Zu Hauptinhalt springen

Professor Francis Watson

Platzhalter 200x266
Member of the Advisory Board

Professor Francis Watson

E-Mail: francis.watson@durham.ac.uk



  • 1978-84 D.Phil., University of Oxford
  • 1976-78 B.A. (Hons.) Theology, University of Oxford
  • 1975-76 Part I Music, University of Oxford



  • 2017-  Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
  • 2007-  Research Chair in Early Christian Literature, Dept of Theology and Religion, Durham University
  • 1999-2007 Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis, University of Aberdeen
  • 1995-99 Reader in Biblical Theology, King’s College London
  • 1984-95 Lecturer in New Testament Studies, King’s College London


  • 2014-18 Editor of New Testament Studies (Cambridge University Press)
  • 2007-13 Co-editor of Early Christianity, with Profs. Jens Schröter (Berlin), Jörg Frey (Zürich), Clare Rothschild (Chicago); published by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen. I drafted the “Editorial Manifesto” for this new journal, and was responsible for the first issue (2010/11), on “New Directions in Pauline Theology”
  • 1991-96 Editor, Journal for the Study of the New Testament  (Sheffield Academic Press)

Major Research Grants

  • 2017-22 Chief Investigator, “Texts, Traditions and Early Christian Identities”, funded by Australian Catholic University (Melbourne), c. AU$4 million
  • 2012-17 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Grant (£345,900), for project on “The Fourfold Gospel and its Rivals”
  • 2007-10 Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (£102,853), for project on “Gospels Canonical and Noncanonical”

Current Research Plans

  1. A monograph of approximately 100,000 words on the Epistula Apostolorum, an important and neglected gospel-like text from the mid-2nd century, to include the first translation to treat the Coptic and Ethiopic versions as a single text, with textual variants noted. The most likely publication venue is the SNTS Monograph series (Cambridge University Press).
  2. A collection of my papers and articles on early Christian gospels, some not yet published. Most of the contents is already drafted, but needs further editorial work which will have to be deferred so as to prioritize the Epistula project (above).



Publications: Books

  • 2018 Connecting Gospels: Beyond the Canonical/Non-Canonical Divide, co-edited with Sarah Parkhouse (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 290 approx.
  • 2016 The Fourfold Gospel: A Theological Reading of the New Testament Portraits of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), pp. 224
  • 2016 The Garima Gospels: Early Illuminated Gospel Books from Ethiopia (co-authored with Judith McKenzie, (Oxford: Manar-al-Athar Monographs 3), pp. 352 [pp. 205-87]
  • 2015 Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith, 2nd edition, with new Introduction and Appendices  (T. & T. Clark Cornerstones, London and New York: T. & T. Clark/ Bloomsbury), pp. lxiv + 558
  • 2013 Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. xiv + 665
  • 2007 Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective (Revised and Expanded Edition) (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. xvi + 387
  • 2004 Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith (London and New York: T. & T. Clark/ Continuum), pp. xv + 584
  • 2000 Agape, Eros, Gender: Towards a Pauline Sexual Ethic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. x + 259 (pb 2004)
  • 1997 Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical Theology (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans), pp. viii + 344
  • 1994 Text, Church and World: Biblical Interpretation in Theological Perspective (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans)  pp. viii + 366
  • 1986 Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: A Sociological Approach (Cambridge: CUP), SNTS monograph series 56, pp. xii + 246 (pb 1989, 2004)

Selected Critical Engagements with my Work

  • 2018 Gospel Writing and The Fourfold Gospel: An Examination of the Possibilities and Problems in Francis Watson’s Recent Contribution to Gospels Studies, ed. Joel Willitts and Catherine Sider Hamilton (Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark): contributors include Markus Bockmuehl, Richard Bauckham, Richard Burridge, Mark Goodacre, Margaret Mitchell, Jens Schröter
  • 2018 Christopher M. Tuckett, ‘Watson, Q, and “L/M”’, in Gospel Interpretation and the Q Hypothesis, ed. Heike Omerzu and Mogens Müller (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck). Response: ‘Seven Theses on the Synoptic Problem, in Disagreement with Christopher Tuckett’
  • 2014 Markus Bockmuehl, ‘Francis Watson, Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective’ (JTS 65, pp. 195-211)
  • 2014 Richard Bauckham, ‘Gospels before Normativization: A Critique of Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing’ (JSNT 37, pp. 185-200); Heike Omerzu, ‘Beyond the Fourfold Gospel: A Critical Reading of Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective’ (JSNT 37, pp. 201-9). ‘A Response to Richard Bauckham and Heike Omerzu’ (JSNT 37, pp. 210-18)
  • 2006 Review articles by Douglas Campbell (JSNT 28, pp. 337-51) and Christopher D. Stanley (JSNT 28, pp. 353-62). Response: ‘Paul the Reader: An Authorial Apologia’, JSNT 28, pp. 363-73
  • 2006 Review articles on Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith by J. L. Martyn (SJT 59, pp. 427-38) and Troel Engberg-Pedersen (SJT 59, pp. 439-60). ‘Response’, SJT 59, pp. 461-68

Publications: Selected Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • 2016 ‘Towards a Redaction-critical Reading of the Diatessaron Gospel’, Early Christianity 7 (Mohr Siebeck), pp. 95-112
  • 2010 ‘Beyond Suspicion: On the Authorship of the Mar Saba Letter and the Secret Gospel of Mark’, Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 61, pp. 128-70
  • 2010 ‘Hermeneutics and the Doctrine of Scripture: Why They Need Each Other’, International Journal of Systematic Theology 12, pp. 118-43
  • 2009 ‘Q as Hypothesis: A Study in Methodology’, NTS 55, pp. 1-19
  • 2009 ‘Is the Historian competent to speak of the Resurrection of Jesus? A Study in Hermeneutics’, Kerygma und Dogma 55, pp. 52-72
  • 2008 ‘Scripture in Pauline Theology: How Far Down Does It Go?’, Journal of Theological Interpretation 2, pp. 181-921984            
  • 2008 ‘2 Cor. X-XIII and Paul’s Painful Letter to the Corinthians’, Journal of Theological Studies 35 (n.s.), pp. 324-346
  • 2002 ‘“America’s theologian”: an appreciation of Robert Jenson’s Systematic Theology, with some remarks about the Bible’, Scottish Journal of Theology 55, pp. 201-23
  • 2000 ‘The Authority of the Voice: A Theological Reading of 1 Cor. 11.2-16’, New Testament Studies 46, pp. 520-361985               
  • 2000 ‘The Social Function of Mark’s Secrecy Theme’, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 24, pp. 49-69
  • 2000 ‘The Triune Divine Identity: Reflections on Pauline God-Language, in Disagreement with J. D. G. Dunn’, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 80, pp. 99-124
  • 1999 ‘Trinity and Community: A Reading of John 17’, International Journal of Systematic Theology  1, pp. 168-84
  • 1996 ‘Bible, Theology and the University: A Response to Philip Davies’, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 72, pp. 3-16

Publications: Selected Chapters in Edited Books

  • 2018 ‘The Canon and the Codex: On the Material Form of the Christian Bile’, in The Life of Texts: Evidence in Textual Production, Transmission and Reception, ed. Carlo Caruso, London: Bloomsbury
  • 2018 ‘Reception as Corruption: Tertullian and Marcion in Quest of the True Gospel’, in Rewriting and Reception in/of the Bible, ed. Jesper Tang Nielsen, Jesper Høgenhaven, Heike Omerzu, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck
  • 2018 ‘Q and the Logia: On the Discovery and Marginalizing of P. Oxy. 1’, in Gospel Interpretation and the Q Hypothesis, ed. Heike Omerzu and Mogens Müller (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck)
  • 2017 ‘“Every Perfect Gift”: James, Paul, and the Created Order’, in Muted Voices: Readings in the non-Pauline Letters of the New Testament, ed. Katy Hockey, Madison Pierce, and Francis Watson (London: Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark)
  • 2017 ‘Lindisfarne and the Gospels: The Art of Interpretation’, in Producing Christian Culture: Studies in Medieval Biblical Exegesis, ed. Giles Gasper, Matthew Crawford, and Francis Watson (Farnham: Ashgate)
  • 2017 ‘Barth, Ephesians, and the Practice of Theological Exegesis’, in Karl Barth: The Epistle to the Ephesians, ed. R. David Nelson (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 13-30 + 154-57
  • 2016 ‘How Did Mark Survive?’, in Matthew and Mark across Perspectives, ed. Kristian Bendoraitis and Nijay Gupta (London: Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark), pp. 1-18
  • 2016 ‘Luke Rewriting and rewritten’, in Luke’s Literary Creativity, ed. Mogens Müller and Jesper Tang Nielsen (London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark), pp. 79-95
  • 2015 ‘Does Historical Criticism Exist? A Contribution to Debate on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture’, in Theological Theology, ed. R. David Nelson, Darren Sarisky, Justin Stratis, London: Bloomsbury T. & T. Clark, pp. 307-18
  • 2011 ‘Eschatology and the Twentieth Century: On the Reception of Schweitzer in English’, in Eschatology-Eschatologie, ed. H.-J. Eckstein, C. Landmesser, and H. Lichtenberger (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck), pp. 331-47
  • 2010 ‘In the Beginning: Irenaeus, Creation, and the Environment’, in Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives, ed. David G. Horrell, Cherryl Hunt, Christopher Southgate and Francesca Stavrakopoulou (London & New York: T. & T. Clark/Bloomsbury), pp. 127-39
  • 2009 ‘Genesis Before Darwin: Why Scripture needed liberating from Science’, in Reading Genesis After Darwin, ed. Stephen C. Barton and David Wilkinson (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 23-37
  • 2009 ‘By Faith (of Christ): An Exegetical Dilemma and its Scriptural Solution’, in The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical, and Theological Studies, ed. Michael F. Bird and Preston M. Sprinkle (Hendrickson: Peabody, MA; Milton Keynes: Paternoster), pp. 147-63
  • 2009 ‘Mistranslation and the Death of Christ: Isaiah 53 LXX and its Pauline Reception’, in Stanley E. Porter and Mark J. Boda (ed.), Translating the New Testament: Text, Translation, Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 215-50
  • 2008 ‘Must the Gospels Agree? In Dialogue with Augustine’, in Jesus Christ Today: Studies of Christology in Various Contexts, ed. S. G. Hall (Berlin & New York), pp. 63-87
  • 2008 ‘Veritas Christi: How to get from the Jesus of History to the Christ of Faith without Losing one’s Way’, in Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, ed. Beverly Roberts Gaventa and Richard B. Hays (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 96-114
  • 2008 ‘Resurrection and the Limits of Paulinism’, in The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honor of Richard B. Hays, ed. J. Ross Wagner, Kavin Rowe, A. Katherine Grieb (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 452-71
  • 2007 ‘“I Received from the Lord...”: Paul, Jesus, and the Last Supper’, in Jesus and Paul Reconnected, ed. Todd Still (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 103-24
  • 2006 ‘Constructing an Antithesis: Pauline and Other Jewish Perspectives on Divine and Human Agency’, in Divine and Human Agency in Paul and his Cultural Environment, ed. John M. G. Barclay and Simon J. Gathercole (London & New York: T. & T. Clark), pp. 99-116
  • 2006 ‘The Fourfold Canonical Gospel’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels, ed. S. Barton (Cambridge: CUP), pp. 34-52
  • 2006 ‘Are There Still Four Gospels? A Study in Theological Hermeneutics’, in A. K. M. Adam, S. Fowl, K. Vanhoozer and F. Watson, Reading Scripture with the Church (Grand Rapids: Baker), pp. 95-116
  • 2006 ‘The Gospel of John and New Testament Theology’, in The Nature of New Testament Theology, ed. C. Rowland and C. Tuckett (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 248-62
  • 2002 ‘Is There a Story in These Texts?’, in Narrative Dynamics in Paul, ed. Bruce W. Longenecker, Louisville and London: Westminster/John Knox, pp. 231-39
  • 2002 ‘Barth’s Philippians as Theological Exegesis’, one of two introductory essays (the other by Bruce McCormack) to Karl Barth: The Epistle to the Philippians (repr. Louisville, Kentucky: WJK), pp. xxvi-li
  • 2001 ‘The quest for the real Jesus’, in The Cambridge Companion to Jesus, ed. Markus Bockmuehl (Cambridge: CUP), pp. 156-69
  • 1997 ‘Towards a Literal Reading of the Gospels’, in The Gospels for All Christians, ed. Richard Bauckham (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), pp. 189-211
  • 1997 ‘The Scope of Hermeneutics’, in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, ed. C. E. Gunton (Cambridge: CUP), pp. 65-80
  • 1987 ‘Is John’s Christology Adoptionist?’ in The Glory of Christ in the New Testament [in memory of G. B. Caird], ed. N.T Wright and L. Hurst (Oxford: OUP), pp. 113-24

Publications: Online

2012a,b,c were posted as PDFs on Mark Goodacre’s weblog on 21-23 September 2012, in response to the announcement on 18 September of an allegedly ancient Coptic gospel fragment referring to Jesus’ wife. My articles showed that this fragment is most probably a recent forgery. By the end of September, 2012a had been downloaded over 20,000 times. The articles also led to extensive press coverage in most major European languages and to full feature articles in the Sonntagsblick (Switzerland) and Tovima (Greece).





Heterotopien religiöser Autorität im spätantiken Christentum (FOR 2770)

Logo Quadratisch



+49 941 943-6218

+49 941 943-6219