Professor of Religion
Year Started at JMU: 2007
Contact Info

Contact Information:

Professor of Religion, Department of Philosophy and Religion
James Madison University
MSC 8006
104 Cleveland Hall
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
phone: 540.568.2830


Ph.D. in Religion, The University of Iowa (Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman World)
M.A. in Religion, The University of Iowa
B.S. in Environmental Science, The College of William and Mary (Environmental Geology and Ecology)


Professor Flannery is a dedicated teacher who teaches in the areas of Hebrew Bible, Judaism, religious terrorism, world religions, religion and animals, and religion and the environment. She was a 2014-2015 State Finalist for the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2012-2013 recipient of the Carl Harter Distinguished Teacher Award for the College of Arts and Letters at JMU. Her courses include: World Religions (REL 101); Introduction to the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament (REL 201); Judaism (REL 320); Apocalypticism, Terrorism, and Peace (REL/IA 363); Apocalypticism and Mysticism in Early Judaism and Early Christianity (REL 460); Jewish Mysticism (REL 460); Religion and the Environment (REL 460); Religion and Animals (REL 323); and The Other Bibles: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls (REL 363).  Her teaching is marked by an experiential, subject-centered style, which has included hands on examination of ancient artifacts, reenactments of the Community Meal of the Dead Sea Scroll community, and visits to local sustainable farms.



Frances Flannery, Ph.D. is currently a Trinity Longroom Hub Humanities Fellow, Trinity College, Dublin, 2020-21 (extended to May 2022). She is the author and editor of over fifty-five publications large and small, including the co-edited Biblical Wisdom: Then and Now (Routledge, 2021), Understanding Apocalyptic Terrorism: Countering the Radical Mindset (Routledge, 2016), the co-edited The Bible in Political Debate: What Does It Really Say? (Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2016), the co-edited Experientia, Vol. 1: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (Brill/SBL 2008), and Dreamers, Scribes, and Priests: Jewish Dreams in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras (Brill 2004). She specializes in apocalypticism in early Judaism and early Christianity, particularly as it relates to dreams, visions, and religious experience, but also as it relates to contemporary challenges such as religious terrorism, identity formation, environmental care, and religiously motivated violence. Her current research focus is eco-theology that addresses the relationship of earth, human, and non-human animals in the Hebrew Bible, bringing together her expertise in biblical studies with her former career in Environmental Science. She spends much of her time engaging in community peacebuilding, interfaith dialogue, and public education on religion and climate change.

  • Selected Speaking Engagements:

“From Herem to Gog and Magog: The Genocidal Ideal in the Hebrew Bible and Early Jewish Texts,“ Plenary Lecture, Conference on Religion and Violence, McGill University and Concordia University (Montreal, Canada, April 17-20, 2018).

“Theorizing the Social Function of Torture and Torture Narratives: In-Group/Out-Group Formation as a Commitment Mechanism,” Torture, Abuse, and Desecration in the Name of Religion, Brown University (Providence RI, May 7-9, 2017).

“Countering Violent Extremism: Peace Strategies,” at conference on “The Ecology of Violent Extremism,” Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, and the Alliance for Peacebuilding (Harrisonburg VA, Nov. 5-6, 2016).

“Rethinking ‘Counter-terrorism’ in Light of the Rising Nuclear Threat from Apocalyptic Al Qaeda and ISIS,” Exploring the Religious-Policy/Security Nexus in Responding to Critical Contemporary Regional/Global Challenges, Kozmetsky Center, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, with NATO, Public Diplomacy Division (Austin TX, Nov. 1-2, 2016).

"Our Apocalyptic Moment: The Rise of Terrorism, the Collapsing of Modernity, and the Fight for Social Memory,” Keynote Speaker and Professor of Master Class, Autumn School, NOSTER – Netherlands School of Theology and Religion and NISIS – Netherlands Interuniversity School of Islamic Study (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Oct. 25-28, 2016).

  • Languages:

Native Fluency: English.  Reading Fluency: Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Attic and Koine Greek, Syriac, French, German. Rudimentary: Modern Hebrew, Modern Greek, Coptic. 


Service and Engagement with the World:

Professor Flannery is former Interim Academic Unit Head of the Dept. of Philosophy and Religion (2018-2020), Assessment Coordinator for the Religion program (2013 and 2015-present), and Founder and former Executive Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace (CISTP) at JMU (https://www.jmu.edu/cistp/ ) (2013-2019), which brought together intelligence analysts, NGOs, policy makers, and academics to change paradigms related to countering violent extremism. For the National Society of Biblical Literature, she is part of the Educational Resources and Review Committee, working on the public education front of SBL. Flannery is deeply committed to issues of inclusion on campus, the local community, and the academy, and is a 2017 Faculty Recipient of the James Madison University Diversity Enhancement Award and 2016 Recipient, IDEA (Innovation in Diversity, Education, and Access) Grant from the Office of Access and Inclusion for her program support of first generation students. 


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