N. T. Wright on Endinburgh’s PhD programme


Here at Edinburgh we don’t like to blow our own trumpet – we just let N. T. Wright do it. Over at the Jesus Blog, they asked him which were the top PhD programmes in the UK. This was his answer:

I sort of declare an interest here. We have a world-class program here at St. Andrews, so of course I would say you must come to St. Andrews. But experience in the last few years is that folk have either been coming to us, Edinburgh, to Durham—some to Oxford to work with Markus Bockmuehl, some to Cambridge—but talking to students, it appears that they think that St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Durham are the three which are exciting at the moment.


We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Two events this week


These are both free and open to the public:

Prof Claudia Setzer (Manhattan College, New York) will give a lecture titled ‘His Blood be on  Us?: The Blame Game in Matthew’s Gospel.’ Tuesday 4th March, Lecture  Room 1, 5pm

Film screening: A Polite Bribe (a docu-drama on Paul and the Jerusalem collection, directed/produced by Robert Orlando, and starring –  amongst others – Prof Larry Hurtado). This will be followed by a panel  discussion featuring Robert Orlando, Larry Hurtado and Matthew Novenson.  Friday 7th March, Martin Hall, 4-6 pm. This event is co-sponsored by  CTPI.

All welcome!

Was Peter ever in Cappadocia?


(Helen Bond) I’m just back from a short trip to Cappadocia in modern Turkey. I had no idea it was such an interesting place – amazing rock formations, cave churches, and icons. My purpose in being there was to help to make a documentary for the BBC. Following the success of his documentary on Paul a year or two ago (In the Footsteps of Paul), David Suchet was back, this time looking for remains of Peter. Of course the natural place to go would be Antioch, but modern Antakya isn’t perhaps the most sensible place to visit just now, given its location right on the Syrian border. So it was Cappadocia. But is there any evidence that Peter ever visited this amazing place?

It seems to me that there are two things to consider:

First is the notice that there were Cappadocians at Pentecost in Acts 2.9. However we judge the historicity of these early chapters, they may well preserve a memory that Cappadocian Jews did become followers of the way early on. And if that was the case, and if they took the message back to their home land, perhaps spreading the word in their own syngagoues, it’s not impossible that someone like Peter might have visited them – particularly when Jerusalem became dangerous after the Agrippa affair, and Peter seems to have embarked on his own missionary journeys. We hear of Peter (and his wife) later on in Corinth, and perhaps he journeyed by land, taking in Cappadocia on the way.

Second is the dedication in 1Peter 1.2: ‘To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia . . .’ Like most scholars, I don’t think that this letter was written by Peter: it’s far too well written and seems to me to reflect a later time when the ‘name’ Christian was a punishable offence. But it’s clearly written by a disciple, or a ‘school’ of Peter – at the very least someone who holds the memory of Peter in great respect. And perhaps the note that Peter visited these places, or was at least acquainted with them, has some historical currency. Why, after all, choose these places rather than others?

So the evidence is far from conclusive, but there seems to be to be at least a few distant traces that do link the apostle with this weird and wonderful region. If only we knew more about what he got up to on his visits!

[For anyone interested, David Suchet’s programme will be going out at Easter, in two hour-long episodes.]



N.T. Wright Delivering Lecture at New College


The Centre for the Study of Christian Origins is pleased to host a lecture from Professor N.T. Wright discussing his new book, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.  Part of his Christian Origins and the Question of God series. The lecture is on Tuesday, February 25th and begins at 5 pm. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s New College building in Lecture Room 1. A reception and book signing will follow at Rainy Hall. For more information, see here.

Chancellor’s Fellowship in New Testament and/or Christian Origins at Edinburgh


(Matthew Novenson) I see where Prof Hurtado has posted about the recently advertised Professorship in New Testament at Groningen and the Senior Lectureship in New Testament at Durham. For our part, we are very happy to announce a search for a Chancellor’s Fellow in New Testament and/or Christian Origins at Edinburgh. (From this page, click through to the “School of Divinity” link for the job advert.) Building on our recent appointment of Dr Anja Klein as Chancellor’s Fellow in Hebrew Bible, we are hoping to add to our staff resources in first- and second-century Christianity with this Chancellor’s Fellowship. Early career scholars, take note: The deadline for applications is 7 February.