Symposium to Examine Research of Perkins Alumnus E.P. Sanders

The scholarly contributions of Dr. E. P. Sanders (M.Th. ’62) – who will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at the upcoming SMU commencement – will be the focus of a symposium scheduled for Friday, May 19, at Perkins Chapel.

The symposium – titled “Comparing Early Judaism and Early Christianity: The Scholarship of E. P. Sanders” – will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and is open to the SMU community and the public. The event is co-sponsored by Perkins, the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the SMU Jewish Studies Program

Four biblical scholars will offer brief presentations during the symposium:

  • Dr. Craig C. Hill, Dean and Professor of New Testament at Perkins;
  • Dr. David P. Moessner, Bradford Chair of Religion, Texas Christian University;
  • Dr. Beverly Gaventa Roberts, Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Baylor University, and Helen H.P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary; and
  • Dr. Sze-kar Wan, Professor of New Testament at Perkins.

Dr. Mark A. Chancey, Professor of Religious Studies in Dedman College, will moderate the discussion.

Dr. Sanders is a 1962 alumnus of Perkins School of Theology and Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion Emeritus at Duke University. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He held faculty positions at the University of Oxford and at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, before becoming Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, from which he retired in 2005.

Dr. Sanders is a fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Previously, he has received honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and the University of Helsinki.

Dr. Sanders’ research has focused on the Early Judaism, the theology of Paul, the Historical Jesus and the Gospels. He is the author of 14 books and numerous monographs that have been translated into 11 languages. His Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) received a National Religious Book Award, and his Jesus and Judaism (1985) won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.