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Personal profile

Personal information

At the Faculty of Theology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, I hold the Dom Helder Câmara Chair in Contextual Biblical Interpretation.

As a New Testament scholar with expertise in the history of Christianity and ecumenical theology, I am interested in the relationship between biblical interpretation and context. What contexts further which interpretations? What interpretations are made impossible by which contexts? 

In the fields of the History of Christianity (Church History), ecumenical theology and ecclesiology, I teach at Utrecht University and the Old Catholic Seminary. Details about my work there can be found here: https://www.uu.nl/staff/PBASmit

I welcome enquiries concerning research internships and undergraduate and postgraduate thesis projects.




My research in New Testament studies has three foci:

Contextual biblical interrpretation - I am co-director of the Centre for Contextual Biblical Interpretation, together with prof. dr. Klaas Spronk (PThU). We cooperate with organizations such as Kerk in Actie and the Netherlands Bible Society to further research into the relationship between contextuality and biblical interpretation, pursuing the question "what does the Bible really mean for the people reading it?" The Bridging Gaps exchange program is an important part of this work. In my inaugural address, I illustrated how context and bibilcal interpretation cohere. In some of my work on masculinity (below), I explored how biblical texts are interpreted in different contexts to construct masculinities. In my work on canonical criticism and hermeneutics, I also pursued the link between context and interpretation. 

Meals, food, and ritual in the New Testament and early Christianity, this includes my doctoral thesis on the eschatological meal. Currently I am working on a handbook on meals and food in Early Christianity for Bloomsbury Publishers with prof. dr. Soham Al-Suadi (Rostock). On ritual, I published a series of papers on "ritual failure".

Masculinity in early Christianity and in the reception of early Christian texts: I have a particular interest in early Christian views of gender and the use of such texts to argue for particular constructions of gender in history and today. This has led to an introduction to masculinities studies and biblical studies and three volumes of studies with dr. Ovidiu Creanga, dr. Adriaan van Klinken and prof. dr Jorunn Okland: Biblical Masculinities Foregrounded (Sheffield, Phoenix Press), Jesus Traditions and Masculinities in World Christianity (special issue of Exchange) and Making Men: The Reception of the Bible in the Construction of Masculinities in Jewish and Christian Con/Texts (special issue of the Journal of the Bible and its Reception).

I also hold a chair in "Ancient Catholic Church Structures and the History and Doctrine of the Old Catholic Churches" at Utrecht University. This chair, founded by the Old Catholic Seminary, enables me to pursue my work in the history of Christianity and ecumenical theology. Here, I also co-direct the NWO sponsored project "Bueprints of Hope" on the relationship between the ecumenical movement and European unification between 1930-1960.


In the MA program Exploring a Discipline, I coordinate a special track in contextual biblical interpretation. My teaching encompasses a course in contextual biblical interpretation in the MA program and a postgraduate seminar in systematic theology and ecumenical theology sponsored by research school NOSTER. 

Much of my time is dedicated to supervising PhD theses. Some of the dissertations that I have (co-)supervised or are currently supervising:

Mike Pears, Ethnotopography and Church Planting (co-supervisor) [defended: 2 September 2015]

Zachary KingThe Motifs of Growth, Absent Master and Wedding Feast in the Parables: An Early Christian Argument for the Delay of the Parousia as Impetus for Gentile Inclusion (defended 14 February 2017)

Dean FurlongThe Identification of John  the Evangelist in the Early Church (defended 1 December 2017)

Christian Holmgaard, New Creation in the Gospel according to Matthew (defended 31 January 2018)

Fedir Raichynets, The Ukrainian Revolution and the Ukrainian Evangelical Churches: The use of Scriptures in the context of conflict in the course of Revolution of Dignity (supervisor).

J. Gabriel Raimondo, The 1992 Spiritual Revival in Argentia. A Historical-Theological Investigation of the Phenomenon of the Anointing (La Unción) (supervisor).

Jacobie HelenaPoverty and Masculinity in the Epistle of James and the South-African Context

Gerda van DeelenDe hermeneutiek van Willem Barnard (co-supervisor)

I welcome enquiries about new BA, MA, or PhD thesis projects.


Ancillary activities

  • Oud Katholieke Seminarie | Utrecht | Bijzonder Hoogleraar | 2011-03-01 - present
  • Oud Katholieke Parochie Amsterdam | Amsterdam | Assistent Pastoor | 2011-04-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Education/Academic qualification

Ecumenical Theology and Anglican Studies, PhD


History of Christianity, Habilitation, University of Bern


New Testament, PhD, University of Bern


Biblical Studies, Master, University of Sheffield


Theology, Master, University of Amsterdam



  • BR Christianity
  • BS The Bible
  • BT Doctrinal Theology
  • BX Christian Denominations
  • PA Classical philology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Peter-Ben Smit is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Jesus Arts & Humanities
Corinthians Arts & Humanities
Masculinity Arts & Humanities
Meal Arts & Humanities
Shade Arts & Humanities
Questioning Arts & Humanities
Contextual Arts & Humanities
Philippians Arts & Humanities

Research Output 2009 2019

19 januari 2020 - De moeder van Jezus: een volhardende vrouw

Smit, P-B., 2019, In : De eerste dag. 43, 1, p. 48-49

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

Bijbel en 'beperking': Contextuele en missiologische perspectieven

Smit, P. B. A. (ed.), Noort, G. (ed.), Hamberg, A. (ed.), van der Ham, K. (ed.) & Luteyn, M-J. (ed.), 2019, Zoetermeer: KokBoekencentrum. 96 p. (NZR Cahiers; vol. 5)

Research output: Book / ReportBook editingProfessional

Dienen leiderschap

Smit, P. B. A., 2019, In : De eerste dag. 42, 4, p. 28-29

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

Een nieuwe wereldorde: Een exegetische schets bij het pinksterverhaal in Handelingen

Smit, P. B. A., 2019, In : Met andere woorden. 2019, 1, p. 46-52

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

Open Access

It's the Ritual, Stupid! The Ritual Turn in New Testament Studies in Theological Perspective

Smit, P-B., 2019, In : NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion . 73, 3, p. 169-190

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

New Testament Studies
Biblical Studies
Systematic Theology

Activities 2011 2013

  • 13 Lecture / Presentation
  • 1 Editorial work

Exchange (Journal)

P.B.A. Smit (Member of editorial board), A.S. van Klinken (Member of editorial board)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic

Thecla: Masculinity and Apostolicity’

P.B.A. Smit (Speaker)
9 May 2013

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Jesus’ divine male body

P.B.A. Smit (Speaker)
10 Jul 2013

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Male table manners?

P.B.A. Smit (Speaker)
29 Nov 2013

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

The End of Adoptianism?

P.B.A. Smit (Speaker)
19 Nov 2012

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Press / Media

Let's talk about sekse, baby

Peter-Ben Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Religie is belangrijke basis voor wetenschap

Peter-Ben Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Een ziek of beschadigd lichaam hoort wel degelijk bij je menselijke identiteit

Peter-Ben Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Elke maaltijd barst van de rituelen

Peter-Ben Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Dit zijn de geestelijken van de toekomst

Peter-Ben Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment