Introducing our 2021 Keynote Speaker:
The Rev. Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D.
Judy Fentress-Williams is in bi-vocational ministry in Alexandria, VA as the Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary and Senior Assistant to the Pastor for Teaching and Preaching at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Dr. Fentress-Williams received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Yale University in 1999. She earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and her A.B. in English from Princeton University with certificates in African-American Studies and American Studies. A product of Christian School from kindergarten through 12th grade, Judy was steeped in the study of scripture at home, in church and in school.
Prior to her appointment at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2002, she was a member of the faculty at Hartford Seminary as a Professor of Hebrew Bible. There she was also the director of the Black Ministries Program, a certificate program designed to meet the needs of African-American clergy and laity in the greater Hartford area. Today, the Rev. Dr. Fentress-Williams lives at the intersection of the church and the academy. In addition to her tenured teaching position at Virginia Theological Seminary, she oversees the ministerial staff, the Ministers in Training program and works with the Christian Life Institute.
Dr. Fentress-Williams’ published work reflects her interest in a literary approach that highlights the multiple voices in scripture. Her book, Holy Imagination, is a literary guide to the Bible, published in 2020. She recently published a commentary on the book of Ruth for the Abingdon Old Testament Commentary Series and was a contributor and Old Testament Editor for the CEB Women’s Bible. Published articles include, “Location, Location, Location: Tamar in the Joseph Cycle,” in Bakhtin and Genre, “Exodus” in the Africana Bible, “Esther” in the Fortress Old Testament Commentary and “The Writings” in the Fortress Companion to the Old Testament Introduction.
The recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Yale Divinity School for excellence in Theological Education, Dr. Fentress-Williams has lectured, preached and conducted workshops and retreats in numerous venues. Judy is honored to teach Bible Study at Alfred Street Baptist Church, and she has been humbled to preach at Rankin Chapel at Howard University. She is a member of the Society for Biblical Literature and serves on the Advisory Board for Religious Life at Princeton University.
A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Judy is married to Kevin Williams, M.D., and they are the proud parents of Samantha and Jacob.