Welcome to the academic homepage of 

Peter W. Martens

Associate Professor of Early Christianity
Department of Theological Studies
Saint Louis University

I am a scholar of late antique Christianity with a special interest in the ways in which early Christians engaged their past in order to shape their present and future. This past included their Scriptures, the memories and traditions surrounding Jesus and the martyrs, and the textual legacies of a growing body of experts from the third century on. The modes of engagement I am particularly interested in include a wide range of intertextual transactions, ritual, and public debate.

My own scholarship traverses a number of disciplinary cultures, but I am mainly a textual scholar, with expertise ranging from manuscript studies through contextualized analyses of texts that are attuned to what we today commonly call their ‘theological’ voice. Throughout most of my work lies a commitment to identifying how our organization of the past is indelibly tied to our own, often shadowy, sometimes dubious, commitments.

My first book examined Origen's portrait of the ideal scriptural interpreter (Origen and Scripture: The Contours of the Exegetical Life [Oxford University Press, 2012; paperback reissue: 2014; Spanish translation, 2018]). My second monograph is a study, critical edition, and annotated translation of Adrian's Introduction to the Divine Scriptures, a fifth century handbook on the Bible with a close literary relationship to Theodore of Mopsuestia's Commentary on the Psalms (Oxford University Press, 2017). Paul Blowers and I are editing the Oxford Handbook on Early Christian Biblical Interpretation.

I have given invited lectures at many universities around the world, including Yale, Notre Dame, Rome ("Sapienza"), Kent, Aarhus, St Andrews, and BYU. I have published over a dozen articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Early Christian Studies, the Harvard Theological Review, Modern Theology, the Journal of Religion and Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum. Some of these are available at my Academia.edu site. I have also received fellowships and grants from Dumbarton Oaks, the Fulbright Program, the DAAD, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and most recently, the American Philosophical Society. 

I welcome doctoral students who wish to do textual scholarship and/or locate Christian intellectual discourses within the wider social and cultural worlds of late antiquity. Students interested in re-examining how we narrate the history of biblical interpretation and Christology are especially welcome. 



Saint Louis University, Department of Theological Studies