Beth Allison Barr

Beth Allison Barr
James Vardaman Professor of History
High Res Photo
The James Vardaman Endowed Professor of History

European Women, Medieval & Early Modern England, Church History

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ph.D., May 2004
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA, August 1999
  • Baylor University, BA, magna cum laude, December 1996
Academic Interests and Research

Dr. Barr’s research focuses on women and religion in medieval and early modern England, focusing especially on vernacular sermons and devotional literature. She is interested in how the advent of Protestantism affected women in Christianity as well as how and why medieval perceptions of women in religious literature both changed and stayed the same across the Reformation era. More recently, her research has expanded to include modern evangelicalism (especially Baptists), but her approach is always rooted in the medieval world.


Beth Allison Barr received her B.A. in History (with a minor in Classics) from Baylor University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of The Pastoral Care of Women in Late Medieval England, co-editor of The Acts of the Apostles: Four Centuries of Baptist Interpretation, co-editor of Faith and History: A Devotional, and—most recently—the author of the best selling The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth. Dr. Barr writes regularly on The Anxious Bench, a religious history blog on Patheos, and has contributed to Religion News Service, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, The Dallas Morning News, Sojourners, Baptist News Global, etc. Her work has been featured by NPR and The New Yorker, and she is actively sought as an academic speaker. You can find more about her public writings, interviews, and podcasts on her website Since receiving tenure in the History department in 2014, Dr. Barr has served as Graduate Program Director in History (2016-2019), received a Centennial Professor Award (2018), received appointment as a Faculty-in-Residence for the LEAD Living and Learning Community in Allen/Dawson Residential Hall (where she has lived and served since 2018), and served as an Associate Dean in the Baylor Graduate School (2019-2022). She is also a Baptist pastor’s wife and mom of two great kids.

  • The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, April 2021. Trade press based on academic research.
    • USA Today Best Seller
    • Publishers Weekly Best Seller
    • Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight) Book of the Year 2021
    • Christianity Today 2022 Book Award Finalist (History & Biography)
    • Featured by NPR, The New Yorker, Religion News Service, German Public Radio, Newsweek, The Dallas Morning News, Publishers Weekly, The Holy Post, Religion & Politics (John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University), Premier Christianity (UK), National Catholic Reporter, Spectrum Magazine, Sojourners, Baptist News Global, The Waco Tribune Herald, The Wacoan, as well as more than 100 podcasts and other news sources
    • Five printings in less than six months
    • Korean & Portuguese translations in progress (to be released in 2023)
  • Faith and History: A Devotional. Co-editor with Chris Gehrz. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2020.
Refereed Grants
Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, the Louisville Institute, a Lilly Endowment Program. Weak and Silent Vessels: The Impact of the English Bible on Christian Women. 2013-2014.
Courses Taught at Baylor
  • HIS 1305 World History to 1500
  • HIS 3395 Historiography: The Philosophy and Methodology of History
  • HIS 4334: Women in Europe to 1200
  • HIS 4335: Women in Europe since 1200
  • HIS 4340: Medieval Castles
  • HIS 4326: Early Medieval Europe, c. 300-1000
  • HIS 4327: High Middle Ages, c. 1000-1450
  • HIS 4341: Tudor-Stuart Britain
  • HIS 5320: Seminar in European History for Graduate Students
    • Medieval Christianity
    • Women and Religion in England, 1350-1650
    • Women's History and Theory
Graduate Advisor
  • E. Joseph Wilson, 2nd year PhD student, Baylor History (co-director with David Whitford)
  • Katherine Goodwin, 3rd year PhD student, Baylor History
  • Heidi Campbell, 3rd year PhD student, Baylor History (co-director with Philip Jenkins)
  • Elizabeth Marvel, ABD, Baylor History, Dissertation “’Present Your Bodies a Sacrifice to the Lord’: Bishops, Nuns, and Pastoral Care in Late Medieval England”
  • Eric (Joe) Wilson, MA graduate 2020, Baylor History, Thesis “An Examination of English Catholic Preaching Under Queen Mary I, 1553-1558”
  • Lynneth Miller (Renberg), PhD graduate 2018, Baylor History, Dissertation “‘Satan Danced in the Person of the Damsel’: Dance, Sacrilege, and Gender, 1280-1640”
    • Lynneth’s dissertation book received the Founder’s Award from the Sixteenth Century Society
  • Anna Redhair (Wells), MA graduate 2018, Baylor History, Thesis “Women on the Move: Representations of Female Pilgrims in Medieval England and Ethiopia”
  • Annelise Henley, MA graduate 2017, Baylor History, Thesis “An Examination of Women’s Piety as Depicted in Late Medieval and Early Modern Stained Glass”
  • Kathryn Novak, BA graduate 2015, Baylor History, Honors Thesis, “Medieval Mysticism: A Comparison of Christina of Markyate, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe”
  • Taylor Mazzola (Sims), MA graduate 2014, Baylor History, ““Verie Needfull for this Time”: Representations of Women in Sixteenth-Century English Prayer Manuals”
  • Meghan Clark, MA graduate 2013, Baylor History,“Hysteria, Witchcraft, and Women’s Bodies: A ReExamination of Robert Jorden’s A Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother”
  • Laura Oliver (Miller), MA graduate 2012, Baylor History, “She should have more if she were ruled and guided by them.” Elizabeth Woodville and Margery Kempe: Female Agency in Late Medieval England”
  • Sarah Gross, MA graduate 2012, Baylor History, “Sed rudibus et indoctis”: Women, Orthodoxy, and the Roseberry Rolle Manuscript
  • Laura Oliver (Miller), BA graduate 2010, Baylor History, “Eleanor Aquitaine and Anne Boleyn: Female Political Power in England”
Honor Thesis Advisor
  • Currently Honors Thesis advisor for Katie Novack, to defend 2015 Honors Thesis Director for Laura Oliver (2010): Eleanor Aquitaine and Anne Boleyn: Female Political Power in England.
Curriculum Vitae

Beth Allison Barr