William Penn Biographer joins the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

William Penn Biographer joins the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

Rutgers University Professor Andrew Murphy plans to lecture in Philadelphia, where ‘Everybody knows a little about Penn, but nobody knows too much’

To help people learn about William Penn and how his vision remains relevant, the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has named Rutgers University professor Andrew Murphy an affiliated scholar.

Murphy recently wrote William Penn: A Life – the first major biography of Penn in more than 40 years, and the first to make full use of Penn’s private papers, according to reviews. While Penn is a household name for Pennsylvanians, many people don’t know he lived in his colony only four years, died 60 years before the American Revolution and pushed for diversity that our nation boasts and still needs, Murphy says.

“For many, the diversity that characterizes contemporary American society represents a worrisome or threatening development,” Murphy said. “Penn envisioned a colony in which many religious communities could not only peacefully coexist, but also work together across religious lines in order to benefit the entire society.”

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is a $60 million attraction expected to draw 250,000 visitors annually after it opens in fall 2020. The immersive experience is being designed by the award-winning firm Local Projects, which recently spearheaded the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and ranks as one of the most innovative in the nation.

Murphy joins a distinguished scholarly team – top historians, religious experts and legal scholars from different religions and countries – who have shaped the narrative experience while ensuring full historical accuracy.  The team include a Pulitzer-prize winning author, the Librarian of Congress Emeritus (recently deceased), a legal historian whose scholarship has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a member of the federal commission planning the 2026 celebration that will mark the nation’s 250th birthday.

“This is an exciting initiative at an ideal location,” Murphy says of building the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center on Independence Mall, where the nation’s founders wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

“It provides an outstanding opportunity to reach people and integrate the story with all the other wonderful things that happened there.”

In the coming months, Faith and Liberty Discovery Center leaders will work with other Philadelphia groups to plan a lecture with Murphy so people can learn more about Penn’s commitment to the sanctity of individual conscience.

“Dr. Murphy’s scholarship helps show how Penn had a visionary aspiration for where people who believe differently can live together, making it as likely as possible that individuals could live out their understandings of what God required of them,” said Faith and Liberty Discovery Center Director Patrick Murdock. “We’re excited about how Dr. Murphy will show how Penn believed individuals and groups should pursue their responsibility to God as they best understand, leaving to God the ultimate determination of the rightness or wrongness of people’s actions.”


About the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center 

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center explores the relationship between faith and liberty in America from its founding through today, illuminating the influence of the Bible on individuals in key historical and personal moments. Among America’s essential founding documents, the Bible is a significant organizing cultural force that has inspired, influenced, and informed American ideals of liberty that continue to shape our national identity as a free people. Learn more at FAITHANDLIBERTY.ORG.