The Study of Scripture has been at the core of research and teaching in the Faculty for centuries. Members of the Faculty are leading contributors to research on the Jewish and Graeco-Roman context of the New Testament, the Gospels, the letters of Paul and other New Testament writers, as well as on the reception of New Testament Texts in antiquity. Our approach to the New Testament at Oxford seeks to be attentive to the ways its history and context are intertwined with its footprint as a Christian religious and theological text. Students are introduced to multiple scholarly lenses for the study of these distinctive and formative writings.
Some Current and Recent Funded New Testament Research Projects
- Scripture and the Development of the Old Roman Creed. A joint Project with the University of Notre Dame, 2018-2022. (Markus Bockmuehl with Nathan Eubank: $45,000 from the Catholic Biblical Association; additional funding from the University of Notre Dame). A volume of proceedings will be published by Mohr Siebeck (2022).
- Dead Sea Scrolls Research at Oxford. A year-long interdisciplinary seminar involving Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (Markus Bockmuehl with Hindy Najman & Martin Goodman). Proceedings were published in 2021 in the journal Revue de Qumran.
- Creation ex Nihilo: Origins, Development, Contemporary Challenges. A joint Project with the University of Notre Dame, 2013-2016. (Markus Bockmuehl with Gary Anderson; c. $107,000 from John Fell Fund and Notre Dame Faculty Research Support Program). A volume of proceedings was published by University of Notre Dame Press in 2018.
- Paul and Patristics Database (Jennifer Strawbridge: £15,000 from John Fell Fund; completed 2017). Research culminated in an open access, searchable, digital database on the use of Paul’s letters in early Christian writings (https://paulandpatristics.web.ox.ac.uk), featuring more than 27,000 entries from over 200 extant early Christian texts. It has over 1,000 separate users in over 50 countries and has been reviewed in New Testament Studies and the Journal of the Bible and its Reception.
- 1 Peter and the Anglican Communion (Jennifer Strawbridge, 2018-2022: £100,000 from the St Augustine’s Foundation). Once a decade the Lambeth Conference invites all Anglican Communion bishops to plan the trajectory of the Communion for the next decade. Prof. Strawbridge led a team of scholars from 6 continents and 19 countries to create research-led resources for the 2022 Lambeth Conference. Outputs including The First Letter of Peter: A Global Commentary (SCM 2020), The First Letter of Peter: Bible Studies (forthcoming), a series of nine educational videos, and texts for pre-Conference gatherings, are translated into 5 languages for worldwide distribution.
- 1ClementVMR: (Dan Batovici (Leuven) and David Downs (Oxford). This project aims to produce transcriptions for all manuscript witnesses of the ancient letter known as 1 Clement. This will serve as a resource for a new critical edition of the Greek text, while also demonstrating the value of a digital approach to the transmission and reception of the body of early Christian literature known as the Apostolic Fathers. https://ntvmr.uni-muenster.de/web/1clement/welcome
Current and Recent Postdoctoral Fellowships in New Testament
- 2020-2022 European Research Council (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) Postdoctoral Fellowship in New Testament for Jeremiah Coogan, following an internationally advertised competition (€225,000). The project concerns early Christian expansions of the Gospel of Matthew in different forms.
- 2018-2020 European Research Council (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) Postdoctoral Fellowship in New Testament and Dead Sea Scrolls for Daniel Schumann, following an internationally advertised competition (€200,000). The project considered the problem of how to compare religious systems and examined the New Testament’s translation of Palestinian Jewish traditions into a Greek idiom.
Funded Interdisciplinary Research Projects
- Family Planning in Tanzania: From Obstacles to Opportunities (Jennifer A. Downs & David Downs, 2019-2022: $758,483 from John Templeton Foundation).
“The project addresses the public health issue of family planning through partnerships with community religious leaders in Tanzania. A cluster randomised trial in 24 paired villages in rural Tanzania will assess the effectiveness of a religiously and culturally informed educational intervention on family planning. Research outputs include articles in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 2020 and BMC Women’s Health 2019.”
- “From Obstacles to Opportunities for Male Circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa” (Jennifer A. Downs, David Downs, Samuel Kalluvya, and Agrey Mwakisole, 2014-2015: $100,000 from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
“Male circumcision (MC) has been proven to reduce the risk of HIV transmission among heterosexual males by about 60%. Yet in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of the HIV/AIDS crisis is greatest, MC is not widely practiced. Our cluster randomised trial of more than 145,000 men showed that equipping and empowering Tanzanian church leaders to address medical issues with their congregations led to major increases in the uptake of male circumcision and has the potential to make a significant positive impact on participation in public health interventions. Research outputs include articles in The Lancet 2017; British Medical Journal Open 2013; D. Downs et al., “Reading Galatians in Tanzania in Light of Male Circumcision as an HIV/AIDS Intervention,” in Global Perspectives on the New Testament (eds. Mark Roncace and Joseph Weaver; Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2013), 162-64.”
- International Research Training Seminars for early career theological scholars from the Majority World (Markus Bockmuehl with Ian Shaw, 2010-2025: $300,000 from diverse trusts and donors).