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Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East

Members of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East

Professor John Barclay

Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: 0191 33 44330
Room number: (ER2)
Deputy Head of Faculty (Undergraduate) in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44330
Room number: ER248

(email at


After undergraduate studies (at Queens', Cambridge) in Classics and Theology, I did my PhD (on Galatians) at Cambridge, before becoming Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer and Professor at Glasgow University (1984-2003). I have been at Durham as Lightfoot Professor of Divinity since 2003, delighted to be part of a very strong team of scholars in New Testament and early Judaism, and a lively research community of postgraduate students. During my Glasgow years, I worked on the social history of early Christianity (especially in Pauline churches) and researched and published on Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora (1996). From that I moved to a translation and commentary on one of Josephus' most interesting texts, his defence of Judaism called Against Apion (2007), which involved me in study of Judaism in the Roman world and some elements of post-colonial theory.

I have just put together a collection of essays on Pauline Christians and Diaspora Judaism called Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011). This includes some hitherto inaccessible pieces and some new ones, including a revised version of my response to N.T. Wright on Paul and the Roman empire ('Why the Roman empire was insignificant to Paul').

I am now working on Pauline theology from the perspective of his theology of grace. If we read this in the light of ancient notions of gift, I believe we can understand in a new way his relationship to Judaism, his theology of the Christ-event and his ethic of reciprocal generosity. My new book, Paul and the Gift, will go beyond Sanders and the new perspective, without returning to Luther or traditional Protestant understandings of grace. Some of my recent essays (see below) indicate my direction of thinking. This book (the first of a two-part series) is due to be published by Eerdmans in 2013.

At undergraduate and Masters levels I teach a number of topics in the New Testament and early Christianity: gospel passion narratives, Pauline theology, the social formation of the early church and (at Masters level) the history of interpretation of Paul (from the beginning to today).

I have had a long history of supervising postgraduate (MA and PhD) students, bringing 32 doctoral students thus far to successful completion. I am currently supervising doctoral students on a range of topics including: Paul and Philo on gift/grace; Paul, creation and Christology; early Christian rituals in the light of recent ritual theory; Paul and Jewish transformational mysticism; Paul's political theology (in dialogue with Hauerwas and O'Donovan); hermeneutical issues in the reading of Ephesians 5.21-31; Paul and history; Paul and glory.

I am open to supervising research in a range of fields relating to the New Testament and early Judaism and am happy to respond to email enquiries at any stage of interest or application. Most years I am also present at the SBL Annual meeting and am glad to meet prospective students there.

Among other duties, I currently edit the CUP journal New Testament Studies. Out of the study I enjoy my family, cycling, music, and watching rugby. Having spent two sabbatical periods in New Zealand (University of Otago, Dunedin), I am also a fan of the All Blacks!


Books: authored

  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2011). Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Barclay, John M. G. (2007). Flavius Josephus translation and commentary. Leiden: Brill.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (1997). Colossians and Philemon. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (1996). Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE - 117 CE). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (1988). Obeying the Truth. A Study of Paul’s Ethics in Galatians. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Books: edited

  • Barclay, J. M. G. & Gathercole, S. (2006). Divine and Human Agency in Paul and his Cultural Environment. London: T&T Clark.
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2004). Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire. Library of Second Temple Studies. London: T&T Clark.
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (1998). Frequently Asked Questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Glasgow: Trinity St. Mungo Press.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. & Sweet, John P. M. (1996). Early Christian Thought in its Jewish Context. Cambridge: CUP.

Essays in edited volumes

  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2011). Believers and the "Last Judgment" in Paul: Rethinking Grace and Recompense. In Eschatologie - Eschatology: The Sixth Durham-Tübingen Research Symposium: Eschatology in Old Testament, Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (Tübingen, September, 2009). Eckstein, H.-J., Landmesser, C. & Lichtenberger, H. Mohr Siebeck. 195-208.
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2011). Paul, Judaism and the Jewish People. In The Blackwell Companion to Paul. Westerholm, S. Wiley-Blackwell. 188-201.
  • Barclay, J. M G. (2010). Unnerving Grace: Approaching Romans 9-11 from The Wisdom of Solomon. In Between Gospel and Election: Explorations in the Interpretation of Romans 9-11. Wilk, F. & Wagner, J. R. Mohr Siebeck. 91-109.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2009). Grace within and Beyond Reason: Philo and Paul in Dialogue. In Paul, Grace and Freedom. Essays in Honour of John K. Riches. Middleton, P., Paddison, A. & Wenell, K. London: T&T Clark. 9-21.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2009). Josephus’ Contra Apionem as Jewish Apologetics. In Critique and Apologetics: Jews, Christians and Pagans in Antiquity. Jacobsen, A.-C., Ulrich, J. & Brakke, D. Frankurt am Main: Peter Lang. 265-82.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2008). Grace and the Transformation of Agency in Christ. In Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities. Udoh, F. E. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 372-89.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2008). Manna and the Circulation of Grace: A Study of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. In The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honour of Richard B. Hays. Wagner, J. R., Rowe, C. K. & Grieb, A. K. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 409-26.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2007). “Offensive and Uncanny” Jesus and Paul on the Caustic Grace of God. In Jesus and Paul Reconnected. Still, T. D. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1-17.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2007). Constructing Judean Identity after 70 C.E.: A Study of Josephus’ Against Apion. In Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean. Crook, Z. E. & Harland, P. A. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. 99-112.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2007). Snarling Sweetly: Josephus on Images and Idolatry. In Memory in the Bible and Antiquity. Barton, S. C., Stuckenbruch, L. T. & Wold, B. G. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 365-85.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2006). 'By the Grace of God I Am what I Am: Grace and Agency in Philo and Paul. In Divine and Human Agency in Paul and His Cultural Environment. Barclay, J. M. G. & Gathercole, S. J. London.: T & T Clark. 140-157.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2006). Money and Meetings: Group Formation among Diaspora Jews and Early Christians. In Vereine, Synagogen und Gemeinden im kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasien. Gutsfeld, A. & Koch, D.-A. Tübigen: Mohr Siebeck. 113-27.

Journal papers: academic

  • Barclay, J (2013). Faith and Self-Detachment from Cultural Norms: A Study in Romans 14–15. Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 104(2): 192-208.
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2010). "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy": The Golden Calf and Divine Mercy in Romans 9-11 and Second Temple Judaism. Early Christianity 1(1): 82-106.
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2010). Food, Christian Identity and Global Warming: A Pauline Call for a Christian Food Taboo. Expository Times 121(12): 585-93.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2010). Paul and the Philosophers: Alain Badiou and the Event. New Blackfriars
  • Barclay, J.M.G. (2010). Paul, the Gift and the Battle over Gentile Circumcision: Revisiting the Logic of Galatians. Australian Biblical Review (58): 36-56.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2009). Security and Self-Sufficiency: A Comparison of Paul and Epictetus. Ex Auditu 24: 60-72.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2008). Is it Good News that God is Impartial? A Response to Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary. JSNT 31: 89-111.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2008). Who’s the Toughest of them all? Jews, Spartans and Roman Torturers in Josephus’ Against Apion. Ramus 36(1): 39-50.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2007). “Am I not a Man and a Brother?’ The Bible and the British Anti-Slavery Campaign. Expository Times 119(1): 3-14.
  • Barclay, J. M. G. (2007). There is Neither Old nor Young? Early Christianity and Ancient Ideologies of Age. NTS 53: 225-41.
  • Barclay, John M.G. (2007). There is Neither Old Nor Young? Early Christianity and Ancient Ideologies of Age. New Testament Studies 53(2): 225-241.



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