After his preliminary degree work at Glasgow University (Master of Arts, Bachelor of Divinity, 1965-71) and Union Theological Seminary, New York City (Master of Sacred Theology, 1971-2), Bill went on to pursue a doctoral programme at Cambridge (Christ's College, PhD, 1972-77) in the field of New Testament studies. A subsequent period as Research Fellow and Tutor in Biblical Studies at Mansfield College, Oxford (1977-79) led to his appointment as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies (Christian Origins and the New Testament) at the University of Newcastle (1979-2004). He moved to the Durham Department of Theology and Religion in 2004, where he continued as a teacher and examiner in New Testament at undergraduate and postgraduate level until his retirement in 2011. He continues to supervise postgraduate students, and to engage in research and writing.
Bill’s research interests lie in the following fields, in all of which he has published: The Gospel of Mark; Pre-Synoptic Traditions; Jesus in History and Culture; Methods of Biblical Interpretation; the Bible in Fiction and Film. His publications include: Writing on the Gospel of Mark (Blandford Forum: DEO Publishing, 2009); Cinéma Divinité: Religion, Theology and the Bible in Film (London: SCM-Canterbury, 2005), edited (and with contributions) with E. Christianson, P. Francis; The New Testament: A Short Introduction (Oxford: Oneworld, 2002); The Theology of the Gospel of Mark (New Testament Theology; Cambridge University Press, 1999); Mark (New Testament Guides; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995); The Interpretation of Mark (Studies in New Testament Interpretation; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1995), edited with Introduction (revised and enlarged edn); The Interpretation of Mark(Issues in Religion and Theology; London: SPCK/Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985), edited with Introduction; The Barren Temple and the Withered Tree: a Redaction-Critical Analysis of the Cursing of the Fig-tree Pericope in Mark's Gospel and its Relation to the Cleansing of the Temple Tradition (JSNT Suppl. Series, no.1; Sheffield: JSOT, 1980). He is currently working on a book on New Testament Hermeneutics, and another on Jesus and the Gospel Tradition in Film.
From 1993 until 2005 he was Assistant Secretary and then Secretary of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS), the premier international learned society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2006-) and a Fellow of Gladstone’s (St Deiniol’s) Library, Hawarden (2001-) as well as a (Committee) member of the Northumbrian Cambridge Association, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Oxford Society, the John Buchan Society, the International Titanic Society and the Belfast Titanic Society. He is also a Friend of the Laing Art Gallery, of Beamish Open Air Museum and of the Trincomalee. His other interests include travel, the cinema, walking, art and architecture and photography.
Bill lives in Ponteland, and is happily married to (Dr) Andrena Telford, who, now also retired, teaches for the Business School of Northumbria University and is a tutor at St John’s College.