Peter John Widdicombe
Associate Professor, Religious Studies

My research interests lie in Patristics, the history of doctrine, systematic theology, and artistic representation. I publish on Trinitarian and Christological thought, and scriptural interpretation, in the early church; and on the history of the reception of biblical texts and their artistic representation from the Patristic period through the Reformation. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius, and Augustine are among the principal Patristic authors I study; Barth and others writing on the doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ are among the principal modern authors. I am particularly interested in how the church has used Scripture and philosophy in the development of these doctrines, and how these doctrines are expressed in the context of modern and post-modern thought. I also have an interest in Christian ethics. Presently, I am writing a book on the interpretation of the Drunkenness of Noah in text and art from the early Church through the Reformation. In it, I examine the development of the allegorical approach to the interpretation of Scripture in the Patristic period, the application of that approach in the Middle Ages, and its abandonment at the Reformation. I also look at the way in which the changes in the reading of the Drunkenness affected the way in which the incident was portrayed in paintings, sculpture, and manuscript illustrations. For most of the writers of the Western Christian tradition until the Reformation, Noah in his drunkenness represented Christ in his passion. At the Reformation, Noah in his drunkenness came to represent humanity in its sinful. Christological reading of the Bible had given way to anthropological reading.
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