Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus
Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity
Daniel Patte's interest in hermeneutics (Early Jewish Hermeneutics in Palestine) and in theories of communication, structuralism, and semiotics (three books on "Structural Exegesis") led him to pay special attention to The Religious Dimensions of Biblical Texts and, in particular, those of Paul's letters (Paul's Faith and the Power of the Gospel) and Matthew (The Gospel according to Matthew). His concern for moral responsibility (Ethics of Biblical Interpretation) led him to a practice of "Scriptural Criticism" that accounts for the analytical-exegetical, hermeneutical-theological, and contextual choices any interpretations of the Bible involves. This practice was formulated in dialogue with Cristina Grenholm in the context of a Society of Biblical Literature seminar on Romans through History and Cultures (also a book series they edit; see hyperlink); he prepares a commentary on Romans. Scriptural criticism -- and its attention to the ways in which people (ordinary Christian believers or biblical scholars) with diverse religious views and a variety of social and cultural backgrounds are affected by New Testament texts in different ways -- has been illustrated in The Challenge of Discipleship: A Critical Study of the Sermon on the Mount as Scripture, and in the co-authored book with Monya Stubbs, Justin Ukpong, and Revelation Velunta, The Gospel of Matthew: A Contextual Introduction for Group Study (in press). He is preparing tools for the practice of scriptural criticism, as the general editor of A Global Bible Commentary (Abingdon Press; in process, 2004; see hyperlink), which will provide a broad sampling of contextual biblical interpretations and of The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity (Cambridge University Press; in process, 2006; see hyperlink), which aims at making understandable the complexity of present-day Christianity by clarifying the contextual character of Christian theological views, practices and movements through history and cultures. Professor Patte served as General Editor of Semeia: An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism of the Society of Biblical Literature (1992-98), he is now on the editorial boards of The Bulletin of Contextual Theology in Southern Africa and Africa and of Chinese Christianity: An Experimental Journal of Bible, Theology and Culture.