Professor James Harrison

Professor of Biblical Studies & Research Director, Office of the Dean

James R. Harrison (PhD, Macquarie University, 1997) has been Professor of Biblical Studies and the Research Director at the Sydney College of Divinity, Australia, since 2013. Formerly he was the Head of Theology at Wesley Institute, Drummoyne, from 2002-2012, having taught there as a senior lecturer from 1998. Prior to his appointment at Wesley Institute, he was the Director of the School of Christian Studies at Robert Menzies College, Macquarie University, 2000-2001.

Jim has been a member of the Society of New Testament Studies since 2011. With Professor L. L. Welborn (Forham), he co-convened the Polis and Ekklesia Session at the SBL Annual Meeting (2011-2016) and, with Professor Peter Arzt-Grabner (Salzburg), currently co-convenes the ‘Papyrology, Epigraphy and the New Testament’ Seminar at the annual SNTS General Meeting (2019-2023). He has published four monographs, edited 13 edited books, and has published many articles and book chapters with international presses. He is the editor of the series New Documents Illustrating the History of Early Christianity Vols 11-15 (Eerdmans) and is co-editor, with L. L. Welborn, of The First Urban Churches Vols 1-5 (2015-2019: SBL Press), with four additional volumes forthcoming. Before his academic career, he taught ancient history in two state high schools from 1976-1990.

Areas of Interest

  • Archaeology, epigraphy, papyri, numismatics, and iconography
  • Julio-Claudian society
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • The apostle Paul
  • The eastern Mediterranean cities and their villages
  • The epistle to the Romans
  • The Graeco-Roman world
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • The historical Jesus
  • The Western intellectual tradition and the legacy of early Christianity

Research Strengths

  • The intersection of the New Testament documents with the Graeco-Roman world and Second Temple Judaism: hence
      • the historical Jesus;
      • the apostle Paul;
      • the Gospel of Luke and the epistle to the Romans;
      • the urban and village environment of early Christianity;
      • republican and early imperial Rome.

Currently working on

In addition to completing the remaining four volumes of The First Urban Christians (2020-2023), Jim will be working with Dr Brad Bitner and Dr Alan Cadwallader to publish, respectively, New Documents Illustrating the History of Early Christianity Volume 11 (Ephesus: 2020) and ibid., Volume 12 (Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea: 2021). A new monograph on the gospel of Luke (Jesus, Agent of Mercy and Forgiveness: Studies on the Social Perspective of Luke’s Gospel) is being prepared for publication in 2023. A Zondervan volume in the ALNTS series (Vol. 10), co-edited with Professor Randy Richards (Palm Beach Atlantic University), is being prepared for 2022, titled Inscriptions, Graffiti, Documentary Papyri, Ostraca, Coin Legends. Two other volumes on the Gospels and Acts, edited with Professor Bolt from the SCD Gospels Centre 2018 conference, will be published in 2020. Further articles and invited book chapters for international publications are also being written currently.


Fellow of the Australian Humanities Academy (2018);

2005 Winner of the Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award for Best Book Relating to the New Testament published in 2003 and 2004 for Paul’s Language of Grace in Its Graeco-Roman Context (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003).



2020 Reading Romans with Roman Eyes: Studies on the Social Perspective of Paul
Minneapolis: Lexington Book /Fortress Academic Press, 2020
2019 Paul and the Ancient Celebrity Circuit: The Cross and Moral Transformation
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019
2019 The First Urban Christians Volume 5: Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea
Atlanta: SBL Press, 2019
2011 Paul and the Imperial Authorities: A Study in the Conflict of Ideology
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011
2003 Paul’s Language of Grace in Its Graeco-Roman Context
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003

Book Chapters and Refereed Articles

2017 Beneficence to the Poor in Luke’s Gospel in Its Mediterranean Context: A Visual and Documentary Approach
Australian Biblical Review 65 (2017): 30-46.
2016 Sponsors of Paideia: Ephesian Benefactors, Civic Virtue and the New Testament
Early Christianity 7.3 (2016): 346-367.
2016 The Erasure of Honour: Paul and the Politics of Dishonour
Tyndale Bulletin 66.2 (2016): 161-184.
2013 Paul’s “Indebtedness” to the Barbarian (Rom 1:14) in Latin West Perspective
Novum Testamentum 55.4 (2013): 311-348.
2013 Augustan Rome and the Body of Christ: A Comparison of the Social Vision of the Res Gestae and Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Harvard Theological Review 106.1 (2013): 1-36.

Only a limited number of publications are listed here.

Find a Course
Back to top