Dr Dan McClellan

Dr Dan McClellan

Department of Theology and Religion
Honorary Fellow, Edward Cadbury Centre

Contact details

I am a public-facing scholar of the Bible and religion focusing on conceptualizations of deity, scripture, and religious identity.


  • BA, Brigham Young University (ancient Near Eastern studies)
  • MSt, University of Oxford (Jewish studies)
  • MA, Trinity Western University (biblical studies)
  • PhD, University of Exeter (theology and religion)


Dan McClellan is a public-facing scholar of the Bible and religion. He received his PhD from the University of Exeter, where his dissertation was supervised by Prof. Francesca Stavrakopoulou. His research focuses on conceptualizations of deity, scripture, and religious identity. In 2022, he published YHWH’s Divine Images: A Cognitive Approach in SBL Press’ open-access Ancient Near East Monographs Series. This book interrogates the conceptualization of deity and divine images in the Hebrew Bible to show that the latter were not rejected by biblical authors, but rather renegotiated to serve Israel’s changing circumstances and needs. Since 2021, Dan has been producing social media content to help combat the spread of misinformation about the Bible and religion, as well as to make the academic study of the Bible and religion more accessible to the public. He goes by @maklelan on several social media channels, and his newest platform for public engagement is the Data Over Dogma Podcast.


Dan’s research focuses on conceptualizations of deity, scripture, and religious identity through the methodological lenses of cognitive linguistics, the cognitive science of religion, textual criticism, historical criticism, and rhetorical criticism. His recent book explores the logic of divine images in the Hebrew Bible, and two other books he is currently writing explore the way the biblical authors renegotiated their concepts of God to address changing circumstances, and the way the earliest Christians understood Jesus’ relationship to God. Most of his publications have focused on the interpretation of biblical texts, but he is also interested in their historical reception and in their deployment today to serve the interests of right-wing authoritarian identity politics, and particularly within US Christian nationalism.

Other activities


  • “Cognitive Perspectives on Early Christology.” Biblical Interpretation 25 (2017): 647–62.
  • “The Gods-Complaint: Psalm 82 as a Psalm of Complaint.” Journal of Biblical Literature 137.4 (2018): 833–51.
  • “Religion and Description.” Pages 106–13 in Method Today: Redescribing Approaches to the Study of Religion. Edited by Brad Stoddard (Equinox, 2018)
  • “’As Far as It Is Translated Correctly’: Bible Translation and the Church.” Religious Educator 20.2 (2019): 53–83.
  • “The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament.” Pages 497–513 in New Testament History, Culture, and Society: A Background to the Texts of the New Testament. Edited by Lincoln Blumell (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2019).
  • “2 Nephi 25:23 in Literary and Rhetorical Context.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 29 (2020): 1–19.
  • “Forming divine bodies in the Hebrew Bible.” Pages 171–94 in Life and Death: Social Perspectives on Biblical Bodies. Edited by Francesca Stavrakopoulou (T&T Clark, 2021).
  • “’Go Ye and Learn What That Meaneth’: Mercy and the Law in the Old Testament’s Prophetic Literature and in the Gospels.” Pages 469–99 in Covenant of Compassion: Caring for the. Marginalized and Disadvantaged in the Old Testament. Edited by Avram R. Shannon et al. (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2021)
  • YHWH’s Divine Images: A Cognitive Approach (SBL Press, 2022)
  • Mormonism in Five Minutes (Under Contract, Equinox)