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Prof Philip Esler

Portland Chair in New Testament Studies

I specialise in the interpretation of biblical and extra-biblical texts and ancient legal papyri using social-scientific ideas and perspectives to open up new lines of enquiry and to help understand the results. Chevron icon


Professor Esler, who gained his New Testament doctorate from Oxford, practised law in Sydney, Australia, before moving to the UK with his family permanently in 1992, initially to the University of St Andrews. From 2005 to 2009 he was on leave from St Andrews to serve as the first Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Membership of professional bodies

Society of New Testament Studies, Society of Biblical Literature

Teaching & Research


The social-scientific study of biblical and extra-bibllical texts and Dead Sea legal papyri; New Testament theology and the Bible and the visual arts.


More publications from Prof Philip Esler can be found in the Research Repository.