#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Matthew Novenson

#50-2-Follow: 50 NT Scholars to Read and Follow—Matthew Novenson February 21, 2020

This blog series spotlights 50 NT scholars and their research. The goal of this series is to introduce readers to a wider circle of scholarship than they have encountered before. The majority of people on this list are early or mid-career NT scholars who are doing great research and writing. 



Matthew Novenson

Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Christian Origins

University of Edinburgh

Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.

I find the Bible and everything Bible-adjacent endlessly interesting and exciting. And I never tire of the experience of seeing students, undergrad and graduate, have their own interpretive epiphanies with this or that ancient text.

What is one “big idea,” emphasis, or theme in your scholarship that you hope impacts the way students and scholars read and understand the NT?

The way the texts that make up the New Testament are part of the history of Judaism in antiquity. Inspired by scholars like E. P. Sanders, William Horbury, Paula Fredriksen, and Friedrich Avemarie, I have come to think that one can only make good historical sense of the NT if one really knows Second Temple and also rabbinic Judaism.

Who is your academic hero and why?

Albert Schweitzer for his independence of mind, my PhD supervisor Beverly Gaventa for her precision as an exegete.

Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.

Jonathan Z Smith, Drudgery Divine
Jacob Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul

 Read Novenson’s Books

The Grammar of Messianism: An Ancient Jewish Political Idiom and its Users (OUP, 2019)


Christ among the Messiahs: Christ Language in Paul and Messiah Language in Ancient Judaism (OUP, 2015)


Novenson is also an editor of the Oxford Handbook of Pauline Studies, coming soon to print!


Follow Novenson ONLINE 

OnScript Podcast Interview about The Grammar of Messianism

Summary of The Grammar of Messianism (ASOR)

Syndicate Network Symposium on The Grammar of Messianism

 If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, what would you want to talk about?

my kids’ music and sports, Scottish indie rock music, hiking trails around Edinburgh and Chattanooga

What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?

A nearly finished book called The End of the Law, on Jewishness and time in the letters of Paul. You might think of it as a Paul-and-Judaism book that tries to demolish the genre of Paul-and-Judaism books.

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