Luke T. Johnson


President's Award for Teaching (1988)
Indiana University Bloomington
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Religious Studies


Luke Timothy Johnson is Robert Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins in Candler School of Theology at Emory University and senior fellow of Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

A prolific author, he has written 27 books and more than 300 articles, lectures and reviews. He belongs to several editorial and advisory boards, lectures at universities and seminaries worldwide and has received many fellowships and awards for his teaching, most notably, the President's Award for Teaching from IU in 1988. His research focuses on the literary, moral and religious dimensions of the New Testament, including the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity, Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Letters and the Letter of James. His courses on early Christianity and the New Testament are offered on DVD through The Teaching Company, a business that sells recordings of courses in literature, philosophy, history, fine arts, science, economics and religion.

Johnson is a noted critic of the Jesus Seminar, a group of religious scholars formed in 1985. He has refuted their examination of Jesus as a purely historical figure, claiming that the data on which they base their efforts is biased by early Christian theological beliefs. He further argues that the Jesus Seminar misinterprets the relationship between Jesus as reconstructed by historians and the Jesus of faith.

Johnson grew up in Park Falls, Wisconsin, and was educated in public and parochial schools. He was a Benedictine monk and priest at St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, La., from 1963 to 1972. He holds a doctor of philosophy degree in New Testament from Yale University, a master of arts degree in religious studies from Indiana University, a master of divinity degree in theology from Saint Meinrad School of Theology and a bachelor's degree from Notre Dame Seminary.

Johnson taught at Yale Divinity School and IU Before joining Emory in 1992.