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Szesnat, Holger
BA (Hons), MA, PhD
Lecturer in New Testament


Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies (New Testament) page:


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Biographical Note

At PTC: 1998-2001, and since 2010.

Dr Szesnat is currently a Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies (New Testament) and Head of the Department of Biblical Studies at PTC.

Born and raised in Germany, Holger took up theological studies there (1984-1987) before moving to South Africa (1987-1998), where he completed postgraduate work in New Testament Studies. He taught at a number of South African universities before taking up an offer to work at PTC (1998-2001), where he taught New Testament in 1998-99, and then directed the PTC Education by Extension programme (2000-01). He left PTC in September 2001 to teach Biblical Studies at the Eastern Region Ministry Course, based in Cambridge, UK, where he was also an Affiliated Lecturer at the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge. He returned to PTC in January 2010. Holger is a member of the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom and is married to Felicity, a South African.

Educational Qualifications

  • B.A. (Hons.) (Biblical Studies) 1990  (University of Natal)
  • M.A. (Theological Studies) 1992  (University of Natal)
  • Ph.D. (Theological Studies) 1999 (University of Natal)

Recent Publications

  • "God's Created World in the Scriptures." Forthcoming (2011).
  • "A Church-State Covenant on the Environment?" Pacific Journal of Theology 44 (2010) 30-56.
  • "Review of Daring, Trusting Spirit: Bonhoeffer's Friend, Eberhard Bethge by John de Gruchy." Political Theology 8.4 (2008) 510-513. (
  • "'Some Witnesses Have ...': The Representation of the New Testament Text in English Bible Versions." TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism 12 (2007). (
  • "Who Knows? Wikipedia, Teaching and Research." SBL Forum 4.9 (2006). (
  • "'Silently Farting in the Face of the Empire': Review of Paul and the Imperial Roman Order, ed. Richard A. Horsley, Harrisburg, Pa: Trinity Press International, 2004." Political Theology 7, no. 1 (2006): 101-08.
  • "Review of Contemporary Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction by Manfred Oeming." Neotestamentica 40.2 (2006), 431-434.
  • "Review of Worlds of Memory and Wisdom: Encounters of Jews and African Christians, ed. Jean Halpérin & Hans Ucko." Theology 109.851 (2006), 375-376.
  • "Representing 'the Text' in Pacific Bible Translations." Pacific Journal of Theology 26 (2001) 21-54.
  • [Ernst, M. & Szesnat, H.] "Der Inselstaat ist tief gespalten." Der Überblick: Zeitschrift für Ökumenische Begegnung und Internationale Zusammenarbeit 36.3 (2000), 80-85.

Recent PTCEE Coursebooks Written

  • BS111, Introduction to the Bible

Recent Conference Papers / Presentations / Workshops

  • "Learning and Teaching Mission". Workshop at the 2010 Viwa Mission Conference, Fiji.
  • "The Things That Can Happen When We Read Parables in Their Full Gospel Context; Or: An Extraordinary Metanoia Requires a Sobering Story, Not a Parable (Lk 19:1-28)." Paper given at the Theological Café, School of Religion and Theology, Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (February 2009) and at the Annual Meeting of the Peterborough Project students, Peterborough, UK (July 2009).
  • "Covenant, Creation and Crisis: Theological Discussion Paper". Commissioned paper for the Pacific Council of Churches' Research Project STP402, "Church - State Covenant on the Environment" (Suva, Fiji Islands, November 2008).
  • "Theological Education in a Non-Residential Key." Paper for a meeting of the staff and students of the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (February 2009).
  • "Exegesis and Hermeneutics in the Bible and Sexuality Conundrum." Invited Paper, Peterborough Theological Society, 28 November 2007.
  • "Ausbildung, Ordination & Amt in der Church of England (insbesondere 'non-stipendiary ministry')." Invited paper at the annual meeting of the Internationale Konfererenz der Predigerseminare (Stuttgart, Germany, 31/03/05).
  • "Taking the Bible seriously in the sexuality debate." Talk at various meetings in East Anglia, England, 2004.
  • "Recent developments in New Testament scholarship". Day-long workshop for Methodist local preachers in East Anglia, focussing on narrative and social-scientific criticism as exegetical tools; November 2003.
  • "Contextual Bible Study". Workshop presentation, Network East Anglia, England, April 2002.
  • "Talking about 'Sex in Those Days': Michel Foucault and the Debate about an Ancient 'History of Sexuality'." Invited public lecture hosted by the Dept. of History, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand (05/05/00).
  • "Sex and Scripture in the Ecumenical Encounter (or: Reflections on the Pain of Real Ecumenical Relationships)." Invited talk at the 'Wednesday Forum' of the School of Ministry, Knox College, Dunedin, New Zealand (03/05/00).

Research Interests

  • Methods of interpretation and hermeneutics
  • Paul
  • Parables in the gospels
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Social and cultural aspects of antiquity and the present, including issues of sexuality and gender
  • The use of computers for the study of theology

Courses Taught (2010-)

  • Greek Reading (every term, every year)
  • Greek I & II (BD) (2012)
  • Hebrew I & II (BD) (2012
  • Academic Skilss I & II (BD) (2012)
  • Academic Skills (MTh) (2012)
  • Research Skills (MTh) (2012)
  • Interpreting the Scriptures (MTh) (2012)
  • Introduction to Exegesis (BD) (2012)
  • Greek I & II (BD) (2011)
  • Hebrew I (BD) (2011)
  • Pauline Literature (BD) (2011)
  • Interpreting the Scriptures (MTh) (2011)
  • Birth and Passion Narratives (MTh) (2011)
  • Hebrew Prophets (MTh) (2011)
  • Amos and the Prophets (BD) (2011)
  • Luke-Acts / Gospels (BD) (2010)
  • Social Analysis (BD) (2010) (shared course: 50%)
  • Exegesis, Context, Text (MTh) (2010) (shared course: 50%)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (MTh) (2010)
  • Johannine Literature (BD) (2010)
  • Paul's Metaphors for Ministry (MTh) (2010)
  • Sociology of Religion (MTh) (2010) (shared course: 20%)

Last updated March 2011

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