James F. McGrath

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James F. McGrath
S200 james.mcgrath.jpg
James Frank McGrath
Academic background
Alma mater
Doctoral advisorJames Dunn[1]
Academic work
InstitutionsButler University
Main interests

James Frank McGrath is the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature[2] at Butler University[3] and is known for his work on Early Christianity, Mandaeism, criticism of the Christ myth theory, and the analysis of religion in science fiction.[4] He received his Ph.D. from Durham University in 1998.[5]


James McGrath earned his diploma in religious studies (with distinction) from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He went on to receive his Bachelor of Divinity from the University of London, in which he was awarded Second Class, First Degree honors in 1995. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Durham in 1998, under the supervision of James D. G. Dunn.[6]

He has served as assistant professor of New Testament at Emmanuel University and the University of Oradea (1998-2001), an adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary and Alliance Theological Seminary (2001-2002), and professor of Religion at Butler University (2002–present).[7] In 2010, he was appointed the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair of New Testament Language and Literature.[2]

McGrath is also the creator of Canon: The Card Game.[8]

Academic publications[edit]

Books authored
  • The Black Archive #52: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (Obverse Books, 2021)
  • The Mandaean Book of John: critical edition, translation, and commentary. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020; with Charles G. Häberl)
  • Theology and Science Fiction (Cascade Companions; Eugene: Cascade, 2016)
  • The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have To Do With Faith? (Patheos Press, 2012)
  • The Only True God: Monotheism in Early Judaism and Christianity (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009)
  • John’s Apologetic Christology: Legitimation and Development in Johannine Christology (SNTS Monograph Series, Cambridge University Press, 2001)
Books edited
  • Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith: Religion and Doctor Who (co-edited with Andrew Crome; Darton, Longman, and Todd, 2013)
  • Religion and Science Fiction (Pickwick Press, 2011; Lutterworth Press, 2012)
Articles and book chapters
  • "A God Needs Compassion, but Not a Starship: Star Trek's Humanist Theology," in The Ultimate Star Trek and Philosophy: The Search for Socrates, ed. Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl. Malden: John Wiley & Sons, 2016, pp. 315–325.
  • "Foreword" to The Son of God: Three Views of the Identity of Jesus, by Charles Lee Irons, Danny Andre Dixon, and Dustin R. Smith. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2015.
  • "Explicit and Implicit Religion in Doctor Who and Star Trek," Implicit Religion 18:4 (2015) 471-484.
  • "Polemic, Redaction, and History in the Mandaean Book of John: The Case of the Lightworld Visitors to Jerusalem," ARAM Periodical 25 (2013) 375-382.
  • "Monotheism," in Vocabulary for the Study of Religion ed. Robert A. Segal and Kocku von Stuckrad (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2015).
  • "Mythicism and the Making of Mark" in The Bible and Interpretation August 2015
  • "Religion’s Futures and the Future’s Religions through the Lens of Science Fiction" in The Changing World Religions Map, ed. Stan Brunn (New York: Springer, 2015) 2893-2905.
  • "Monotheism," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics, ed. Robert L. Brawley (Oxford University Press, 2014) 57-64.
  • "Did Jesus Die in Outer Space? Evaluating a Key Claim in Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus" in The Bible & Interpretation October 2014
  • "John 2:13-16," "The Three Johns," and "The Woman at the Well" - contributions to the Society of Biblical Literature Bible Odyssey website.
  • "Mythicism and the Mainstream: The Rhetoric and Realities of Academic Freedom" in The Bible and Interpretation March 2014.
  • "Epilogue" in Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith (see above).
  • "Revisiting the Mandaeans and the New Testament" in The Bible & Interpretation August 2013
  • "Reading the Story of Miriai on Two Levels: Evidence from Mandaean Anti-Jewish Polemic about the Origins and Setting of Early Mandaeism," ARAM Periodical (2010): 583–592.

Science fiction short stories[edit]

  • "Biblical Literalism in the New Jerusalem," in Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion edited by Paul Levinson and Michael Waltemathe, Fordham University Press, 2016, pp. 161–164.


  1. ^ McGrath, James F. (3 August 2014). "James D. G. Dunn on Gaza". Religion Prof. Patheos. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "A New Testament Scholar Is Named to a Long-Lost Chair at Butler U." Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  3. ^ McGrath, James F. (22 September 2016). James F. McGrath, Theology and Science Fiction (Cascade Companions; Eugene: Cascade, 2016) p.vii. ISBN 9781498204521. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Professor McGrath Finds the Intersection of Theology and Science Fiction". Butler Newsroom. Butler University. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Department of Theology and Religion". University of Durham. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Durham e-Theses". University of Durham. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics". Butler University. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Canon: How a Bible card game is helping students learn how Scripture began". Christian Today. Retrieved 3 April 2019.

External links[edit]