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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
  • Oud Katholieke Parochie Amsterdam | Amsterdam | Assistent Pastoor | 2011-04-01

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 Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Masculinity Arts & Humanities
Jesus Arts & Humanities
Meal Arts & Humanities
Gospel of Matthew Arts & Humanities
Contextual Arts & Humanities
Philippians Arts & Humanities
Corinthians Arts & Humanities
Circumcision Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2009 2018

Barende mannen en mannelijke moeders: Galaten 4 en mannelijkheid

Smit, P. B. A., 2018, In : Schrift. 50, 4, p. 49-54

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlePopular

Das Neue als Problem und Prinzip neutestamentlicher Theologie

Smit, P. B. A., 2018, In : Interkulturelle Theologie. 78, p. 375-384

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Het lichaam van Christus aan tafel. Paulus van Tarsus en Judith Butler in Korinthe

Smit, P. B. A., 2018, Rond de tafel. Maaltijd vieren in liturgische contexten. Klomp, M., Speckmann, I. & Smit, P-B. (eds.). Heeswijk-Dinter: Berne Media, p. 47-52

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Activities 2011 2013

  • 13 Lecture / Presentation
  • 1 Editorial work

Jesus’ divine male body

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

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Male table manners?

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

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Thecla: Masculinity and Apostolicity’

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

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Exchange (Journal)

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

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic

Press / Media

Elke maaltijd barst van de rituelen

P.B.A. Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Dit zijn de geestelijken van de toekomst

P.B.A. Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Het paasverhaal kan helpen bij de discussie over voltooid leven

P.B.A. Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Met die oude bijbelteksten de straat op

P.B.A. Smit


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Was Jezus ‘gewoon mannelijk’? Dat is maar zeer de vraag

P.B.A. Smit


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment