James Dunn (theologian)

James Douglas Grant Dunn
Born (1939-10-21) 21 October 1939
Birmingham, England
Nationality British
Occupation New Testament scholar
Known for New Perspective on Paul
Title Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham
Academic background
Education University of Glasgow, University of Cambridge
Thesis year 1968
Academic work
Discipline Biblical studies
Sub discipline NT studies
Institutions University of Durham
Notable works The New Perspective On Paul (2007)

James D. G. "Jimmy" Dunn FBA (born 21 October 1939)[1] is a British New Testament scholar who was for many years the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham, now Emeritus Lightfoot Professor. He has worked broadly within the Protestant tradition.

Dunn has an MA and BD from the University of Glasgow and a PhD and DD from the University of Cambridge. For 2002, Dunn was the President of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, an international body for New Testament study. Only three other British scholars had been made President of the body in the preceding 25 years. In 2006 he became a Fellow of the British Academy.

In 2005 a festschrift was published dedicated to Dunn, comprising articles by 27 New Testament scholars, examining early Christian communities and their beliefs about the Holy Spirit.[2]

Dunn is especially associated with the New Perspective on Paul, along with N. T. (Tom) Wright and E. P. Sanders. He is credited with coining this phrase during his 1982 Manson Memorial Lecture,[3] although he himself admitted that it was Wright who already used the term in his 1978 Tyndale Lecture, where Dunn was sitting on the front row.[4]

Dunn has taken up Sanders' project of redefining Palestinian Judaism in order to correct the Christian view of Judaism as a religion of works-righteousness. One of the most important differences to Sanders is that Dunn perceives a fundamental coherence and consistency to Paul's thought. He furthermore criticizes Sanders' understanding of the term "justification", arguing that Sanders' understanding suffers from an "individualizing exegesis".

He is a minister of the Church of Scotland and a Methodist local preacher.


Dunn has written or edited numerous books and papers, including:



  1. DUNN, Prof. James Douglas Grant, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. Graham N. Stanton, Bruce W. Longenecker & Stephen Barton (editors) (2004). The Holy Spirit and Christian origins: essays in honor of James D. G. Dunn. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8028-2822-1.
  3. Richard N. Longenecker, Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul's Most Famous Letter, p. 327, at Google Books. Eerdmans, 2011. ISBN 978-0802866196
  4. N.T. Wright, Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision, p. 11-2, at Google Books. SPCK, 2009. ISBN 978-0-281-06090-0

External links

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