Doctoral Defence in Biblical Studies (New Testament)

On Friday the 29th of January, at 1 pm, John-Christian Eurell defends his thesis in Biblical Studies (New Testament), about Peter’s Legacy in Early Christianity during the first three centuries.

The opponent/examiner is docent and Senior Lecturer Outi Lehtipuu from Helsinki University. Eurell’s supervisor is Associate professor Rikard Roitto (Stockholm) and assistant supervisor is Professor James Kelhoffer (Uppsala).

2021-01-29 The decision of the examination committee

The dissertation will take place online via Zoom due to the pandemic restrictions. The meeting has a waiting room. You are welcome to join the waiting room from where you will be admitted to the meeting. The defence will be conducted in English.

Peter’s Legacy in Early Christianity: The Appropriation and Use of Peter’s Authority in the First Three Centuries. DTH 1. Stockholm: Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm, 2021

The study combines traditional historical-critical methods with the sociological theories of Max Weber and Pierre Bourdieu in order to discuss how Peter’s authority is portrayed and used to create legitimacy in Christian texts from the first three centuries. The New Testament texts that mention Peter are discussed together with other early Christian writings that in one way or another relate to Peter as an authoritative figure. Peter emerges as a central figure in the diverse early Christian movement and is used to a high degree to discuss theological legitimacy. The main divide is between those who argue that legitimate theology should have a conservative point of departure based on traditional material handed down from the earthly Jesus and an apostolic succession based on interpersonal relations and those who argue in favour of a more progressive point of departure which places more emphasis on contemporary charismatic experiences. Both these perspectives are used by groups of various theological persuasion in order to argue their own position. Peter is sometimes used to legitimise a theological position with reference to Peter’s relationship to the earthly Jesus and sometimes to discredit traditions concerning the earthly Jesus by pointing out that Peter did not understand his true message. Peter is used as both positive and negative example for both these ways of creating legitimacy.

Eurell is the first doctoral student to defend his thesis at University College Stockholm, after the government’s decision to give University College Stockholm the rights to award the doctoral degree.