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PhD (in New Testament studies) with KU Leuven


The Australian Catholic University (ACU) and KU Leuven, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, are calling for applications for two PhD positions.

Under a cotutelle agreement, the candidates will be based in Leuven, but may spend some time at ACU in Melbourne.

Upon successful completion of the degree, the candidates will graduate from ACU and KU Leuven.


Description of the topic and PhD project proposals

The candidates will work in a team with other researchers of the research programme “Texts, Traditions, and Early Christian Identities”, which is a cooperation of leading New Testament researchers based at ACU, Durham University and KU Leuven.
The candidates will be required to prepare their own research project within the larger research programme.
Particularly, we call for candidates whose work would fit within and contribute to the following two Project Areas:

  • Project 1 (supervisor: Prof. Joseph Verheyden, co-supervisor: Prof. David Sim):

This project will highlight the different and competing accounts of Christian identity at stake in the reception of early Christian gospels and gospel-related traditions in the literature of the second and early third century. There will be a particular focus on important but under-researched texts, which the Project will seek to bring into the mainstream of early Christian studies by investigating connections and contrasts with the canonical gospels. The project will highlight the diversity of early Christian identities, in opposition to the traditional binary divide between (proto-)orthodoxy and heresy.


  • PhD position 2 as part of Project 2 (supervisor: Prof. Reimund Bieringer, co-supervisor: Prof. David Sim):

This project intends to illuminate the way in which Paul composes his epistolary texts (specifically the scripture-rich material in Romans 9-11) contributes to early Christian identity formation. Elements of the project will focus on the role which Paul’s Jewish background (including both biblical texts and Jewish traditions and texts of the Second Temple period) played in the composition of his letters, and whether or how the interplay of continuity and discontinuity reflects the processes of identity-formation in early Christian communities. The role of Paul’s Greek and Roman cultural environment will also be taken into account. A PhD candidate within this project would be expected to undertake doctoral research on aspects of the reception and absorption of Jewish scriptures into Christian discourse and practice. One key line of enquiry might be to examine to what extent this absorption of scripture represents a cultural and ethnic uprooting of these texts, and to what extent the scriptures remain associated with the Jewish people. Parallels with the absorption of the Greek tradition within Roman discourse will be used to illuminate the degrees and types of cultural absorption at work in this case.



The candidates must satisfy the entrance requirements for Theology PhDs at both ACU and KU Leuven.

Specifically, they must have an MA in Theology and/or Religious Studies or equivalent.

A thorough knowledge of Greek (and Hebrew for Project 2) is required.

We primarily look for candidates with a major in Biblical Studies, but candidates with an MA degree or equivalent in classics or ancient history will be considered.


Duration: 4 years full-time

Commencement date: as soon as possible

Location: Candidates are based in KU Leuven but may spend some time at ACU Melbourne campus

Closing date for applications: 9 November 2018

Inclusions: details concerning salary can be found at .

Social benefits and health insurance may also be included.


What we offer

This programme offers the opportunity to work in an excellent international team of senior, advanced and junior researchers in an ambitious context in Departments of Theology and Religious Studies in Australia and Belgium, which are international and research-oriented and boasts some of the best library facilities in the world.

It also enables the project to be completed within the context of a large-scale international research project, led by scholars from KU Leuven, ACU, and Durham, and drawing on the expertise of an international advisory board.

For more information on the Faculties and their international programmes, see and For more information about the “Texts, Traditions, and Early Christian Identities” project, click here.

Interested candidates may contact the promoters informally via e-mail (;

Application Procedure

Candidates must apply simultaneously to KU Leuven and ACU


To apply to KU Leuven:

Letter of application (including your curriculum vitae, your letter of motivation, a sample of a published work or a writing sample, a 2 page proposal relating to the preferred project, and two letters of recommendation) should be sent to or by regular mail to:

Prof. Reimund Bieringer

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies

St.-Michielsstraat 4, bus 3101

B-3000 Leuven, Belgium


To apply to ACU:

Details on how to apply to ACU can be found here.

For information on submitting an application to ACU please contact:

Prof. David Sim

IRCI, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy

Australian Catholic University


Any data you may submit for this application will be protected in keeping with current legislation in Australia and Belgium. No data will be passed on to third parties.

No refunds are possible for the costs of the interviews.


Application Deadline: 9 November 2018

Interviews: 3 or 5 December 2018

Start of the position: as soon as possible.