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E. P. Sanders

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E. P. Sanders (b. 1937) was Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University from 1990 until he retired in 2005. His field of special interest is Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman world. He wrote a ground-breaking book called Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) that has changed the face of modern Pauline Scholarship. He is also a main proponent of the New Perspective on Paul.


Sanders was born and grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas. He attended Wesleyan College, Fort Worth (1955-1959) and Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (1959-1962). He spent a year (1962-1963) studying at Gottingen, the University of Oxford and in Jerusalem.

Between September 1963 and May 1966 Sanders studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York for his Th.D. His thesis was entitled The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition (published in 1969), which used "form criticism" to examine whether the Gospel tradition changed in consistent ways.

He was a professor at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), where he taught from 1966 to 1984. In 1968 he won a fellowship from the Canada Council and spent a year in Israel, studying Rabbinical Judaism.

In 1984 he became Dean Ireland's Professor of Exegesis at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Queen's College, positions he kept until his move to Duke University in 1990. He has also held visiting professorships and lectureships at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Cambridge.

Selected publications

Further reading

  • Fabian E. Udoh, ed., et al. Redefining First-Century Jewish and Christian Identities: Essays in Honor of Ed Parish Sanders. University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.

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