Luke Timothy Johnson

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Luke Timothy Johnson
Born (1943-11-20) November 20, 1943 (age 72)
Park Falls, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology
Known for Theologian, historian, scholar, former priest
Religion Christian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Joy Randazzo (1974 - present)
Awards 2011 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion
Academic background
Education Notre Dame Seminary, Saint Meinrad School of Theology, Indiana University
Alma mater Yale University (Ph.D.)
Academic work
Discipline New Testament studies
Institutions Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Notable works The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels

Luke Timothy Johnson (born November 20, 1943) is an American New Testament scholar and historian of early Christianity. He is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. Johnson's research interests encompass the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity (particularly moral discourse), Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Epistle of James.

Early life[edit]

A native of Park Falls, Wisconsin, Johnson was educated in public and parochial schools. A Benedictine monk and priest at St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, Louisiana from 1963 to 1972, he received a B.A. in Philosophy from Notre Dame Seminary in 1966, a M.Div. in Theology from Saint Meinrad School of Theology in 1970, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Yale University in 1976.[1] He has taught at St. Meinrad, Saint Joseph Seminary College, Yale Divinity School, and Indiana University.

Academic career[edit]

Johnson is a critic of the Jesus Seminar, having taken stances against Burton Mack, Robert Funk and John Dominic Crossan in discussions of the "historical Jesus".[2] Johnson objects to the Seminar's historical methodology. He is also a proponent of an early dating for the Epistle of James, arguing:

"The Letter of James also, according to the majority of scholars who have carefully worked through its text in the past two centuries, is among the earliest of New Testament compositions. It contains no reference to the events in Jesus' life, but it bears striking testimony to Jesus' words. Jesus' sayings are embedded in James' exhortations in a form that is clearly not dependent on the written Gospels."[3]

In some areas, Johnson disagrees with Roman Catholic teaching. He has publicly declared his support for women's ordination[citation needed] and he has expressed concern for what he perceives to be the Roman Catholic Church's overemphasis and singling out of homosexual partnerships amidst the myriad of other sexual sins condemned in the Bible.[4]

Johnson has produced lectures on early Christianity and ancient Greek philosophy for The Teaching Company. [5]


He is the recipient of the 2011 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson married Joy Randazzo in 1974 and is stepfather to six children and father of one.


Johnson is also the author of a large number of scholarly articles, encyclopedia, anthology and popular articles, book reviews, and other academic papers and lectures.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Robert M. Price Review of The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels. The Journal of Higher Criticism, (Spring, 1997), 156-158.
  3. ^ Johnson, Luke Timothy (1996). The Real Jesus. HarperOne. p. 121. ISBN 0060641665. 
  4. ^ " Homosexuality & the Church: Two Views", Commonweal Magazine, June 2007.
  5. ^ "Professor Bio Page" , The Teaching Company, retrieved 18 Nov 2014
  6. ^ "Ancient religions had much in common, says Grawemeyer winner". 

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