April Simpson

Graduate Student in New Testament


Email: aprils@smu.edu


April is writing her dissertation on the Gospel of Mark, exploring the ways in which, throughout the narrative arc, Mark's author depicts Jesus as gaining, losing, and regaining honor. Of particular importance to her project are first-century CE notions of honor in the world of the Roman Empire, including not only how honor was frequently defined within Roman culture but also the ways in which such notions of honor were sometimes contested.

April is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee and lived in the Chattanooga area until she moved to Boiling Springs, North Carolina to begin her undergraduate studies at Gardner-Webb University. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (2009), she earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Religion at Gardner-Webb (2014) as well. During her graduate studies at Gardner-Webb, she began working at the university. After completing her master’s degrees, she served for two years as an instructor in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department at Gardner-Webb while remaining a full-time staff member. She moved to Dallas in 2016 to begin her PhD in New Testament within the Dedman College Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University.

April teaches an introductory Bible course for the Course of Study School at SMU's Perkins School of Theology.

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Mark Chancey

Dissertation Title: "Gaining, Losing, and Regaining Honor: The Honor and Shame of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark"

Fellowships, Supported Research, and Other Grants: Southern Methodist University Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship; Southern Methodist University PhD Fellowship

Publications: "Review of Beniamin Pascut, Redescribing Jesus’ Divinity Through a Social Science Theory: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Forgiveness and Divine Identity in Ancient Judaism and Mark 2:1–12." Review of Biblical Literature. January 2020.

Conference Presentations: 


“The Gods and (Dis)Honor: The Relationship between Divinely Caused Suffering and Honor in Metamorphoses, Callirhoe, and Mark” Jesus Traditions, Gospels, and Negotiating the Roman Imperial World program unit. Annual Society of Biblical Literature Meeting. Moved online due to COVID-19. November–December. 2020

Response to Beverly Gaventa, “Notes on a Conversation with Romans.” New Testament Section. Southwest Commission on Religious Studies. Irving, Texas. February.


“Spiraling Shame and Honor Restored: A Socio-Literary Analysis of Jesus’s Arrest, Trial, Death, and Resurrection in Mark.” Gospel of Mark Section. Annual Society of Biblical Literature Meeting. San Diego, California. November.


Surprised by Scripture Workshop. Simply Wright: N.T. Wright at Perkins | SMU Conference. Dallas, Texas. November.

Service to the Profession:

Society of Biblical Literature Student Advisory Board Technology Coordinator. 2019–2021.

Faculty Advisory Board for Perkins School of Theology Regional Course of Study School. 2019–2020.

Graduate Program in Religious Studies (GPRS) Student Organization President. 2019–2020.

GPRS Student Organization, Student Representative on Faculty Steering Committee. 2018–2019