He is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, Rector of the Church of St John the Evangelist and formerly Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale University. He holds a degree in New Testament from Cambridge University (St. John's College). He has previously held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Münster.
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 Anglican Church, and is Rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York.
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.
- Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography, Doubleday, 2000. ISBN 978-0-385-49793-0
- Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography, Doubleday, 2004. ISBN 978-0-385-50862-9
- Mary Magdalene: A Biography, Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 978-0-385-51318-0
- Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Doubleday, 2008. ISBN 978-0-385-52027-0
- The Isaiah Targum: Introduction, Translation, Apparatus and Notes, Michael Glazier, 1987. ISBN 978-0-89453-480-5
- A Galilean Rabbi and His Bible: Jesus' Use of the Interpreted Scripture of His Time, Michael Glazier, 1984. ISBN 978-0-89453-374-7
- The Temple of Jesus: His Sacrificial Program within a Cultural History of Sacrifice, 1992. reprint: Global Scholarly Publications, 2001. ISBN 978-1-58684-137-9
- The Brother of Jesus: James the Just and His Mission, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-664-22299-4
- Judaism in the New Testament: Practices and Beliefs, Routledge, 1995. ISBN 978-0-415-11844-6
- Pure Kingdom: Jesus Vision of God, SPCK Publishing, 1997. ISBN 978-0-281-05060-4
- Redeeming Time: The Wisdom of Ancient Jewish and Christian Festal Calendars, 2002.
- Altruism in World Religions, Georgetown Univ. Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1-58901-065-9
- The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-86997-3
- Religious Tolerance in World Religions. Co-ed. with Jacob Neusner, Templeton Foundation Press. 2008, ISBN 978-1-59947-136-5
- Bard College Institute of Advanced Theology -- Bruce Chilton. Accessed June 1, 2009.