Peter Oakes

Peter Oakes


  • Samuel Alexander Building room S 1.42

Personal profile

My group

PhD Study

I have supervised PhD research on a range of subject in NT studies, especially in Paul's letters and on relationships between NT texts and aspects of Graeco-Roman society and culture. One particular aspect of PhD work here at Manchester is the ability for Biblical Studies students to have second supervisors from Jewish Studies, Classics and other departments such as Linguistics. Currently, three of my PhD students are co-supervised by professors in the Classics and Ancient history department. PhD students here also have regular access to expertise of many of our Honorary Research Fellows (see the Centre for Bibilcal Studies web pages), who gather weekly in term time at the Ehrhardt Biblical Studies Research Seminar, which usually has 20-40 participants.

Successful past PhD's include: Diana Woodcock on rosette decorations on ossuaries, etc; Isaac Mbabazi on forgiveness in Matthew; Andrew Boakye on resurrection life in Galatians; Pyung-Soo Seo on Christ and the Emperor in Luke; Richard Britton on a Derridean reading of Romans; Elif Karaman on early Christian women in Ephesus; David Harvey on honour in Galatians. Benedict Kent on patronage and Paul's Christology; Yoonjong Kim on an interdependence-theory reading of Romans; Rosie Jackson on women's bodies in early Christianity;

Current PhD students include: Sam Rogers reading Luke's parables in Corinth etc; Justin Daneshmand on Christ's elusiveness in Luke-Acts; David Bell on the NT and childhood; Siobhán Jolley on Magdalene traditions; Anna Budhi on masculinity of the historical Jesus; Vivian Jones-Johnson on a womanist approach to 1 Cor. 5-7.


Office hours

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  • MA (Cambridge ), PGCE (Liverpool), BA (LondonBibleCollege), DPhil (Oxford);
  • Joined department in 1997.

Research interests

Specific research interests:

My research began with study of the archaeology and history of the Roman colony of Philippi. I tried to model the society and church in the town and, on the basis of this, to think about the issues that Paul's letter would have raised for people in that situation. I continue to be fascinated by the lives of first-century Christians in the Graeco-Roman world and by the question of how the New Testament texts would have been received by them.

From Philippians, I have moved more broadly into Pauline study, especially on Romans and Galatians. For the past twelve years, I have been interested in the archaeology of Rome and of Pompeii. I think that recent social study of the Vesuvian towns has a great deal to teach us about the context of NT texts. This led to a 2009 book Reading Romans in Pompeii: Paul's Letter at Ground Level (SPCK/Fortress). 

Current research projects:

I recently published a commentary on Galatians for the Paideia series (Baker Academic, 2015). I am a member of the academic committee of the CNRS GDRI that developed the ERC project, Judaism and Rome, and continue to be heavily involved in the project.  I am currently contributing articles on politeuma (Phil. 3:20) and Revelation 17-19 to project volumes. I am also editing a project volume on Herodian temple building and its reception.

I very much enjoy meeting with a wide range of colleagues to discuss research. The weekly Ehrhardt Seminar in Biblical Studies, here at Manchester, never fails to bring new light on papers that one brings to it. The same can be said of the weekly Classics and Ancient History research seminar. Our department's regular colloquia with the universities of Lausanne, Geneva and Sheffield are always a source of new ideas. I chair the Paul seminar of the British New Testament Society and am a member of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research. I take part in meetings of the Context Group for Biblical Research, an International group specializing in the application of the social sciences to Biblical interpretation, and have recently been part of a working group of the Paul and Politics group of SBL, studying Philippians in its context.

External positions

Editor, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Booklist


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