New Testament, Early Christian Studies, Religion and Public Life
Department of Theology
Rose Hill Campus
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, New York 10458
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Michael Peppard is a scholar and teacher whose primary work brings to light the meanings of the New Testament and other Christian materials in their social, political, artistic, and ritual contexts. A professor of theology at Fordham University, he received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University, with prior degrees from Yale Divinity School, its Institute of Sacred Music, and the University of Notre Dame. He offers commentary on current events at the nexus of religion, politics, and culture for venues such as Commonweal, where he is a frequent contributor, as well as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and PBS.
His first book, The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context (Oxford, 2011), is a work of contextual early Christian theology within Roman imperial society. It received the Manfred Lautenschläger Award for Theological Promise, sponsored by the University of Heidelberg. His second book, The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria (Yale, 2016), offers a theological and liturgical reinterpretation of the artistic remains of the oldest securely datable church building, from third-century Syria. It was featured in The New York Times Sunday Review upon its release and subsequently in other major media, such as a CBS special on religion, art, and cultural heritage. His third book, The Bible in the Catholic Tradition (Oxford, 2024), presents a diverse curation of the ways in which biblical narratives and themes have infused Catholic worship, culture, and imagination. Dr. Peppard’s scholarly articles have appeared in over a dozen journals, including flagship publications for biblical studies, early Christian studies, liturgical studies, Jewish-Christian relations, and Catholic theology. One of these received the 2018 Eusebius Essay Prize from The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and another won the 2014 Catherine Mowry LaCugna “best article” award from the Catholic Theological Society of America.
Dr. Peppard’s regular course topics include the New Testament, early Christianity, art and ritual, religion and politics, and the languages of Greek and Coptic. As a break from studying the past, Dr. Peppard participates in campus conversations about religion in public life, in part through his affiliation with the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. He hails originally from Colorado and lives in New York.
PhD - Yale University
MAR - Yale Divinity School
Certificate- Yale Institute of Sacred Music
BA - University of Notre Dame
New Testament Studies – Gospels; Christology; Parables; Rhetoric
Early Christianity – Art, Ritual, and Material Culture; Coptic studies; 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
The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016.
The Son of God in the Roman World: Divine Sonship in Its Social and Political Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Paperback, 2012.
“Mary Magdalene’s Turn: Text Criticism and Reception History of John 20,16.” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 96 (2020): 563–81.
“The Photisterion in Late Antiquity: Reconsidering Terminology for Sites and Rites of Initiation.” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 71 (2020): 463–83.
“Early Christian Art and Ritual.” Pages 275–89 in The Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art. Edited by Robin M. Jensen and Mark D. Ellison. London: Routledge, 2018.
“Was the Presence of Christ in Statues? The Challenge of Divine Media for a Jewish Roman God.” Pages 225–69 in The Art of Empire: Christian Art in Its Imperial Context. Edited by Lee Jefferson and Robin Jensen. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2015.
“Paul Would Be Proud: The New Testament and Jewish-Gentile Respect.” Theological Studies 76 (2015): 260–79.
“Brother Against Brother: Controversiae About Inheritance Disputes and 1 Corinthians 6:1–11.” Journal of Biblical Literature 133 (2014): 179–92.
“Illuminating the Dura-Europos Baptistery: Comparanda for the Female Figures.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 20 (2012): 543–74.
“Adopted and Begotten Sons of God: Paul and John on Divine Sonship.” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 73 (2011): 92–110.
“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.