presbyterian Outlook. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biblical Literature and is a co-editor for a book series on Womanist Interpretations of Scripture (Lexington/Fortress Academic Press). She lectures at theological schools and universities -- nationally and internationally -- on topics dealing with race, ethnicity, and the Bible; African American and womanist hermeneutics; Ethiopic manuscripts; and early Ethiopian Christianity. From 2020-2022, she served on the Black Scholars Matter Task Force of the Society of Biblical Literature.
During 2021-2022, she collaborated with colleagues in the Manuscript Migration Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute (Duke University) as a Humanities Unbounded Visiting Faculty Fellow. Her project, "The 'Invisible' Lives of Ethiopic Manuscripts," calls attention to the 112 Ge'ez manuscripts in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library through the use of archival methods and digital humanities technology. For more details, see: https://humanitiesunbounded.duke.edu/gay-l-byron.
Dr. Byron has also served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Divinity and, from 2015-2018, she served as the PI for a grant sponsored by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. dealing with the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers (ECFFM). Her scholarship and teaching at the Divinity School is enhanced by her service as an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament (Teaching Elder) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is active as a keynote speaker, lecturer, and workshop leader throughout the country for a variety of denominational bodies.
Originally from Tampa, FL, she holds degrees from Florida State University (B.S.), Clark Atlanta University (M.B.A.), and Union Theological Seminary in New York City (M.Div. and Ph.D.). She has two sons and enjoys spending time with family and friends, discovering hidden artistic treasures, and pursuing various sporting and cultural activities.