Upcoming Event

Candida Moss at Harvard Book Store


God's Ghostwriters:
Enslaved Christians and the Making of the Bible 

in conversation with DR. SHIVELY T.J. SMITH


March 26, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store and Harvard University's Committee on the Study of Religion welcomes CANDIDA MOSS—Edward Cadbury Chair of Theology at the University of Birmingham and award-winning author of Divine Bodies and Bible Nation—for a discussion of her new book God's Ghostwriters: Enslaved Christians and the Making of the Bible. She will be joined in conversation by DR. SHIVELY T.J. SMITH—Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology and author of Strangers to Family: Diaspora and First Peter’s Invention of God’s Household

About God's Ghostwriters

For the past two thousand years, Christian tradition, scholarship, and pop culture have credited the authorship of the New Testament to a select group of men: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul. But hidden behind these named and sainted individuals are a cluster of enslaved coauthors and collaborators. Although they almost all go unnamed and uncredited, these essential workers were responsible for producing the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament: making the parchment and papyri on which Christian texts were written, taking dictation, and polishing and refining the words of the apostles. When the Christian message began to move independently from the first apostles, it was enslaved missionaries who undertook the dangerous and arduous journeys across the Mediterranean and along dusty Roman roads to move Christianity from Jerusalem and the Levant to Rome, Spain, North Africa, and Egypt—and into the pages of history. The influence of these enslaved contributors on the spread of Christianity, the development of foundational Christian concepts, and the making of the Bible was enormous, yet their role has been almost entirely overlooked until now.

Filled with profound revelations both for what it means to be a Christian and for how we read individual texts themselves, God’s Ghostwriters is a groundbreaking and rigorously researched book about how enslaved people shaped the Bible, and with it all of Christianity.

Praise for God's Ghostwriters

"At once eminently readable and rigorously researched, God’s Ghostwriters cements Candida Moss as the most compelling voice in Biblical scholarship. The role of enslaved people in the writing and dissemination of the gospels has been ignored for far too long. We all owe Moss a debt of gratitude for this monumental and eye-opening work.” —Reza Aslan, New York Times bestselling author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

"A fascinating and beautifully written book. The Bible is the word of God—but who, precisely, put that word on the page? Here, Candida Moss makes the invisible hands that wrote the Bible visible. She writes with a depth of scholarship and a lightness of touch that make this book both powerful and compelling." —Catherine Nixey, author of The Darkening Age

"From the first paragraphs of God’s Ghostwriters, I was entranced. Everything that Candida Moss writes is worth reading, but she has outdone herself here by bringing enslaved people in the ancient world to life, in the process shining a new light on the roots of Christianity. The results are thought-provoking, intensely interesting, and immensely readable." —Eric Cline, bestselling author of 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Candida Moss
Candida Moss

Candida Moss

Candida Moss is Edward Cadbury Chair of Theology at the University of Birmingham, prior to which she taught for almost a decade at the University of Notre Dame. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD from Yale University. The award-winning author or co-author of seven books, she has also served as Papal News Commentator for CBS News and writes a column for The Daily Beast. She has written for and had her work reported on in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Times Higher Education Supplement, The Guardian, Slate, New Scientist, BBC.com, Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN.com, POLITICO, POLITICO Europe, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Christian Century, Daily Mail, and Le Monde. In addition to regularly commenting on religious affairs for CBS, Moss has served as an on-air expert for CNN and Fox News, and appeared in documentaries for CNN, NBC, National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Lifetime, BBC, PBS, E!, and the Smithsonian Channel. She lives in New York.

Photo Credit: Brian McConkey

Dr. Shively T.J. Smith
Dr. Shively T.J. Smith

Dr. Shively T.J. Smith

Shively T. J. Smith, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology.  She authored Strangers to Family: Diaspora and First Peter’s Invention of God’s Household and Interpreting 2 Peter through African American Women's Moral Writings. In addition to biblical studies, she is a Howard Thurman scholar, having written articles like ““Thurman-eutics: Howard Thurman’s Clothesline for the Interpretation of the Life of the Mind and Journey of the Spirit.”  A sought-after speaker, teacher, commentator, and scholar, Dr. Smith has presented for the History Channel’s documentary series, “Jesus, His Life;” scholarly panels broadcasted on CSPAN; and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (among other spaces). She is the resident scholar for the historic church of Frederick Douglass and Paul Laurence Dunbar, “the Cathedral” of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Metropolitan AME Church (Washington, DC).

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Harvard’s Committee on the Study of Religion oversees the A.B. concentration in the Comparative Study of Religion, and the Ph.D. program in the Study of Religion. Faculty are drawn from Harvard Divinity School and the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, and from many disciplines across the humanities and social sciences, to reflect the dynamic force of religion in shaping cultures and complex civilizations, around the world and throughout history. Click here to learn more. 

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