Bruce Chilton

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Bruce D. Chilton
Born (1949-09-27) September 27, 1949 (age 72)
Roslyn, NY
OccupationBiblical scholar and academic
Known forRabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography
TitleBernard Iddings Bell Professor of Philosophy and Religion
Academic background
Alma mater
  • Bard College
  • General Theological Seminary
  • University of Cambridge
InfluencesBen F. Meyer[1]
Academic work
InstitutionsBard College

Bruce D. Chilton (born September 27, 1949 Roslyn, NY) is an American scholar of early Christianity and Judaism. He is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, former Rector of the Church of St John the Evangelist and formerly Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale University.[2] He holds a PhD in New Testament from Cambridge University (St. John's College). He has previously held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Münster.[3]

He wrote the first critical commentary on the Aramaic version of Isaiah (The Isaiah Targum, 1987), as well as academic studies that analyze Jesus in his Judaic context (A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible, 1984; The Temple of Jesus, 1992; Pure Kingdom, 1996), and explain the Bible critically (Redeeming Time: The Wisdom of Ancient Jewish and Christian Festal Calendars, 2002; The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, 2007).

He founded two academic periodicals, Journal for the Study of the New Testament and The Bulletin for Biblical Research. He has also been active in the ministry of the Episcopal Church, and is Rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York. Chilton was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree honoris causa by General Theological Seminary in 2011.[4]

His popular books have been widely reviewed. Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography showed Jesus' development through the environments that proved formative influences on him. Those environments, illuminated by archaeology and by historical sources, include: (1) rural Jewish Galilee, (2) the movement of John the Baptist, (3) the towns Jesus encountered as a rabbi, (4) the political strategy of Herod Antipas, and (5) deep controversy concerning the Temple in Jerusalem.

Bruce and his wife, Odile, live in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. They are the parents of two sons.


Popular books[edit]

  • Chilton, Bruce D. (2000). Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-49793-0. OCLC 44019167.
  • ——— (2004). Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-50862-9. OCLC 54006717.
  • ——— (2005). Mary Magdalene: A Biography. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51318-0. OCLC 58789029.
  • ——— (2008). Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-52027-0. OCLC 157023255.

Academic books[edit]

Edited by[edit]



  1. ^ Denton, Donald L., Jr. (2004). Historiography and Hermeneutics in Jesus Studies: An Examination of the Work of John Dominic Crossan and Ben F. Meyer. London: T&T Clark. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-567-08203-9.
  2. ^ Bard College Institute of Advanced Theology -- Bruce Chilton Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed June 1, 2009.
  3. ^ Bard College faculty profile. Accessed April 10, 2019.
  4. ^ General Theological Seminary, "Honorary Degrees" October 10, 2011.