John Barton (theologian)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Barton

Born (1948-06-17) 17 June 1948 (age 70)
TitleOriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, Emeritus at Oxford University
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Academic work
DisciplineBiblical studies
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford

John Barton, FBA (born 17 June 1948) is a British Anglican priest and Biblical scholar. From 1991 to 2014, he was the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College. In addition to his academic career, he has been an ordained and serving priest in the Church of England since 1973. His research interests and extensive publications have been in the areas of the Old Testament prophets, the biblical canon, biblical interpretation, and Old Testament theology. From 2010 to 2013, he researched Ethics in Ancient Israel, having been funded by a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship. Barton is a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2007. As of 2013, he continued to assist in services and other activities in the parish of Abingdon, in which he resides.

Early life and education[edit]

John Barton was born on 17 June 1948 in London, England.[1] He was educated at Latymer Upper School, an independent school in Hammersmith, London.[2] He studied theology at Keble College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1969: as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree in 1973.[3][4] He moved to Merton College, Oxford to undertake postgraduate research, and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in 1974.[3] His doctoral thesis was titled "The relation of God to ethics in the eighth century prophets".[5] He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree, a higher doctorate, by the University of Oxford in 1988.[2]


Academic career[edit]

Barton was as a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford between 1973 and 1974.[6] In 1974, he was elected a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford, and made a university lecturer in theology (Old Testament) at the University of Oxford.[2] He was promoted from lecturer to Reader in Biblical Studies in 1989.[2] In 1991, he was made Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture and therefore elected a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.[6] From 2010 to 2013 he held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for work on a project entitled Ethics in Ancient Israel.[7] He stepped down as Oriel and Laing Professor in 2014,[2] and was made an Emeritus Fellow of Oriel College.[8][9] Since 2014, he has been a Senior Research Fellow of Campion Hall, Oxford, a Jesuit-run Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford.[2][4]

Additional roles[edit]

He has been a Delegate of Oxford University Press[10] since 2005. From 2004 to 2010 he was joint editor of the Journal of Theological Studies and is one of two Anglophone editors for the German monograph series Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, published in Berlin.[11]

Ordained ministry[edit]

In 1973, Barton was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon and priest.[3][12] Concentrating on his academic career, he did not hold an ecclesiastical position until 1979 when he was made chaplain of St Cross College, Oxford.[3][2] He continued this ministry until he left St Cross College for Oriel College, Oxford in 1991.[2] In addition to his professorial appointment, he served as Canon Theologian of Winchester Cathedral between 1991 and 2003.[3][2] He assists in services and other activities in the parish of Abingdon, in which he resides.[4][12]

From 2000 to 2005 and from 2009 to 2010 he served on the Church’s General Synod, representing the clergy of the University of Oxford.[citation needed] He sits on the Governing Body of Ripon College Cuddesdon,[citation needed] and was elected President of Modern Church in 2011.[13] In 2013, Barton resigned from the office due to ill health,[14] but he continues to serve on the editorial board of the periodical, Modern Church.[12]

Research interests[edit]

Barton's research interests have included the Old Testament prophets, the biblical canon, biblical interpretation, Old Testament theology,[9] as well as biblical ethics.[citation needed]


In 2007, Barton was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[6] He is also a Corresponding Fellow of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[4][15][16]

In 1998, Barton was awarded an honorary Doctor of Theology (Dr. theol.) degree by the University of Bonn.[2]


Sole authorship[edit]

  1. Barton, John (1980). Amos’s Oracles against the Nations. Society for Old Testament Study monograph series. 6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521225014. OCLC 5241529.
  2. ——— (1984). Reading the Old Testament: Method in Biblical Study. London & Philadelphia, PA: Darton, Longman & Todd & Westminster Press. ISBN 9780664245559. OCLC 10507716.
  3. ——— (1986). Oracles of God: Perceptions of Ancient Prophecy in Israel after the Exile. London: Darton, Longman & Todd. ISBN 9780232516661. OCLC 16922767.
  4. ——— (1989). Love Unknown: Meditations on the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. London: SPCK. ISBN 9780281044405. OCLC 869153450.
  5. ——— (1988). People of the Book? The Authority of the Bible in Christianity. Bampton lecture, 1988. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664250669. OCLC 18739764.
  6. ——— (1991). What is the Bible?. London: SPCK. ISBN 9780281045280. OCLC 927643761.
  7. ——— (1995). Isaiah 1-39. Old Testament Guides. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press. ISBN 9781850755418. OCLC 463409488.
  8. ——— (1997). The Spirit and the Letter: Studies in the Biblical Canon. London: SPCK. ISBN 9780281050116. OCLC 475988728.
  9. Making the Christian Bible, London: Darton, Longman & Todd 1997; American edition How the Bible came to be, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press 1998.
  10. Ethics and the Old Testament, London: SCM Press 1998; Czech edition, 2006.
  11. Joel and Obadiah: A Commentary, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press 2001.
  12. Understanding Old Testament Ethics, Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press 2003.
  13. Living Belief: Being Christian, Being Human, London: Continuum 2005.
  14. The Nature of Biblical Criticism, Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox, 2007.
  15. The Old Testament: Canon, Literature and Theology: Collected Essays of John Barton, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.
  16. The Theology of the Book of Amos, New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  17. “Ethics in Ancient Israel”, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Joint authorship[edit]

  1. Robert Morgan with John Barton, Biblical Interpretation (Oxford Bible), Oxford: Oxford University Press 1988.
  2. John Barton and Julia Bowden, The Original Story: God, Israel and the World, London: Darton, Longman & Todd 2004; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 2005.


  1. Language, Theology, and the Bible: Essays in Honour of James Barr, Oxford:Oxford University Press 1994 (with S. E. Balentine).
  2. After the Exile: Essays in Honour of Rex Mason, Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press 1996 (with D. J. Reimer).
  3. The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998; Spanish edition, 2001; Chinese edition, 2009.
  4. Offenbarung und Geschichten, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2000 (with Gerhard Sauter); English version Revelation and Story: Narrative Theology and the Centrality of Story, Aldershot: Ashgate 2000.
  5. The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001 (with John Muddiman).
  6. The Biblical World, London: Routledge 2002, two volumes.
  7. Apocalyptic in History and Tradition, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press 2003 (with Christopher Rowland).
  8. Die Einheit der Schrift und die Vielfalt des Kanons/The Unity of Scripture and the Diversity of the Canon, BZNW 118, Berlin: W. de Gruyter (with M. Wolter).
  9. Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah, London: T & T Clark International, 2010 (with Francesca Stavrakopoulou).

Personal life[edit]

In 1973, Barton married Mary Burn. Together they have one daughter.[2]

Barton lives in the parish of Abingdon.[12]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "John Barton". Massachusetts Bible Society. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Barton, Rev. Prof. John". Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.6714. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e "John Barton". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "john.Barton". Campion Hall. University of Oxford. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  5. ^ J., Barton (1974). "The relation of God to ethics in the eighth century prophets". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "British Academy - Elections to the Fellowship - British Academy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  7. ^ Leverhulme Trust Staff (January 2010). "The Leverhulme Trust Newsletter [Major Research Fellowships, Humanities: Professor John Barton]" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Emeritus Fellows". Oriel College. University of Oxford. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b "University of Oxford, Theology Faculty - Prof. John Barton (Emeritus)". Archived from the original on 15 September 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Oxford University Press - Annual Report HomePage". Retrieved 2015-05-13.
  11. ^ De Gruyter Company, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (Supplements to the Journal for Old Testament Scholarship) at Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Modern Church Staff (11 April 2015). "Editorial board". Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  13. ^ Anthony Wollard, “Mind the Gap” in Signs of the Times, No. 42 - July 2011, see "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-09-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  14. ^ Anthony Woollard, ”Endings and Beginnings” in Signs of the Times, No. 49 - April 2013, see "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-09-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Accessed September 22, 2015,
  15. ^ "Gruppe 8: Religionsvitenskap og teologi" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  16. ^ "2008 - British Academy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ernest Nicholson
Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture
Succeeded by
Hindy Najman
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
John Saxbee
President of Modern Church
Succeeded by
Linda Woodhead