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Professor Paul Trebilco

Paul photo 12Professor
BSc (Canterbury), Bachelor of Divinity (Otago), PhD (University of Durham), FRSNZ

Room: 4S2, Arts Building
Tel 64 3 479 8798

Paul Trebilco is Professor of New Testament. He studied Chemistry at the University of Canterbury, and then did a Bachelor of Divinity at Otago before completing his PhD in the New Testament in 1987 at the University of Durham.

He has published work on the Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds to the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, the apostle Paul, early Christians in Ephesus, the relationship of Scripture and Church tradition, and the Self-designations used by the earliest Christians in the New Testament.

From 2013-2017, he was the General Editor of the Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, published by Cambridge University Press.  In 2017, Paul was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. See further information here:


Interpreting the New Testament

Jesus in the New Testament

The Epistles

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Preferred Areas of Supervision

  • The Historical Jesus
  • The Johannine Literature (John's Gospel, 1-3 John and Revelation)
  • Acts of the Apostles
  • Pauline Theology
  • The Pastoral Epistles
  • Unity and Diversity in the New Testament

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Main Research Interests

  • The Early Christians in Ephesus
  • The Pastoral Epistles
  • The Johannine Literature
  • Diaspora Judaism

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Current Research

  • The issue of self-designation in earliest Christianity. What terms would an early Christian use to address a gathering? We might think they would use the term "Christian", but since this is found only three times in the New Testament, it is unlikely that this is the term they would have used
  • On-going work on the early Christians in Ephesus
  • The development of early Christian communities in Asia Minor into the second century
  • The Pastoral Epistles
  • The sense of the "local" and the "global", as lens through which we can view the New Testament and earliest Christianity

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Current Postgraduate Students

  • Nick Brennan (PhD) “Leading Many Sons to Glory’: Human Destiny and the Identity of Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews”
  • Alesana Eteuati (PhD) “Destigmatization in Matthew 1-3: A reading of Matthew’s infancy and baptismal narrative”
  • Aaron Geddis (MTh) "Elijah’s Failure and Jesus’ Vocation"
  • Ben Hudson (PhD) "Salvation History and Apocalyptic in Ephesians"
  • George Mombi (PhD) “Exploring the Meaning and Significance of the concept of “in Christ” in Colossians as a response to Melanesian concept of ‘Gutpela Sindaun’, with special reference to the concepts of Fullness, Riches, Mystery and Hiddenness”
  • Mathew Newton (PhD) "Improvising Abraham: Paul’s use of the Abraham narratives in Galatians"
  • Ben Ong (PhD) "Hospitality around Food as Key to Unity in 1 Corinthians"
  • Phillip Porter (PhD) "The Possibilities of the Gospel Narratives for Parable Interpretation!"
  • Jonathon Robinson (PhD) "An Intertextual Assessment of Christology in the Markan Miracles"
  • Christine Sansotta (MTh) “Leadership in the New Testament with a focus on Pauline Literature”
  • Blake Wassell (PhD) "Pilate and the Jews in the Gospel of John: A Study in Historiography, Kingship, and Friendship"

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Recent Postgraduate students

  • Carmen Anderson (MTh) “Ἀμήν I Say to You”: Faith, Understanding and Speaking the Truth in Matthew’s Gospel”
  • Doug Anderson (PhD) “The Origin and Purpose of Matthew 27:51b-53”
  • Tualagi Ah-Yek (MTh) “The metaphor of shepherding in John 10:1-18 and 1 Peter 5:1-7 and its significance for Samoan Ministry”
  • David Balchin (MTh) “To Understand the Righteousness of God in Romans is to Understand how the Gospel is the Power of God for the Salvation of those who believe”
  • Erin Bay (PhD) "The Social Significance of the Sacralized Body in The Epistle to the Romans: Pauline Subversion of Cultural Constructions of Human Worth"
  • Deborah Bower (PhD) “Isaiah, the Gospel of Luke, and Peter in Conversation with Cornelius. A Narrative-Critical Analysis of Acts 10:1-11:18”
  • Chris Caradus (PhD) “Beyond a Sonderweg for Israel: An Exploration of Persistence of Exile Themes in relation to Romans 11.26”
  • Tim Dack (MTh) “Grace Redefined in 1 Corinthians 12:9a”
  • Matt Easter (PhD) ““Let Us Go to Him”: The Story of Faith and the Faithfulness of Jesus in Hebrews”
  • Gerard Ellis (PhD) “Grammar as Theology: A Linguistic Rereading of Philippians 2:6-7a”
  • Mark Forman (PhD) “The Politics of Inheritance? The Language of Inheritance in Romans within its First-Century Greco-Roman Imperial Context
  • Patrik Frank (PhD), "Blessed is he who keeps the words of prophecy in this book": an intra-textual reading of the Apocalypse as Parenesis
  • Sarah Harris (PhD) “The Davidic Shepherd King in the Lukan Narrative”
  • Erin Heim (PhD) “Light Through a Prism: New Avenues of Inquiry for the Pauline Ui`oqesi,a Metaphors”
  • Anna Hluan (PhD) “Silence in translation : Interpreting 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in Myanmar"
  • Dale Hokin (MTh) “Is Motivation of Reward and Punishment Faithful to the Teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark?”
  • Luke Hoselton (PhD) "New Creation in Colossians: A Comparative, Exegetical, and Theological Analysis"
  • Tom Innes (PhD) “Into the Deep Water, to the Other Side: Discipleship in Luke’s Lake Stories”
  • Jacqui Lloyd (PhD) "Archaeology and the Itinerant Jesus: a historical inquiry into the Extent of Jesus’ itinerancy in the north"
  • Jonathon Lookadoo (PhD) “The High Priest and the Temple: Metaphorical Depictions of Jesus in the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch"
  • Alan Missen (MTh) “Worship and witness in the Apocalypse”
  • Tony Siew (PhD) “The War Between the Two Beasts and the Two Witnesses: A Chiastic Reading of Rev 11:1-14:5”
  • Dillon Thornton (PhD) “Hostility in the House of God: An “Interested” Investigation of the Opponents in 1 and 2 Timothy
  • Sean du Toit (PhD) “1 Peter: Negotiating Life within the Greco-Roman World”
  • Gillian Townsley (PhD) “The Straight Mind in Corinth: Queer Readings Across 1 Cor 11.2-16”
  • Julia van den Brink (PhD) “Blessings and Woes in Luke: Intertextual Echoes of Antithetical Covenant Blessings and Curses in Luke’s Gospel with Particular Reference to 6:20b-26"
  • Deolito Vistar (PhD) “The Supreme Σημεῖον of Jesus’ Death-and-Resurrection in the Fourth Gospel"
  • Kevin Waldie (PhD) “Compassion, Jesus and Luke: Words and Deeds in a Redaction-Compositional Study of Luke 6:12-8:3”
  • Rick Weymouth (PhD) “The Christ-Story of Philippians 2:6-11: Narrative Shape and Paraenetic Purpose in Paul's Letter to Philippi”
  • Max Whitaker (PhD) "Is Jesus Athene or Odysseus? Investigating the unrecognisability and metamorphosis of Jesus in his post-resurrection appearances"
  • Martin Williams (PhD) “The Doctrine of Salvation in the First Letter of Peter: A Theological-Critical Study”

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Trebilco, P. R. (2017). Outsider designations and boundary construction in the New Testament: Early Christian communities and the formation of group identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 358p. doi: 10.1017/9781108291460

Walton, S., Trebilco, P. R., & Gill, D. W. (Eds.). (2017). The urban world and the first Christians. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 388p.

Trebilco, P. R. (2017). Engaging—or not engaging—the city: Reading 1 and 2 Timothy and the Johannine letters in the city of Ephesus. In S. Walton, P. R. Trebilco & D. W. Gill (Eds.), The urban world and the first Christians. (pp. 160-186). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Walton, S., Trebilco, P. R., & Gill, D. W. (2017). Cities as more than "scenery". In S. Walton, P. R. Trebilco & D. W. Gill (Eds.), The urban world and the first Christians. (pp. xii-xv). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Walton, S., Trebilco, P. R., & Gill, D. W. (2017). Research on urban Christian communities: Looking ahead. In S. Walton, P. R. Trebilco & D. W. Gill (Eds.), The urban world and the first Christians. (pp. 320-324). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

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