Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Michael Peppard

Assistant Professor

New Testament, Early Christian Studies, Religion and Public Life
Duane Library 136  
(718) 817-3248
Twitter @MichaelPeppard

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. - Yale University
M.A.R. - Yale Divinity School 

Certificate - Yale Institute of Sacred Music
B.A. - University of Notre Dame

Research interests
* New Testament Studies – Gospels; Christology; Parables; Rhetoric.
* Early Christianity – Art, Ritual and Material Culture; Coptic studies; Jewish and Christian Identity Formation; Roman Religion; Papyrology; Early Christian Women.
* Reception History of the Bible – liturgical, artistic, theological, material.
* Contemporary Issues – Catholicism in American public life; Jewish-Christian relations; Religion and American Politics.

Dr. Peppard is a scholar and teacher whose work brings to light the meanings of the New Testament and other early Christian sources in their social, political, artistic, and ritual contexts. His first book, The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context (Oxford, 2011), was a recipient of the Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise, sponsored by the University of Heidelberg. His scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in: Journal of Biblical Literature; New Testament Studies; Journal of Early Christian Studies; Catholic Biblical Quarterly; Journal for the Study of the New Testament; Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations; Studia Liturgica; and Judaism. Dr. Peppard offers courses in the New Testament, early Christianity, art and ritual, religion and politics, and the languages of Greek and Coptic.

His first book, The Son of God in the Roman World, is an award-winning work of biblical and historical theology that focuses on the concept of divine sonship in the ancient social and political context of powerful father-son relationships. In order to understand the fuzzy boundary between humanity and divinity in the Roman worldview, the book examines the two most influential figures who collapsed that dichotomy: the Roman emperor and Jesus Christ, both called “son of god.” The newly emphasized social context opens up the theological metaphors of “begotten” and “adoptive” sonship to new interpretations, and fresh readings of early Christian texts from the first Gospel to the late fourth century are offered. The book thus contributes to our understanding of incipient Trinitarian theology, even as it grounds that theology in the concrete social practices of its day. It has been reviewed in over ten venues and four languages, including the flagship publications of biblical studies, early Christian studies, and Roman history.

Several of his current research projects deal with early Christian art, ritual, and material culture. Regarding the rituals of initiation, his second book manuscript reinterprets the artistic remains from (and textual traditions proximate with) the third-century house-church at Dura-Europos, Syria. For his contributions on this topic, he has received a research grant (2013) from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Dr. Peppard trained as a papyrologist with materials in both Greek (under Ann Ellis Hanson) and Coptic (at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek).

Other active research projects include: early Christology; Christian art of late antiquity; metaphors of inheritance in early Christianity; Christian interaction with Roman imperial rhetoric and ideology; early Christian texts in Coptic; and the reception history of Jesus’ parables. As a break from studying the past, Dr. Peppard participates in the campus conversation about religion in public life, in part through his affiliation with the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies.

His analyses of current events in religion, politics, and culture are featured frequently in Commonweal, and he has also provided commentary for The New York Times, The Washington Post and made several appearances on MSNBC.  He was proud to conceive and thrilled to help orchestrate “The Cardinal and Colbert,” which The New York Times called perhaps “the most successful Roman Catholic youth evangelization event since Pope John Paul II last appeared at World Youth Day.” Away from campus, Dr. Peppard does practical work in interreligious relations, especially Jewish-Christian dialogue. In 2012, he was invited to teach a nine-week course on the New Testament at a conservative synagogue in Manhattan. He also has published a series of articles about allegations of religious abuse against Muslims in U.S. military detention facilities.

Dr. Peppard hails originally from Colorado and currently lives in the Bronx with his wife and daughter.

Selected publications

The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in its Social and Political Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

“Illuminating the Dura-Europos Baptistery: Comparanda for the Female Figures.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 20 (2012): 543-74.

“The Eagle and the Dove: Roman Imperial Sonship and the Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1.9-11).” New Testament Studies 56 (2010): 431-51.

"‘Poetry,’ ‘Hymns,’ and ‘Traditional Material’ in New Testament Epistles, or How to Do Things with Indentations.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (2008): 319-42. 

“Do We Share a Book? The Sunday Lectionary and Jewish-Christian Relations.”
Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 1 (2005-6): 89-102. 



Faculty Fellowship Spring 2013

FALL 2013

Faculty Fellowship Fall 2013

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