Philip Barlow is the Maxwell Institute’s associate director and a Neal A. Maxwell Research Associate. Having previously served as the Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History & Culture at Utah State University, his teaching engages religion and human suffering, religion and the concept of “time,” American religious history, and Restoration movements. His writings have contemplated belief (A Thoughtful Faith, editor), geography (the New Historical Atlas of Religion in America, with Edwin Gaustad), and scripture (Mormons and the Bible). His current projects focus on the problematic and promising meanings of “the only true and living church”  as well as the notion of a “war in heaven” in the history of ideas, lore, and literature. He has served as president of the Mormon History Association.

Barlow also served on the Maxwell Institute’s advisory board executive committee from 2016 through 2018.

Barlow biografia en español

Barlow Biografia em Portugues

Phone: 801.422.9229


Th.D. (1988) Harvard Divinity School, American Religious History & Culture

M.T.S. (1980) Harvard, History of Christianity

B.A. (1975) Weber State College, magna cum laude, History


2019–present: Neal A. Maxwell Senior Research Associate & Associate Director, Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University

2007—2018: Inaugural Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History & Culture, Dept. of History, Religious Studies Program, Utah State University

2011–2014:  Director, Program in Religious Studies, Department of History, Utah State University

1990—2007:  Professor, Hanover College, Dept. of Theological Studies

  • Associate Professor, 1994-2000
  • Department Chair, 1997-1999
  • Assistant Professor, 1990-1994

2006—2007:  Associate Research Fellow, The Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture (at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis)

1988—90:  Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Rochester, Department of Religion & Classics

1979­–1985: Instructor, LDS Institute of Religion, Cambridge, MA


Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, Updated edition, 2013. Orig. 1991).

Religion and Public Life in the Midwest: America’s Common Denominator? (Lanham, MD: Alta Mira Press, 2004); co-edited with Mark Silk. A volume in the 8-volume “Religion by Region” project (Mark Silk, general editor).

New Historical Atlas of Religion in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); co-authored with Edwin Scott Gaustad.


The Book of Mormon: brief theological introductions (BYU Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 2020; 12 vols.).  General editors, J. Spencer Fluhman & Philip L. Barlow.

The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism (Oxford University Press, 2015; paperback 2019); contributor & co-editor with Terryl Givens.


 “To Mend a Fractured Reality: Joseph Smith’s Project,” Journal of Mormon History 38, no. 3 (Summer 20212): 28-50.

Questions at the Veil,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 46 no. 3 (Fall 2013): 203-216.

Toward a Mormon Sense of Time,” Journal of Mormon History 33, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 1-37. (Mormon History Association Presidential Address).

Before Mormonism: Joseph Smith’s Use of the Bible, 1820-1829,” The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 57, no. 4 (Winter 1989): 739-771.


Editor and contributor: a new edition of A Thoughtful Faith (A Thoughtful Faith for the 21st Essays on faith by Latter-day Saint scholars). Forthcoming 2021.

The Only True & Living Church. The challenge & opportunity of Doctrine & Covenants 1:30. Manuscript completion scheduled for 2021.

How We Live Our Days. The conception of “time” in the Doctrine & Covenants.

“The War in Heaven” in the history of ideas, faith, music, lore, and art.

War in Heaven (a mythic novel).

Monthly Newsletter

Contact The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship Brigham Young University Provo, UT 84602

Local: 801.422.9229
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The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)