James M. Robinson

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For the American politician, see James M. Robinson (Indiana).

James McConkey Robinson (June 30, 1924 – March 22, 2016)[1] was an American scholar who served as Professor Emeritus of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California. He was a member of the Jesus Seminar and arguably the most prominent Q and Nag Hammadi library scholar of the 20th century. He was also a major contributor to The International Q Project, acting as an editor for most of their publications. Particularly, he laid the ground for John S. Kloppenborg's foundational work into the compositional history of Q, by arguing its genre as an ancient wisdom collection.

He has received criticism from philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig regarding his views on Jesus' resurrection appearances. Robinson argued that these appearances had their origins in second-century Gnosticism. Craig argues that there is no reason to believe that all of these experiences were luminous, and even if they were, that they were interpreted as non-physical appearances.[2] Robinson died in March 2016 at the age of 91.[3]


  • The Problem of History in Mark. Studies in Biblical Theology. London: SCM, 1957.
  • A New Quest of the Historical Jesus. Studies in Biblical Theology. London: SCM, 1959.
  • 'Preaching'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. Edited by Frederick C. Grant and H. H. Rowley. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.
  • With Helmut Koester. Trajectories Through Early Christianity. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971. Reprinted, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006.
  • Editor, The Future of Our Religious Past: Essays in Honor of Rudolf Bultmann. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.
  • General Editor, The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Leiden: Brill, 1977; 4th ed. 1996.
  • With Stephen J. Patterson. The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity, 1998.
  • Co-editor with Paul Hoffmann and John S. Kloppenborg, The Critical Edition of Q. Hermeneia Supplements. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
  • Editor, The Sayings Gospel Q in Greek and English. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002.
  • The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of the Original Good News. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.
  • The Sayings Gospel Q: Collected Essays. Edited by Christoph Heil and Joseph Verheyden. Leuven: Peeters, 2005.
  • The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.
  • Jesus according to the Earliest Witness. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.
  • Language, Hermeneutic, and History: Theology after Barth and Bultmann. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2008.
  • The Story of the Bodmer Papyri: From the First Monastery’s Library in Upper Egypt to Geneva and Dublin. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010.
  • The Manichaean Codices of Medinet Madi. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2013.
  • The Nag Hammadi Story, Leiden, 2014.

Additional biographical source: James M. Robinson. "Theological Autobiography." pp. 117–150 in The Craft of Religious Studies, edited by Jon R. Stone. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.


  1. ^ Jon Ma Asgeirsson,; Kristin de Toyer; Marvin W. Meye (2000). From Quest to Q: Festschrift James M. Robinson. p. 23. ISBN 9042907711. 
  2. ^ Craig, William Lane (1993). "From Easter to Valentinus and the Apostles' Creed once More". Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 52: 19–39. 
  3. ^ "In Memoriam: James M. Robinson". Christian Origins. 

- The Nag Hammadi Story, Leiden 2014.