Prof Holger Szesnat

Holger Szesnat

Holger Szesnat

Dr Szesnat serves the College as Professor of Biblical Literature and Languages, as well Head of the Department of Biblical Studies.

At PTC: September 1998 – August 2001, and again since January 2010.

Born and raised in Germany, Holger took up theological studies there (1984-1987) before moving to South Africa (1987-1998), where he completed postgraduate work in New Testament Studies. He taught at a number of South African universities before taking up an offer to work at PTC (1998-2001), where he taught New Testament in 1998-1999, and then directed the PTC Education by Extension programme (2000-2001). He left PTC in September 2001 for family reasons and taught Biblical Studies at the Eastern Region Ministry Course, based in Cambridge, UK (2001-2009). While in the UK, he also served part-time as an Affiliated Lecturer at the Divinity Faculty of the University of Cambridge (2001-2009), and as an external examiner for a Certificate programme in theology for ministry at the University of Oxford (2005-2009). He returned to PTC in January 2010 to teach New Testament Studies. From July 2012 till April 2016, he additionally served as the Academic Dean of the College.

Dr Szesnat will be on home and sabbatical leave for the first six months of 2018.

Contact & Other Websites

Educational Qualifications

  • B.A. (Hons.) (Biblical Studies) (with distinction), 1990, University of Natal
  • M.A. (Theological Studies; focus: Biblical Studies) (with distinction), 1992, University of Natal
  • Ph.D. (Theological Studies; focus: Biblical Studies), 1999, University of Natal

[The University of Natal (South Africa) subsequently merged with other institutions to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal.]

Research & Teaching Interests

Research interests include (in no particular order):

  • Biblical hermeneutics
  • Methodology of Biblical interpretation
  • Community Bible Study for Social Transformation
  • Paul
  • The parables of Jesus
  • John’s Apocalypse
  • Social and cultural aspects of antiquity and the present, including issues of sexuality and gender
  • The use of computers for the study of theology
  • Christian anarchism

Recent publications

This list is not comprehensive. A complete list dating back to 1993 may be found at Holger Szesnat’s hcommons page (, or at his page (

  • “Bible Study on Economic Justice: Luke 19:11–28”. Forthcoming in: Pacific Journal of Theology (2017 or 2018).
  • “Gender-Based Violence and Ephesians 5: Reflections on the Ethics, Hermeneutics and Didactics of a Community Bible Study in Suva, Fiji.” In Oceanic Voyages in Theology and Theological Education: Reflections and Reminiscences in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Pacific Theological College, edited by Feleterika Nokise and Holger Szesnat, 133-168. Suva, Fiji Islands: Pacific Theological College (2015).
  • “A Church-State Covenant on the Environment?” Pacific Journal of Theology 44 (2010) 30-56; corrected reprint in issue 46 (2011).
  • “‘Some Witnesses Have …’: The Representation of the New Testament Text in English Bible Versions.” TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism 12 (2007).
  • “Who Knows? Wikipedia, Teaching and Research.” SBL Forum 4.9 (2006).

Courses Written for PTCEE

  • BD: Introduction to the Bible (2008)
  • BD: Academic Skills II (in progress)

Supervision at PTC

  • One successfully completed PhD dissertation.
  • 13 successfully completed MTh theses.

Courses Taught at PTC (since 2010)

  • Greek Reading (every year, thoughout the year, since 2010)
  • Greek I & II (B) (every year since 2010)
  • Studies in the Letters attributed to Paul (M) (2017)
  • Apocalyptic Literature (M) (2017) (shared course: 50%)
  • Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics 1 & 2 (M) (2017) (course 2: shared, 50%)
  • Ecumenism and Interfaith Studies 2 (B) (15%) (2017)
  • John, James, and Revelation (B) (2017)
  • Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics 1 & 2 (M) (2016) (course 2: shared, 50%)
  • Empire and Biblical Studies (M) (2016) (shared course: 50%)
  • Introduction to Synoptic Gospels and Acts (B) (2015)
  • Introduction to the Study of Paul (B) (2016)
  • Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics 1 & 2 (M) (2015)
  • Apocalyptic Literature (M) (2015)
  • Social Analysis (B) (2015) (shared course: 20%)
  • Introduction to the Study of the Writings (B) (2014)
  • John, James, and Revelation (B) (2014)
  • Studies in the Letters attributed to Paul (M) (2014)
  • Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics 1 & 2 (M) (2014)
  • Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles (B) (2013)
  • Community Bible Study for Social Transformation (B) (2013) (shared course: 50%)
  • Didactics of Biblical Studies (M 2013) (shared course: 50%)
  • Social Analysis (B) (2012) (shared course: 20%)
  • Introduction to Exegesis (B) (2012)
  • Biblical Interpretation and the Theological Disciplines (M) (2012)
  • Hebrew I & II (B) (2012)
  • Academic Skills I & II (B) (2012)
  • Academic Skills (M) (2012)
  • Research Skills (M) (2012) (shared course; 80%)
  • Pauline Literature (B) (2011)
  • Interpreting the Scriptures (M) (2011)
  • Birth and Passion Narratives (M) (2011)
  • Hebrew Prophets (M) (2011)
  • Amos and the Prophets (B) (2011)
  • Luke-Acts / Gospels (B) (2010)
  • Social Analysis (B) (2010) (shared course: 50%)
  • Exegesis, Context, Text (M) (2010) (shared course: 50%)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (M) (2010)
  • Johannine Literature (B) (2010)
  • Paul’s Metaphors for Ministry (M) (2010)
  • Sociology of Religion (M) (2010) (shared course: 20%)
Last updated 13 November 2017.
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