Names in New Testament Scholarship: The Craig Conspiracy

The following has been written a visiting research/PhD student who has been signed on loan until the end of the season. The views below do not necessarily reflect the views of biblical scholars based in Sheffield.

A casual perusal over the names on the Society of Biblical Literature member directory reveals the most interesting results. Did you know that at least 26 biblical scholars are named “Craig”?  The name has Scottish origins and draws from the Gaelic word creag, meaning “rock.” It is popular in both Scotland and much of the English speaking world. Granted, of the 26 members of the SBL, four are merely “student members” (I’m surprised the SBL even decided to include them in the directory without asking them to submit their details six months in advance). Nevertheless, what sticks out for me, as someone interested in New Testament studies, are the New Testament scholars who hold an academic post of some sort at a University or seminary and are named “Craig.” Given these criteria, the following names appear:

Craig L. Blomberg of Denver Seminary

Craig A. Blaising of Southwestern Theological Seminary

Craig A. Evans of Acadia University

Craig R. Koester of Luther Seminary

Craig, William Lane of Talbot School of Theology

Craig S. Keener of Palmer Seminary

Craig C. Hill of Duke

No doubt many of these scholars will be familiar to you. But what links the seven Craig’s of New Testament studies together except for their shared name? Well, as far as I can determine, they all hail from fairly hardline conservative Evangelical perspectives (and in most cases, institutions). Now I admit that while the religious affiliations of Craig C. Hill are less known, if we apply the above rule, then mustn’t he also be a….

Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this; I’m merely observing the facts: If one is named “Craig” and one is a New Testament scholar, then one is a conservative Evangelical and in some cases a borderline fundamentalist apologist. So here is the challenge: Give me one well-known (and preferably reputable, or there abouts) New Testament scholar named “Craig” who isn’t a conservative Evangelical Christian. An impossible task? Surely not…

Anonymous Visiting Research Student


18 responses to “Names in New Testament Scholarship: The Craig Conspiracy

  1. This is a conspiracy indeed. Both the Jesus seminar and the Jesus project are heavily underrepresented by “Craig’s”. I don’t know where else to look to find non-conservative Evangelical New Testament scholars?

  2. This must be so! And likewise, there seem to be a lot of ‘Thomases’ whose orientation is quite the opposite. Thomas L. Thompson, Thomas L. Brodie, Thomas Bolin, myself (if I could include myself in such a list)… must be another conspiracy.

  3. Wouldn’t it depend upon the tradition? 😉

  4. You mean N. Thomas Wright?

  5. My name is Craig, and I’m no evangelical, although I suppose I’m not a Bible scholar either, although I have published in Bible journals—unless Bible and Critical Theory doesn’t count …

  6. Perhaps another one to add to the Craigslist?

  7. Craig Blomberg

    Hmm. Fascinating study. Let’s see, neither Hill nor Koester is an evangelicals, but moderate Wesleyan and Lutheran, respectively. Using Bill Craig is cheating because Craig isn’t his first name. Keener was an atheist turned evangelical as adult. I was raised liberal Lutheran turned evangelical as an adult. Craig Blaising is actually a systematic theologian not a biblical scholar. Sounds like somebody conspired very hard to create a vacuous conspiracy theory. I don’t recall having that much time on my hands for frivolous pursuits when I was a Ph.D. student. . . 🙂

    But maybe someone wants to sell this on craig’s list?

    • Anonymous Visiting Research Student

      Ah I see what you did there! I must now expose your smoke and mirrors!

      As was admitted in the blog post, the leanings of Hill are dubious. But thanks for clarifying them as Wesleyan, which means I was more or less spot on with the label of Evangelical.
      Koester is an Evangelical Lutheran. How do I know? because the interweb told me so.
      My criteria said nothing about using first or second names. Craig is a part of Bill Craig’s name, is it not?
      You also appear to agree with me that Keener and you yourself are, in fact, Evangelicals.
      Now as for Blaising: You may be right in labeling him as a systematic theologian. I would argue, however, that his work on dispensationalism is an attempt at reading the book of Revelation, albeit poorly. Could one not also suggest that the above seven names are, indeed, all systematic theologians of some sort who use the Bible to support their systematic theology?

      Frivolous, yes (of course), but I certainly caught your attention! 😀

    • This IS a conspiracy theory. I attended the Southern Baptist Convention earlier this year, and we were reliably informed that all of the Craigs on this list were extreme lib’rals.

  8. Pingback: The authorship of Matthew in recent commentaries | Auckland Theology, Biblical Studies, et al

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