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Theology and religion scholar receives honorary doctorate

John Kloppenborg honoured for his contributions to the study of the New Testament

John Kloppenborg honoured with Doctor of Divinity at Spring graduation ceremony.

John Kloppenborg, University Professor and Chair of the Department for the Study of Religion, was recently honoured with a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Pretoria at its Spring graduation ceremony. Photo: Eyescape Photography, courtesy of the University of Pretoria.

John Kloppenborg, University Professor and Chair of the Department for the Study of Religion, was recently honoured with a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Pretoria, the top research institution in Africa.

A scholar of Christian origins and Second Temple Judaism – a period of Jewish history that lasted between 530 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed – Kloppenborg was recognized for his contributions to the study of the New Testament.

Kloppenborg is particularly known for his expertise on the Synoptic Sayings Gospel (also known as Q), a hypothesized written document of Jesus’ sayings that is thought to be a lost source used for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. He has also written extensively on the social and economic history of the early Jesus movement, the parables attributed to Jesus, ancient papyri, and the Synoptic Problem, which seeks to solve the question of the specific literary relationship among the gospels of the New Testament. His current work focuses on the parables of Jesus, the letter of James, and cultic, professional and ethnic associations in the Greco-Roman world. His most recent project is Early Christians and their Associations, to be published by Yale University Press in September 2019.

“It is a singular honour to be recognized by the University of Pretoria, which is not only the premier research institution in Africa, but also an institution that has done much to rethink higher education in a post-apartheid and post-colonial setting,” says Kloppenborg.

John Kloppenborg.

The honorary doctorate recognizes Kloppenborg’s contributions to the study of the New Testament. Photo: Eyescape Photography.

Kloppenborg is the author of nine books, with several currently in development. Two of his works, Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel and The Tenants in the Vineyard: Ideology, Economics, and Agrarian Conflict in Jewish Palestine, earned him the Francis W. Beare Award in 2001 and 2007 from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. He is also associate editor of 11 theological journals and one of the general editors of the International Q Project and the Papyrologische Kommentare zum Neuen Testament.

Kloppenborg is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds a five-year SSHRC Insight Grant on Associative Practices in the Greco-Roman World. In 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Lethbridge.

Spread over seven campuses with its main campus in Hatfield, Pretoria, the University of Pretoria is renowned for its research output. In 2018, it was one of only four South African universities to be included in the top 500 universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities survey.