Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter, UK

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou is a university lecturer, writer and researcher specialising in the religions and societies that gave rise to the Bible today. As an academic and former head of department for one of higher education’s most long-established and most learned subjects, her interests lie in some of the more graphic, morbid, and unusual practices of ancient religions. Francesca explains how they have recast into the societies and religions we know today.

As a woman and an atheist in the field of theology and religion, Francesca has overcome barriers to reach her position and uses that experience to advocate for improved religious literacy. She believes expanding religion and worldviews in the curriculum will mean the generation leaving school will be less likely to find themselves misinformed about different religions and worldviews, or out of their depth in culturally unfamiliar situations.

For Francesca, an education in religion and worldviews is at the heart of understanding what it means to be human; it also allows us to better understand real-world struggles.

Francesca’s first non-academic book, God: An Anatomy, has been published in the UK and the US. It is an Economist Book of the Year.