Todd Klutz

Dr, Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Early Christian Literature

  • Dept. of Religions & Theology, Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile



  • BSc (East Tennessee), ThM (Dallas), MA (Wheaton), PhD (Sheffield)
  • Joined the University of Manchester in 1998
  • Lectured previously at Sheffield (1995-96) and at St Andrews (1997-98)
  • Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies and early Christian literature 

I grew up mainly on the Tennessee-Virginia border and remained in the Tri-Cities area until a growing interest in biblical texts and Christian theology inspired me to move to Dallas, where I focussed on biblical languages and especially ancient Greek at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Two years as an assistant pastor in Bristol, Virginia, and an MA in Historical and Theological Studies at Wheaton were followed by a move to Sheffield (1989), whose Department of Biblical Studies was internationally renowned at that time for its intellectual creativity and theoretically experimental approaches to biblical and related writings from antiquity. My doctoral research at Sheffield reinforced, deepened, and significantly broadened my interests in method and theory in the study of early Judasim, Christianity, and religious discourse more generally.  

My long fascination with all things biblical, theological, and religious is accompanied by an enduring romance with the game of basketball, which I still play from time to time - though with much greater caution than in my youth. In addition to making fifty-seven consecutive free throws (a school record) during my final season of high school competition, on separate occasions I lost a front tooth, sustained a broken jaw, and fractured the fifth metatarsal on my left foot. Hence the scary photo above. 


Supervision Areas for Prospective PhD Applicants: 

  • The use of linguistics (e.g., conceptual metaphor theory, systemic linguistics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis) and the social sciences in the interpretation of biblical and related literatures from antiquity
  • Comparative and intertextual study of the New Testament and the Nag Hammadi library
  • Hellenistic Greek grammar 
  • Luke-Acts  
  • Exorcism and demonology in the world of early Judaism and Christianity 
  • Problems of category construction in the definition of 'Gnosticism', 'magic', 'religion' and related terms 

I have advised and co-advised a significant number of PhD students to successful completion of their degrees. The research of several of those students has been foundational to scholarly articles published after the awarding of the degree; and four in particular have seen their PhD thesis published in revised form as a scholarly monograph. Namely:

  • Gillian Beattie. Women and Marriage in Paul and His Early Interpreters. JSNTSup 296. London: T & T Clark, 2005).
  • Philip Goodwin. Translating the English Bible: From Relevance to Deconstruction. London: James Clarke and Co, 2013.
  • David Lamb. Text, Context and the Johannine Community: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of the Johannine Writings. Library of New Testament Studies. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clarke, 2014. 
  • Frederick Tappenden. Resurrection in Paul: Cognition, Metaphor, and Transformation. Early Christianity and Its Literature. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016.  

I welcome enquiries from all qualified students interested in the possibility of doing PhD research in New Testament and related fields, including most especially discourse analytic approaches to New Testament interpretation, 'Gnosticism' in antiquity, the Nag Hammadi corpus, 'magic' in the ancient Mediterranean world, and select pseudepigraphal texts (e.g., the Testament of Solomon, and the Eighth Book of Moses). 


  • BSc, East Tennessee (1980) 
  • ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary (1986) 
  • MA, Wheaton College Graduate School (1989)
  • PhD, University of Sheffield (1995) 

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Society for New Testament Studies
  • Society of Biblical Literature
  • British New Testament Society
  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures Ethics Committee

Research interests

In the last few years, my research interests in 'Gnosticism', the Nag Hammadi writings, and the construction of heresy in early Christianity has increased my interest in early Christian and other ancient Mediterranean varieties of comparatively individualistic thought. That particular interest has thus far been developed in my own research and writing primarily by applying intertextual and comparative methods to writings such the Apocryphon of John, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Thomas, and a range of their recognised intertexts (especially from the New Testament).

In order to deal responsibly with ancient forms of individualism in particular, I have profited immensely by reading as widely as possible in relevant contributions by sociologists (e.g., Durkheim, the Bergers, and Bellah), social anthropologists (e.g., Gellner), literary theorists (e.g., Harold Bloom), historians (e.g., Siedentop), philosophers (e.g., Charles Taylor), and theologians (e.g., Cyril O'Regan). 

A provisional hypothesis emerging from my work thus far is that what has often been called 'Gnosticism' by historians and heresiographers has been distinguished by comparatively individualistic types of discourse about the ideal self; but also that neither the so-called 'gnostic' writings from Nag Hammadi nor other corpora of early Christian writings can responsibly be interpreted as homogeneously collectivistic/individualistic.  

One of my current PhD advisees, Alexander Potts, is testing a similar hypothesis by applying cognitive narratology to select tractates of Nag Hammadi codex II. Proposals dealing with broadly similar topics are among a much larger range of themes that prospective applicants for PhD study under my supervision may wish to consider. 


Methodological knowledge

More than thirty years ago, I began to appreciate the valuable contributions modern linguistics had made to the study of biblical languages and literature up to that time. From that beginning to the present, I have tried to learn as much as I can from linguistics subdisciplines such as sociolinguistics, pragmatics, stylistics, relevance theory, cognitive linguistics (especially theories of conceptual metaphor), register theory, systemic linguistics, and discourse analysis. My own most systematic effort to use concepts from those areas for purposes of biblical interpretation can be seen in my monograph, The Exorcism Stories in Luke-Acts: A Sociostylistic Reading (Cambridge, 2004). More recently, conceptual metaphor theory - especially its development of the idea of 'orientational metaphor' - is helping me to interpret the portrayal of Judas Iscariot in the Fourth Gospel in ways that shed light on a wide range of issues in the critical study of that text. 

All of this underscores another type of PhD project I am happy and able to supervise: namely, the application of recent linguistic theory and concepts for purposes of interpreting biblical, early Christian, or other ancient Mediterranean and near eastern religious writings. 


In 2019-20 I am the course-unit coordinator for the following BA-level courses: 

  • RELT20711 Jesus: From Jewish Messiah to Hollywood Idol
  • RELT20150 New Testament Greek II 
  • RELT21022 Ethical Issues and the Bible
  • RELT31082 Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean World

I am also the coordinator for the MA core unit, Methods for Analysing Religious and Theological Issues (RELT61131). 

In previous years my teaching has included: 

  • New Testament: Text and Context
  • Introductory New Testament Greek
  • Luke-Acts 
  • Jesus and the Gospels
  • Gnosticism in Antiquity
  • New Testament and the Graeco-Roman World (MA) 

Finally, I have also contributed either lectures or seminar leadership to a range of other course units, including: 

  • Introduction to the Study of Religions and Theology
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
  • Intensive Greek 2 
  • Interpreting Bible and Second Temple Jewish Texts
  • Interpreting Religion
  • Myth and Modernity


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