John Barton is a biblical scholar and was the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford from 1991 to 2014. In addition to his academic career, he has been an ordained and serving priest in the Church of England since 1973, and has represented Oxford clergy on the Church’s General Synod. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
Among his publications are Reading the Old Testament (John Knox Press, 1984, several subsequent editions), The Nature of Biblical Criticism (John Knox Press, 2007), Ethics in Ancient Israel (Oxford University Press, 2014), and The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Companion (Princeton University Press, 2016). He is joint editor of The Oxford Bible Commentary, and editor-in-chief of a major online encyclopaedia, The Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Religion. His books deal with the interpretation of the Bible, how it came together and became authoritative in Judaism and in the Church, and its theological and ethical themes—concentrating especially on the Old Testament.
His first trade book, A History of the Bible: The Book and its Faiths, was published by Penguin in 2019 to widespread acclaim, becoming a Sunday Times bestseller and winning the Duff Cooper Prize. Since then, Barton has published The Word: On the Translation of the Bible (Allen Lane, 2022). Telling the story of how the Bible has been translated, this book is the product of a lifetime’s study of scripture and was praised as “immensely scholarly, well written and sprinkled with light touches” by the Literary Review.