New Testament

Assistant Director of Graduate Studies: Michal Beth Dinkler
Teaching Group in New Testament: Harold Attridge (Divinity), Michal Beth Dinkler (Divinity), Judith Gundry (Divinity), Yii Jan Lin (Divinity), Gregory Sterling (Divinity)

Recognizing the world-wide need for informed critical study of the New Testament, the doctoral program in New Testament at Yale trains students to be experts in the study of New Testament texts and their ancient contexts, including the earliest Christian communities out of which they arose. Students graduate equipped for a wide range of future professions both inside and outside the academy.  

At Yale, the New Testament doctoral program reflects the inherently interdisciplinary nature of New Testament study, drawing on fields related to many different aspects of the ancient world, including history and literature (e.g., the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Second Temple Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, etc.), language and linguistics, material culture and geography, and political and religious beliefs and practices. Students also gain facility in traditional and contemporary interpretive theories and methods, including theological, historical-critical, socio-cultural, literary, and rhetorical approaches to the New Testament texts. In addition, Yale’s program offers unique resources for studying the critical use of manuscripts, inscriptions, and textual transmission, especially through engagement with faculty and curators at Yale’s world-renowned BeineckeRare Book & Manuscript Library.

At Yale, students regularly engage with the world’s leading experts in a wide variety of subjects, approaches, and methods. The teaching group in New Testament includes faculty drawn from the Divinity School, while close study with faculty in Religious Studies and other departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is both common and encouraged (e.g., Classics, History, History of Art, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Sociology, and Philosophy). New Testament doctoral students regularly take courses and participate in colloquia throughout the University; faculty members outside the New Testament concentration often play significant roles in New Testament students’ courses of study and/or dissertation research. Thus, while the focus of the program is on the New Testament, ancillary training is provided in many other fields.

Over the course of the program, New Testament students are also trained to teach the New Testament in a variety of contexts. After the first two years in coursework, they serve as Teaching Fellows, typically in both undergraduate and graduate level courses, at the University and the Divinity School. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the pedagogical training available through Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where many recent students have earned the Certificate of College Teaching Preparation (a comprehensive training program in effective college teaching).

Yale’s flexible framework allows individual students the freedom to pursue specific areas of interest in greater depth than others. By the beginning of the fourth year, in consultation with advisors, each student develops a special area of interest out of which a dissertation project will grow. Though advisors work closely with students, independent research is encouraged increasingly as the student progresses through the program. 

With special permission, it is possible to make alterations in the program of study and examinations that are pursued. The most recent dissertation titles include: 

  • Unfinished: Approaching Mark as Unfinished Note Collection
  • Prophets and Their Rivals: Interpretation, Gender, and Economics in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5
  • Idol Talk: The Discourse of False Worship in the Early Christian World
  • The Fourth Gospel and the Construction of Minds in Ancient Histiography, Biography, Romance, and Drama
  • Paul, Empire, Calendar, and Galatia: A Postcolonial Analysis of Galatians and Its Modern Interpretation

Contact Information

The Department of Religious Studies
P.O. Box 208287
451 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8287
Phone: (203) 432-0828
mb.dinkler@yale.edu