Home / Testimonies / Eric D. Huntsman

Like many of you, my identity is shaped by my testimony, my membership in the Church, my family, my friends, my occupation, and my life experiences—both those that are joyful and those that are challenging. I am a sixth generation Latter-day Saint in virtually every one of my family lines. My ancestors came to Utah with the pioneers and the subsequent early waves of immigration. My parents were born and raised in New Harmony and Cedar City, Utah, but I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in the eastern United States in New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. So while I have a typically “Mormon” heritage, I was raised as a member of a religious minority and had wonderful, shaping experiences with people of other faiths and backgrounds.

Most of my friends were Roman Catholic and Presbyterian in New York; Evangelical Christians in Tennessee; Latter-day Saints at BYU and on my mission; and Jewish, agnostic, and “undefined” as I did my graduate work back in Philadelphia. I learned to appreciate their faith and beliefs while at the same time coming to better understand and define my own.

As a committed Christian and as a faithful Latter-day Saint, my identity is chiefly and foremost formed by my faith in and love of the Savior. I was raised in the Church and never remember not believing it, but just as we all need to become fully converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have had pivotal conversion experiences in my life—as a senior in high school, during my mission, and shortly after arriving at the University of Pennsylvania to work on my PhD. I served as a missionary in the Thailand Bangkok Mission between 1985–86, have frequently taught in Sunday School and priesthood classes, served as a bishop in a wonderful but challenging ward from 1996–2002, and have since served as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple while also singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Church work, too, has been a defining and fulfilling factor in my life.

I married my wife, Elaine, in 1993. After the Lord himself, she is the one great love in my life. Marriage has been a wonderful, challenging, and learning experience. I am the father of two children, Rachel and Samuel, and fatherhood has joined being a husband as another essential component of who I am as a Latter-day Saint. When he was four years of age, Samuel, now almost eight, was diagnosed with autism. This heart-rending reality has forever changed our family and my life, but it has also been a great tutorial and stretching experience.

I am a teacher, a speaker, and a writer. I completed my BA in Classical Greek and Latin at BYU and then received my MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Ancient History. I taught Classics at BYU for nine years beginning in 1994, but in 2003 I transferred to the Department of Ancient Scripture, where I specialize in the New Testament. You can see details of my career and work by visiting my web site or reading a spotlight interview done by the Religious Studies Center at BYU.


Eric D. Huntsman, associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, has specialized in Roman imperial history and done work on imperial women—particularly Livia Drusilla, the wife of the emperor Augustus. His publications in religious studies and related fields include two BYU Studies articles on Josephus; “Christ Before the Romans,” in From the Last Supper Through the Resurrection: The Savior’s Final Hours (Deseret Book, 2003); “Galilee and the Call of the Twelve Apostles,” in From Bethlehem to the Sermon on the Mount (Deseret Book, 2005); “Teaching through Exegesis: Helping Students Ask Questions of the Text” (Religious Educator, 6.1, 2005); and “The Bread of Life Sermon,” in From the Transfiguration through the Triumphal Entry (Deseret Book, 2006). Together with colleagues Richard Holzafpel and Thomas Wayment, he has co-authored Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament: An Illustrated Reference for Latter-day Saints (Deseret Book, 2006).

More recent work includes three chapters in The Life and Teachings of the New Testament Apostles: From the Day of Pentecost to the Apocalypse (Deseret Book, 2010); “The Six Antitheses: Attaining the Purpose of the Law,” in The Sermon on the Mount in Latter-day Scripture (Deseret Book, 2010); “Livia Before Octavian,” Ancient Society 39 (2009); “And the Word Was Made Flesh: An LDS Exegesis of the Blood and Water Imagery in John,” Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 1 (2009); “Your Faith Should Not Stand in the Wisdom of Men: Greek Philosophy, Corinthian Behavior, and the Teachings of Paul,” in The New Testament Brought to Light: Latter-day Saint Insights into Acts through Revelation (Religious Studies Center, 2009); and “The Lamb of God: Unique Aspects of the Passion Narrative in John,” in Behold the Lamb of God (Religious Studies Center, 2008). Forthcoming in spring of 2011 is a book-length study of the Passion Narratives entitled God So Loved the World: The Final Days of the Savior’s Life (Deseret Book).

Professor Huntsman’s areas of expertise include New Testament studies, particularly the Johannine Writings, Pauline epistles, and Luke-Acts; Koine and New Testament Greek; Greek and Roman history and classical literature; early Christianity and the Roman world; and women in classical antiquity. At BYU, he teaches New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon, biblical Greek topics, Greek and Roman history, and Judaism and Early Christianity in the Classical Near East.

Posted February 2011