SBL Extent of Theological Diversity in
Earliest Christianity Group


The Extent of Theological Diversity in Earliest Christianity Group explores the origin, nature, and extent of theological diversity within Christian communities from the beginnings until approximately 180 CE. Focusing on the evidence for Jesus’ death and resurrection as a narrative used to shape the identity of emergent communities, as well as on the alternatives to this narrative preserved in early Christian sources, the unit seeks to clarify the historical origins and relationship of these diverse forms of Christianity and bring greater precision to the study of “orthodoxy and heresy in early Christianity.”


Papers for 2012 Meeting, Chicago

Papias and the Gospels"
by Richard Bauckham, University of St. Andrews
Response by Loveday Alexander, University of Sheffield

"The Sources of Gospel Tradition in Ignatius"
by Thomas A. Robinson, University of Lethbridge
Response by Helmut Koester, Harvard University



Papers for 2011 Meeting, San Francisco

Earliest Christianity in Egypt
Birger Pearson, University of California-Santa Barbara
Response by James Goehring, University of Mary Washington

Early Christianity in Edessa and Eastern Syria
Stephen J. Patterson, Willamette University
Response by Jerry Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminary 

The Four Gospel Canon in the Second Century
by Charles HIll, Reformed Theological Seminary
Response by Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Second Peter's Knowledge of the Transfiguration's Synoptic Context
by John Poirier, Kingswell Theological Seminary
Response by David Nienhuis, Seattle Pacific University


Papers for 2010 Meeting, Atlanta

Since We Believe that Jesus Died and Rose Again”: The Death and Resurrection of Jesus in 1 Thessalonians"
by Todd Still, Baylor University
Response by E. Elizabeth Johnson, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Paul's Gospel of the Empty Tomb: The Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15"
by James Ware, University of Evansville
Response by Dale Martin, Yale University

Paul's Designations for Members of the Jesus Movement, by Eric Rowe, University of Notre Dame

Peter and Paul and the Encounter in Antioch, by Wendell Willis, Abilene Christian University

Another Gospel: Exploring Early Christian Diversity with Paul and the Didache, by Taras Khomych,
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

“He is risen. He is not here.” He is in the text. - Understanding resurrection in the Gospel of Mark as a
form of "Heterotopia", by Geert Van Oyen, Universite Catholique de Louvain


Papers for 2009 Meeting, New Orleans

“Unity and Diversity in Earliest Christianity,” by James D. G. Dunn, Durham University
Response by Karen L. King, Harvard University

The Passion Narrative Before and After Mark,” by Adela Yarbro Collins, Yale University
Response by Joel Marcus, Duke Divinity School

"The Gnostic Gospels and Earliest Christianity After Thirty Years"
Retrospective Reviews by Harold Attridge (Yale University), Nicola Denzey (Brown University), and
Luke Timothy Johnson (Emory University), with a Response by Elaine Pagels, Princeton University


Papers for 2008 Meeting, Boston

Haggadic Concord and Halakhic Conflict in the First Christian Generation,” by Jeffrey Peterson, Austin Graduate School of Theology
Response by Markus Bockmuehl,
University of Oxford

Paul and Other Christians,” by Jerry L. Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminary
Response by Jennifer Knust, Boston University

“Dating the Crucial Sources for Early Christianity,” by Mark S. Goodacre, Duke University
Response by April DeConick, Rice University

“The Gospel of Thomas as a Source for Early Christianity,” by Simon Gathercole, University of Cambridge
Response by Stephen Patterson, Eden Theological Seminary


Steering Committee 

James P. Ware, University of Evansville (jw44@evansville.edu), Co-Chair
Jeffrey Peterson, Austin Graduate School of Theology (peterson@austingrad.edu), Co-Chair
Mark S. Goodacre, Duke University (goodacre@duke.edu)
John C. Poirier, Kingswell Theological Seminary (poirier@siscom.net)