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Durham University

St John's College

Melody Briggs

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, and a former tutor at St John’s College, Durham. I have worked in theological education for over 20 years, in a range of church, academic, and mission contexts. My current work has a particular focus on how children read scripture, drawing on my academic background in the fields of both theology and children’s literature. My goal is to use my research to help develop the way the church resources children and young people reading scripture.

Education Record

Oct 2007— PhD candidate, University of Sheffield, Department of Biblical Studies

2002-05 MA, Children’s Literature, University of Roehampton - with distinction

1985-87 MA, Intercultural Studies & Theology, Wheaton College, Chicago - magna cum laude

1981-85 BA in Psychology, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster PA

Record of Employment

Apr 2009 – Aug 2013 Training and Development Role – Church Staff at King’s Church, Durham

Sep 2003 - Aug 2008 CYW Church-Based Strand Tutor & Course Convenor at St. John’s College

2000-03 Lecturer at All Nations Christian College

1994-2000 Distance Learning Course Writer & Editor, London Bible College

Teaching Experience

I currently teach on the following internship courses at Kings Church, Durham:

  • Historical Theology – course leader and co-teaching a level 1 course
  • Mission Studies – course leader & teaching a level 2 seminar series and a level 1 course

My teaching workload at St John’s College included, annually:

  • Christian Identity & Tradition - a 20-credit level 3 module
  • The Theology of Youth Work - a level 2 seminar
  • Interpreting the Bible - a level 1 seminar
  • Supervision, marking, and second-marking of dissertations for level 3 students

I lectured the following undergraduate modules at All Nations Christian College, Herts:

  • 1 Corinthians - a level 1 NT set text module
  • History of Christian Expansion - a level 1 module - an overview of church history


Books and Study Guides

  • Living for God. Studies for Disciples in the 21st Century [w/ Richard Briggs], Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2008.
  • 1 Corinthians (editor and writer), Northwood: London Bible College, 2001.
  • Religion and Religions (editor and part-writer), Northwood: London Bible College, 1998.

Academic Articles and Book Chapters

  • ‘The Word Became Visual Text: The Boy Jesus in Children’s Bibles’, in C. van der Stichele and H. Pyper, eds., Text, Image, and Otherness in Children’s Bibles: What is in the Picture? Semeia Studies. Atlanta: SBL Press; 2012, 153-172.
  • ‘Reshuffling Representations of Reality: Responses of a 21st Century Child to Early 20th Century Texts’, in The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, vol.6 no.2, July 2009, 36-50.
  • ‘The Boy who Lived and Died for the Wizarding World: Concepts of Salvation in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, in The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, vol.5 no.1, March 2008, 1-21.
  • ‘Pictorial Reading as a Path to Visual Literacy in an Image-Oriented Culture’, in The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, vol.4 no.3, November 2007, 133-145.
  • ‘Stepping into the Gap: Contemporary Children’s Fantasy Literature as a Doorway to Spirituality’, in Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak and Marek Oziewicz, eds., Towards or Back to Human Values? Spiritual and Moral Dimensions of Contemporary Fantasy. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006, 30-47.

Papers and Public Lectures

‘Reading Old Testament Stories through Children’s Eyes’, seminar at the Annual Evangelical Theology Conference, Prague, November 2013

‘Exploring Empathy: When Children Read the Gospel of Luke’, paper at Sheffield University Biblical Studies department research seminar, March 2013; and in longer form at the Durham-Manchester-Sheffield PG Study Day, Durham, March 2013

‘Imagination and Meaning: The Role of the Imagination in 11-14 year olds’ Readings of the Gospel of Luke’, paper at The Child and the Book children’s literature conference, Cambridge, March 2012

‘And a Little Child Shall Read Them: An Investigation of 11-14 Year Old Children’s Readings of the Gospel of Luke’, invited paper at SBL conference, San Francisco, Nov 2011

‘And a Little Child Shall Read Them: Developing a Research Methodology for Key Stage 3 Children’s Readings of the Gospel of Luke’, paper at Sheffield University Biblical Studies department research seminar, March 2010


Guest lecturer for various courses at Cranmer Hall, Durham. I have given guest lectures on courses in Bible and Christian Ministry, Sex and Gender in Christian Ministry, Introduction to Old and New Testaments, and New Testament Texts.

St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.