New College, University of Edinburgh

Meet the Committee

Helen Bond

Helen is interested in the social, political and cultural context of the Jesus movement and earliest Christianity. She has published widely on a range of topics: the Herods, the Judaean High Priesthood, Roman governors (particularly Pontius Pilate), Josephus, the New Testament Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth, and the trial of Jesus. Her work typically includes analysis of both historical individuals/events and the way they are used for rhetorical effect in later literary texts. She has also appeared in a number of documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery channel.

Helen Bond – Divinity from Research in a Nutshell on Vimeo.

University of Edinburgh staff page

Paul Foster

Paul’s research interests began in Matthew’s Gospel and have broadened to the Pauline corpus and apocryphal Gospels. Paul has recently completed a commentary of Colossians (Black’s New Testament Commentary Series) along with other important works:

The Gospel of Peter: Introduction, Critical Edition and Commentary (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. xii + 555, ISBN: 978-90-04-18094-9.

University of Edinburgh staff page

Timothy Lim

Timothy’s interest in ancient Judaism first arose out of a recognition that so much of the New Testament could be better understood against the backdrop of the Jewish world in which Jesus and Paul lived. A specialist in research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, his work makes an essential contribution to the influence of Second Temple Literature on the New Testament.

University of Edinburgh staff page

Matthew Novenson

Matthew Novenson is a New Testament scholar with particular expertise in the Pauline epistles. His research interests cluster around the question of how first-century Christian texts fit alongside non-Christian Jewish texts from the same period, in the time before Christianity emerged as a Greco-Roman religion in its own right. He has published on a range of topics including the Pauline epistles, early Christian Christology, the Bar Kokhba revolt, ancient biblical interpretation, and ancient rhetoric.

Matthew Novenson – Divinity from Research in a Nutshell on Vimeo.

University of Edinburgh staff page


Sara Parvis

Sara’s research interests within the Patristic period include the development of orthodoxy and the construction of heresy, sources of authority in the Church, the place of scriptural exegesis in Patristic thought, and the search for some of the hidden voices of early Christianity, both doctrinal and sociological.

University of Edinburgh staff page


Margaret Williams

Margaret Williams is a Classicist and Ancient Historian whose special interest is the Jews in the Graeco-Roman world. She has written a large numbers of articles on the subject, focussing particularly on the epigraphic evidence relating to the Jews of the Diaspora. Most notably the Jewish communities of Rome, Aphrodisias and Corycus. Jewish onomastics are a particular interest of hers. Publications on the subject include studies of festal names, double names and Palestinian Jewish names in Acts. Currently she is working on the Jewish ostraca of the 1st century CE from Edfu/Apollinopolis Magna in Egypt.

  • Select Publications

    1. The Jews among the Greeks and Romans: A Diasporan Sourcebook (London: Duckworth and Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

    2. Jews in a Graeco-Roman Environment (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013).

    3.  ‘Semitic Name-Use by Jews in Roman Asia Minor and the Dating of the Aphrodisias Stele Inscriptions’ in E. Matthews (ed.), Old and New Worlds in Greek Onomastics, (Proceedings of the British Academy 148, The British Academy/Oxford University Press, 2007), 173-197.

    4.  “The disciplining of the Jews of Ancient Rome – Pure Gesture Politics?” in C. Deroux (ed.), Collection Latomus, Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History XV (Éditions Latomus : Bruxelles, 2010), 79-102.

    5.  ‘Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism’ (plus sundry other short articles) in J. J. Collins and D. Harlow (eds) The Dictionary of Early Judaism (Wm B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010), 870-875.

    6. ‘Image and Text in the Jewish epitaphs of Late Ancient Rome’, Journal for the Study of Judaism 42.3 (2011), 328-350.

    7. “Jews and Christians at Rome – An Early Parting of the Ways”, in H. Shanks (ed.), Partings: How Judaism and Christianity Became Two (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2013), 151-178.

    8. “From Shimon to Petros – Petrine Nomenclature in the Light of Contemporary Onomastic Practices”, in Helen K. Bond and Larry W. Hurtado (eds), Peter in Early Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2015), 30-45.

    9. “Citation in Elite Roman Epistolary Writing: The Letters of Cicero, Seneca, and Pliny”, in Sean A. Adams and Seth M. Ehorn (eds), Composite Citations In Antiquity I – Jewish, Graeco-Roman, and Early Christian Uses (London/Oxford: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2016), 57-73.

    10. “Juvenal, the Jews and Judaism. Two Puzzling Allusions re-Interpreted” (Latomus 75.1, 2016), 116-128.

University of Edinburgh staff page


Philippa Townsend

Philippa’s research interests include the following: Early Christian identity formation Race and ethnicity in the Greco-Roman world Sacrifice in the Greco-Roman world and early Christianity Non-canonical (‘Gnostic’) Christian texts and the construction of orthodoxy and heresy Greek philosophical traditions (especially Neoplatonism) and their relationship to early Christianity.

  • Select Publications

    1. ‘The Manichaean Body and Society’, in Motions of Late Antiquity: Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society in Honor of Peter Brown, ed. Helmut Reimitz and Jamie Kreiner, (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016).

    2. Beyond the Gnostic Gospels: Studies Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels (co-editor with Nicola Denzey-Lewis, Eduard Iricinschi, and Lance Jenott), Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity, (Tübingen:  Mohr Siebeck, 2013).

    3.  ‘Sacrifice and Race in the Gospel of Judas’, in Judasevangelium und Codex Tchacos: Studien zur religionsgeschichtlichen Verortung einer gnostischen Schriftensammlung, ed. Gregor Wurst and Enno Popkes, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012).

University of Edinburgh staff page

Student Committee


Pictured left to right: Mark Lamas Jr., Sydney Tooth, Joshua Bruce, Ryan Collman, Sarah Agnew, and Brian Bunnell.


Our student committee is comprised of six PhD candidates from the University of Edinburgh who help manage CSCO’s blog, social media sites, and events along with regularly contributing their own content.