PhD (Cambridge)

Senior Lecturer


Contact Details

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The University of Aberdeen School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
King's Quad
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UB


Between 1990 and 1995 I studied Theology in Tübingen, Heidelberg and Cambridge. My PhD thesis in Cambridge (1995-1999) was on Jewish Worship in Philo of Alexandria. In 2000 I became a curate of the Protestant Church of Baden in Wertheim, near Würzburg, Germany. After my pastoral training I returned to university life in 2002 to work on my book on Evil in Dualistic Worldviews. A Comparison of Three Approaches (Qumran, the Johannine Writings, the Apocryphon of John), a project that is still continuing (see below).

I am married, and our daughter was born in November 2007.


Research Interests

The New Testament texts as evidence of the faith of early Christians have a particular interest for me in their historical context. At the moment I am working on the Johannine writings, particularly on the community behind the texts. For this purpose I have also studied sociological approaches, above all the use of the sociology of knowledge. The matter of dualism, particularly in the Johannine writings but also in the New Testament and beyond is also a field I have worked in. Apart from these areas, I have been involved in projects using new approaches on the NT parables and miracle narratives, both published by the Gütersloher Verlagshaus. I also take a strong interest in Pauline studies, especially in Paul and his Jewish background.

I regard the world of the New Testament texts as important for understanding them. Thus I have been studying and continue to maintain an interest in Hellenistic Judaism, particularly Philo of Alexandria. The Qumran texts – the genuine community documents as well as the non-community texts – are also an important aspect of New Testament background that I have been involved in for the last years. But not only the Jewish evidence helps to understand the New Testament. The Gnostic texts, now available through the findings of Nag Hammadi, also provide a wealth of information about the way some Christians in the second century understood the developing Christian traditions – even if this particular interpretation was different from the line represented by the New Testament texts and rejected by the developing consensus. Particularly the Apocryphon of John as a very important and widely circulated document is an important key to the Gnostic approach to the Jewish and Christian heritage, which I have been working on for some time.

Current Research

Currently, I am working on a book on Evil in Dualistic Worldviews. A Comparison of Three Approaches (Qumran, the Johannine Writings, the Apocryphon of John). In this context I study the three different text corpora using methods from the sociology of knowledge to gather information about the three different communities behind these texts. On the basis of their description of evil I aim at describing the way the communities did not want to be, to draw conclusions about the way they were and about the way they used different forms of dualism to develop and maintain their social identity. 


Member of the SBL, particularly the Philo group.

Involved in the Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti project (Jena). 

Member of David Runia's International Philo Bibliography, published annually in the Studia Philonica Annual.

Member of the British New Testament Society.

Member of the British Association of Jewish Studies.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Referee for the editorial board of the Studia Philonica Annual.



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Contributions to Journals


  • Runia, DT., Alesso, M., Birnbaum, E., Geljon, AC., Keizer, HM., Leonhardt-Balzer, J., Niehoff, MR., Pearce, S., Seland, T. & Weisser, S. (2017). 'Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography 2014'. Studia Philonica Annual, vol. 29, pp. 185-228.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1w6tdhx.13
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2016). 'Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography 2013'. Studia Philonica Annual, vol. 28, pp. 393-434.
  • Runia, DT., Berthelot, K., Geljon, AC., Keizer, HM., Leonhardt-Balzer, J., Martin, J., Pearce, SJK. & Seland, T. (2012). 'Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography 2009'. Studia Philonica Annual, vol. 24, pp. 183-229.
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2012). 'Bilder des Bösen in den johanneischen Schriften und ihr Ort in der johanneischen Gemeinde'. Jahrbuch für biblische Theologie, vol. 26, pp. 227-256.

Reviews of Books, Films and Articles

  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2018). 'Book Review: Women in Early Jewish Writings: Eileen Schuller & Marie-Theres Wacker, Early Jewish Writings'. Expository Times, vol. 129, no. 10, pp. 488-489.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0014524618766759
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2018). 'Book Review: Reincarnation in Philo: Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, Reincarnation in Philo of Alexandria'. Expository Times, vol. 129, no. 8, pp. 392-393.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0014524617746891

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings


  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2017). Mose als Mittler bei Philo von Alexandrien. in M Sommer, E Eynikel, V Niederhofer & E Hernitscheck (eds), Mosebilder: Gedanken zur Rezeption einer literarischen Figur im Frühjudentum, frühen Christentum und der römisch-hellenistischen Literatur. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, pp. 123-142.
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2017). Die Funktion des Mahles für die Gemeinschaft bei Philo und Josephus. in D Hellholm & D Sänger (eds), The Eucharist - Its Origins and Contexts. vol. 1, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, vol. 376, Tübingen, pp. 253-273.
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2017). Synagogen als Orte der Tugenden: Der Ort der Philosophie in der frühjüdischen Tradition. in C Riedweg, R Füchslin, C Semenzato, C Horn & D Wyrwa (eds), PHILOSOPHIA in der Konkurrenz von Schulen, Wissenschaften und Religionen: Zur Pluralisierung des Philosophiebegriffs in Kaiserzeit und Spätantike. Philosophie in der Antike, vol. 34, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 127-145.
  • Leonhardt-Balzer, J. (2017). Fall as Ascent: The exegesis of Gen 3-4 and 6:1-4 in the Apocryphon of John. in A Larkin & Z Hadromi-Allouche (eds), Fall Narratives: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Routledge, New York, pp. 203-214.
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