Muddiman, John 1947-

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MUDDIMAN, John 1947-

PERSONAL: Born March 7, 1947, in Southampton, England; son of Bernard Arthur and Winifred Florence Muddiman; married Gillian Ann Cooper, October 6, 1976 (divorced May 9, 1991); children: Joseph Albert John, Thomas Stephen. Education: Attended Keble College, Oxford, 1965-69; Selwyn College, Cambridge, M.A., 1972; New College, Oxford, M.A., 1975, D.Phil., 1976. Politics: "No party affiliation." Religion: Church of England.

ADDRESSES: Home—226 Herschel Cres., Littlemore, Oxford OX4 3TZ, England. Offıce—Mansfield College, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 3TF, England; fax: 440-1865-270970. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: St. Stephen's House, Oxford, England, vice-principal, 1976-83; University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, lecturer, 1983-90; Oxford University, Oxford, fellow of Mansfield College, 1990—. Honorary priest of Littlemore Parish Church; member of Church of England Doctrine Commission and Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission.


The Bible: Fountain and Well of Truth, Basil Blackwell (Oxford, England), 1983.

The Fasting Controversy in Mark, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1992.

(Editor, with John Barton) Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Continuum (London, England), 2001.

Contributor to volumes such as Companion Encyclopedia of Theology, edited by P. Byrne and L. Houlden, Routledge (London, England), 1995; Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society, edited by P. B. Clarke and A. Linzey, Routledge (London, England), 1996; and Understanding, Studying, Reading: New Testament Essays in Honour of John Ashton, edited by C. Rowland and C. H. T. Fletcher-Louis, Sheffield Academic Press (Sheffield, England), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Biblical researcher and Oxford scholar John Muddiman's research interests span a wide range of theological and biblical topics. Among those interests are the Gospel of Mark; early Christian doctrine and doctrinal controversy in the early church; New Testament eschatology; ecumenical hermeneutics; and the Epistle to the Ephesians.

Muddiman directly tackles the Epistle in A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. The Bible's Book of Ephesians, thought to represent a Pauline epistle associated with the church at Ephesus, "presents great difficulties for the commentator," wrote J. Albert Harrill in Journal of Religion. "The letter has no apparent setting and little obvious purpose." Doubts exist about Ephesus as the destination and its authenticity as a Pauline document, Harrill remarked. With his book, Muddiman offers remarks on commentaries on the Epistle by other scholars and presents "a challenge to the current consensus" of the origins of the Epistle, observed Harrill. "He charts a middle path between authenticity and pseudepigraphy."

Muddiman rejects the widely held consensus that the book of Colossians—an earlier Pauline letter—provided the source for Ephesians. Instead, Muddiman "hypothesizes a core letter to the Laodiceans written by Paul himself that has been reworked by a later editor" as the origin of the Epistle, wrote Pheme Perkins in Interpretation. In addition, Muddiman identifies the Pauline editor as "a Jewish Christian motivated to reconcile Pauline Gentiles with Johannine Jewish Christians in Ephesus," Harrill stated. Muddiman also offers a reconstructed version of the original letter, long ago lost, as an appendix to his commentary.

Perkins remarked that in A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Muddiman "has produced a very readable running commentary on his translation of the text for university level theology students," concluding that the book is "thoughtfully and clearly argued" and "well worth reading." Harrill noted that in the end, Muddiman's commentary "bring&lsbq;s&rsbq; out the theological and religious message of the New Testament for the contemporary church while adhering strictly to sound scholarship and orthodox doctrine," Harrill concluded.

Muddiman is also the editor, with John Barton, of The Oxford Bible Commentary. The one-volume commentary contains detailed information and articles on the contents of the Bible and related topics, with contributions from seventy-nine scholars from North America, Europe, and Israel. The book includes overview essays, expositions, introductions, and bibliographies for all books found in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Christian Bible—the Old Testament and the New Testament, plus the Apocrypha. "The volume is beautifully produced and full of information," commented Daniel J. Harringon in America. Marvin Sweeney, writing in Shofar, observed that The Oxford Bible Commentary "provides a convenient overview of the interpretation of Biblical books for scholars and students." Although the book does not focus on Jewish religious concerns, it does provide a considerable amount of material on Jewish history, literature, and theology. The commentary "would be a wise choice for those looking for a convenient reference volume for the interpretation of the Christian Bible," Sweeney stated. Gabriel Josipovici, writing in Times Literary Supplement, remarked that "there are enough good things in this volume to make it a very superior Commentary indeed."

John Muddiman told CA:"Ecumenical dialogue and the positive relationship between biblical criticism and Christian faith are my chief enthusiasms."



America, March 11, 2002, Daniel J. Harrington, review of The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 16.

Interpretation, April, 2003, Pheme Perkins, review of A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, pp. 219-220.

Journal of Religion, July, 2002, J. Albert Harrill, review of A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, pp. 436-437.

Library Journal, June 15, 2001, Craig W. Beard, review of The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 79.

Shofar, spring, 2003, Marvin A. Sweeney, "Oxford's New One-volume Commentary on the Bible," review of The Oxford Bible Commentary, pp. 137-151.

Times Literary Supplement, December 21, 2001, Gabriel Josipovici, "Digging into Sand," review of The Oxford Bible Commentary, pp. 5-6.


Oxford University Theology Department Web site, (February 24, 2004), profile of John Muddiman.*