Professor David Horrell

Research interests

My main research interests currently focus on three main areas,1 Peter and early Christian identity, ecological interpretation, and the intersections of religion and race:

1. The First Letter of Peter. My interest in 1 Peter goes back to the writing of the Epworth commentary on 1-2 Peter and Jude, published in 1998. More recently, I have published a number of essays on 1 Peter, particularly developing a social-scientific or postcolonial perspective on the development of Christian identity in the letter, and a short introductory Guide to the letter (T&T Clark 2008). A number of these essays have recently been revised and published in book-form as Becoming Christian: Essays on 1 Peter and the Making of Christian Identity (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013). I am in the early stages of preparing the International Critical Commentary on 1 Peter, in collaboration with Travis B. Williams.

2. Ecological interpretation and Pauline ethics. In 2005 I published a major work on Pauline ethics, Solidarity and Difference (T&T Clark). Then, from 2006-2009, I directed a project on uses of the Bible in environmental ethics, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) of the UK. Among the publications from the project are three books, published in 2010: The Bible and the Environment (Equinox/Acumen); Greening Paul, co-authored with Cherryl Hunt and Chrstopher Southgate (Baylor University Press) and a co-edited volume entitled Ecological Hermeneutics: Biblical, HIstorical, and Theological Perspectives (T&T Clark). During 2011-2013 I worked on a project funded by the St Luke's College Foundation to develop resources for secondary school teachers and A-level students on the Bible and environmental ethics (see

3. The intersections of religion and race. As theme leader for the "identities and beliefs" section of the University's new Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Research Strategy, I have begun to develop an interest in the intersections of religion and race. My particular interest is in two aspects of this topic: (1) the ways in which terms from the arena of ethnic/racial identity are deployed in ancient constructions of early Christian identity; (2) the ways in which such terms and texts are interpreted in various phases of modern biblical scholarship.This is a developing project, though I have already explored some aspects of it in two essays on 1 Peter: one on "race", "nation", "people" in 1 Peter 2.9, and one on the interpretations of 1 Pet 2.4-10 in German biblical scholarship from 1855-1978.

Research collaborations

Within the University, I am theme leader for the "Identities and Beliefs" strand of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) research strategy, launched in 2012.

With Dr Anna Davis, I have been working on educational resources based on my work on the Bible and environmental ethics, for REOnline, hosted by Culham St Gabriel’s educational trust, and for a number of sixth-form conferences, run by Academy Conferences. This work was supported by the Saint Luke’s College Foundation.

I am also on the steering group for the SBL Ecological Hermeneutics Seminar.