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Durham University

Centre for Digital Theology

Rev Dr Pete Phillips, Director, CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology

Revd Dr Peter Phillips, PhD, MA (Biblical Studies), BA (Latin and Greek)

Personal web page

Research Fellow in Digital Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41657
Room number: Dun Cow Cottage 007

Contact Revd Dr Peter Phillips (email at

Director of Research, CODEC

Pete Phillips is Director of the CODEC Research Centre. With a PhD in John’s Gospel and many years’ experience of teaching/researching the New Testament, Pete now explores the interface between all things digital and theological!

Key areas of interest include:

  • Bible in the Digital Age
  • Human adaption/transhumanism/imago dei research,
  • AI - and its use both as machine reading of texts and the more revolutionary general AI - authentic machine intelligence
  • Digital Humanities and its intersection with Theology in CODEC's research on Digital Theology.

During his time at CODEC, Pete has pioneered new ways of exploring Theology among the Digital Humanities and also developed the world's first MA in Digital Theology, hosted with Cranmer Hall's suite of MA programmes. 

Pete loves playing with tech, hacking new data, developing new opportunities for research. A lot of Pete’s work takes him outside of Durham – working with the Church of England’s Digital Team, exploring new funding opportunities and speaking at major international conferences.

With a background in New Testament teaching and research, I moved to St John's College, Durham in 2008 taking up the challenge to foster and develop, part -time, a cutting edge digital theology research programme at CODEC - exploring Biblical Literacy, Preaching, and Communication in a Digital Age. I also taught NT in Cranmer Hall, supervised research students and worked half-time for the Methodist Church in Great Britain as their Faith and Order Secretary. 

In July 2015, CODEC became a full Research Centre of the University exploring Digital Theology. We won about £750K of funding from various resources and I became full-time Director of the Centre with a key role in ongoing strategic development and for establishing what we mean by Digital Theology. We now have a staff of four research fellows and an administrator, along with several research associates.

We are currently exploring the establishment of a North European Collaboratory in Digital Theology - more news soon.

CODEC is very keen to work with PhD students in the areas of Theological, Religious and Biblical Studies when they relates to Digital Culture, Digital Humanities/Studies or Contemporary Ecclesial Practice. I currently have a number of PhD students already working in these areas but would welcome further conversations.

Passionate about the Bible and teaching, my interests also include postmodernism, theology and the arts, film and football.

International Collaboration

  • North European Collaboratory on Digital Theology

Research Interests

  • New Testament
  • Johannine Literature - especially Fourth Gospel
  • New Testament Interpretation
  • Postmodern Interpretatation
  • Digital Culture
  • Biblical Literacy
  • Being Human in a Digital Age
  • Digital Humanities

Teaching Areas

  • MA in Bible in the Digital Age (30 hours/year.)
  • MediaLit (40 hours/year.)
  • New Testament Texts: Paul and John (40 hours/year.)

Selected Publications

  • 1: (2006). The Prologue of the Fourth Gospel: A Sequential Reading. T&T Clark.
  • 2: (2006). "Biblical Studies and Intertextuality: Should the work of Genette and Eco broaden our horizons?". In The Intertextuality of the Epistles: Explorations of Theory and Practice. Sheffield Phoenix Press. 35-45.
  • 3: (2008). "Casting out the Treasure: Matthew 13:52". Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31(1): 3-24.
  • 4: (2013). "The Woman Caught in Adultery: Nameless, Partnerless, Defenceless". In Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel. Mohr Siebeck. 314: 407-421.
  • 5: (2013). "The Bible as Augmented Reality". Theology and Ministry Journal 1(1).
  • 6: (2013). "Methodists and the Bible". In Ashgate Companion to World Methodism. Ashgate.
  • 7: (2013). "Digital Communication, the Church and Mission". Resourcing Mission Bulletin
  • 8: (2013). "A Responsive Chorus: The Samaritans of Sychar". In Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel. Mohr Siebeck. 314: 292-299.
  • 9: Phillips, Peter (2016). Wesley's Parish and the Digital Age? Holiness: The Journal of Wesley House 2(3): 337-358.
  • 10: Peter Phillips (2017). Engaging the Word: Biblical Literacy and Christian Discipleship. Bible Reading Fellowship.
  • 11: Phillips, Peter (2018). The Pixelated Text: Reading the Bible within Digital Culture. Theology 121(6): 403-412.
  • 12: Phillips, Peter (2019). The Power of Visual Culture and The Fragility of the Text. In Ancient manuscripts in digital culture visualisation, data mining, communication. Hamidović, David, Clivaz, Claire, Savant, Sarah & Marguerat, Alessandra Leiden: Brill. 3: 30-49.
  • Ford, David. G., Mann, Joshua, L. & Phillips, Peter M. (2019). The Bible and Digital Millennials. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Phillips, Peter M. (2019). The Bible, Social Media and Digital Culture. Routledge.
  • Phillips, Peter M. (2020). Depicting ‘Biblical’ Narratives: A Test Case on Noah. In The Bible Onscreen in the New Millennium. Clayton, W. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Phillips, Peter M., Schiefelbein-Guerrero, K. & Kurlberg, Jonas (2019). Defining Digital Theology: Digital Humanities, Digital Religion and the Particular Work of the CODEC Research Centre and Network. Open Theology 5(1): 29-43.

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Related Links

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Religion: Fusion of issues around theology and contemporary culture - digital, arts, culture, humanities, theology Impact of digital culture on us as human beings New Testament interpretation and role of the Bible in the development of the Christian Church