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About Prof Paul Middleton

I completed my PhD on early Christian martyrdom in 2004 under Prof. Larry Hurtado at the University of Edinburgh.  Prior to this, I took a Masters in Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (1998), and studied at the University of Glasgow, where I completed two undergraduate degrees: first in Music; then Divinity.


My first academic post was with Edinburgh University’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues, where I was a researcher on a Scottish Government funded project on the needs of Faith Communities in Glasgow.  In 2005, I took up a post as Lecturer in New Testament Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter.   In 2010, after four years in rural Wales, I joined the Chester TRS Department.


I am an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair the ‘Inventing Christianity: Apostolic Fathers, Apologists, and Martyrs’ section.  I am also Secretary of the European Association of Biblical Studies, and chair the Early Christianity Seminar, and Information Officer for the British New Testament Society. I have been a keynote speaker at local schools conferences, and have made regular contributions to radio, television, and print media on topics as diverse as John the Baptist, Martyrdom, Jesus’ sexuality, and contemporary debates on same-sex marriage.  You can follow me on Twitter: @DrPaulMiddleton.



Undergraduate Modules

TH4045 The Bible: Contents and Contexts

TH6047 Jews, Christians, and Pagans (168BCE–132CE)

TH6049 Jesus and the Gospels

TH6051 Dissertation


Postgraduate Modules

TH7026 Jews, Christians, and Pagans

TH7072 The Book of Revelation

TH7074 Christian Theology: Texts and Contexts


Research Areas:

Ancient Jewish and Christian Martyrdom

Early Christianity

Violence and Religion


Research Interests:

New Testament language, literature, and theology

Formation of early Christian identity

Diversity in early Christianity

Violence and Martyrdom in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Music and Theology


PhD Supervision

I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above or from students wishing to explore other areas within Biblical Studies, Second Temple Judaism and Early Christian History.




Santander International Research Excellence Award. (£690)


University of Chester, Learning and Teaching Institute: ‘Bridging the Gap between Academic and Student Expectations on Feedback.’ (£1190)


Church Universities Fund: ‘Sexuality and Anglican identities.’ (£20,000)


Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Education and Publications Grants: ‘Matthew Henry: A Tercentennial Celebration.’ (£400)


Dan Arnold Foundation: ‘Matthew Henry: A Tercentennial Celebration.’ ($7160)


AHRB Student Competition Award, Full PhD Funding (Fees + Grant)

Hamilton Old Parish Church Scholarship (£14,400)

Miss Elizabeth Drummond Trust (£3000)



Elsewhere on the Web



Published Work

Authored Books


Violence and Martyrdom in The Apocalypse (LNTS 534; London: T & T Clark, 2018).


Martyrdom: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: T & T Clark, 2011).


Radical Martyrdom and Cosmic Conflict in Early Christianity (LNTS 307; London: T & T Clark, 2006).

Edited Books


The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Christian Martyrdom (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2020).


Co-edited with Matthew A. Collins, Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety: A Tercentennial Celebration (London: T & T Clark, 2019).


Co-edited with Angus Paddison and Karen Wenell, Paul, Grace, and Freedom: Essays in Honour of John K. Riches (London: T & T Clark, 2009).


The God of Love and Human Dignity: Essays in Honour of George Newlands (London: T & T Clark, 2007).

Select Essays


Were the Early Christians Really Persecuted?’ in Outi Lehtipuu and Michael Labahn (eds), Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in the Ancient World (Amsterdam University Press, in press).


‘Revelation’ in Brian Tucker and Aaron Kuecker (eds), The Social Identity Commentary of the New Testament (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), 585–620.


‘Martyrdom and Persecution in the New Testament’ in Paul Middleton (ed.), the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Christian Martyrdom (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2020), 51–71.


‘Creating and Contesting Christian Martyrdom’ in Paul Middleton (ed.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Christian Martyrdom (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell), 12–29.


‘The Scarecrow Christ: The Murder of Matthew Shepard and the Making of an American Culture Wars Martyr’ in Ihab Saloul and Jan Willem van Henten (eds), Martyrdom: Canonisation, Contestation and Afterlives (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), 181–202.


‘“Filling up the Full Measure of their Sins”: Matthew Henry on the Destruction of the Jerusalem Temple’ in Matthew A. Collins and Paul Middleton (eds), Matthew Henry: The Bible, Prayer, and Piety: A Tercentennial Celebration (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), 115–131.                         


‘The “Noble Death” of Judas Iscariot: A Reconsideration of Suicide in the Bible and Early Christianity.’ Journal of Religion and Violence 6/2 (2018), 245–266.


‘Martyrdom’ in Christopher Moreman (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying (London: Routledge, 2018), 477–489.


‘“Suffer Little Children”: Child-Sacrifice, Martyrdom, and Identity Formation in Judaism and Christianity.’ Journal of Religion and Violence 4/3 (2016), 337–356.


‘Overcoming the Devil in the Acts of the Martyrs’ in Chris Keith and Loren T. Stuckenbruck (eds), Evil in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2016), 357–374.


‘Male Virgins, Male Martyrs, Male Brides: A Reconsideration of the 144,000 “who have not Dirtied Themselves with Women” (Revelation 14.4)’ in G. V. Allen, I. Paul, and S. P. Woodman (eds), The Book of Revelation: Currents in British Research on the Apocalypse (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2015), 193–208. 


‘“Unlock Paradise with your own Blood”: Martyrdom and Salvation in Islam and Christianity’ in H. Bacon, W. Dossett, and S. Knowles (eds), Alternative Salvations: Engaging the Secular and the Sacred (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 109–120.


‘Christology, Martyrdom, and Vindication in the Gospel of Mark and the Apocalypse: Two New Testament Views’ in C. Keith and D. T. Roth (eds), Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado (T & T Clark, 2015), 219–237.


‘Noble Death or Death Cult? Pagan Criticism of Early Christian Martyrdom’ in O. Lehtipuu and M. Labahn (eds), People under Power: Early Jewish and Christian Responses to the Roman Empire (Amsterdam University Press/Chicago University Press, 2015), 205–228.


‘Suffering and the Creation of Christian Identity in the Gospel of Mark’ in C. Baker and B. Tucker (eds), The T & T Clark Handbook to Social Identity in the New Testament (T & T Clark, 2014), 173–189.


‘What is martyrdom?' in Mortality: Promoting the Interdisciplinary Study of Death and Dying 19/2 (2014), 117–133.


‘Suicide in the Bible’, Society of Biblical Literature Odyssey Project (SBL, 2014)


‘Early Christian Voluntary Martyrdom: A Statement for the Defence’ in Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 64 (2013), 556–573.


‘Enemies of the (Church) and State: Martyrdom as a Problem for Early Christianity’ in Annali di Storia dell'Esegesi 29/2 (2012), 161–181.


‘Martyrdom’ in The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 301–303.


‘Review article: The Queer Bible Commentary’ in Theology and Sexuality 16 (2010), 109–114.


‘Paul and Martyrdom’ in P. Middleton, A. Paddison, and K. Wenell (eds), Paul, Grace, and Freedom: Essays in Honour of John K. Riches (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 82–93.



BMus; BD (Glasgow); ThM (Princeton Theological Seminary); PhD (Edinburgh); FRSA; FHEA