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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, 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, the British New Testament Society, and the European Association of Biblical Studies, of which I am currently Secretary. As well as participating in national and international conferences, 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: ProfPMiddleton


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



Research Areas

  • Ancient Jewish and Christian Martyrdom
  • Early Christianity
  • Violence and Religion
  • The Book of Revelation

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.



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

Hamilton Old Parish Church PhD Scholarship (£14,400)

Miss Elizabeth Drummond Trust (£3000)

Elsewhere on the Web




Published Work

Authored Books


The Violence of the Lamb: Martyrs as Agents of Divine Judgement in the Book of Revelation (LNTS 586; 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


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).


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

Select Essays


‘“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, in press).


‘The “Noble Death” of Judas Iscariot: A Reconsideration of Suicide in the Bible and Early Christianity.’ Journal of Religion and Violence 6/2 (2019), in press.


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


‘The Scarecrow Christ: The Murder of Matthew Shepard and the Making of an American Culture Wars Martyr’ in Jan Willem van Henten and Ihab Saloul (eds), Canonization and Cross-Cultural Martyrdoms (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, in press).


‘Martyrdom’ in Christopher M. Moreman (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying (London: Routledge, 2017), 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 (WUNT II/417; 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 Garrick V. Allen, Ian Paul, and Simon P. Woodman (eds), The Book of Revelation: Currents in British Research on the Apocalypse (WUNT II/411; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2015), 193–208. 


‘“Unlock Paradise with your own Blood”: Martyrdom and Salvation in Islam and Christianity’ in Hannah Bacon, Wendy Dossett, and Steve 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 Chris Keith and Dieter T. Roth (eds), Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado (LNTS 528; T & T Clark, 2015), 219–237.


‘Noble Death or Death Cult? Pagan Criticism of Early Christian Martyrdom’ in Michael Labahn and Outi Lehtipuu (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 J. Brian Tucker and Coleman A. Baker (eds), The T & T Clark Handbook to Social Identity in the New Testament (London: 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 Paul Middleton, Angus Paddison, and Karen 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.