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Widdicombe Peter, Associate Professor

photo of Peter Widdicombe

Peter Widdicombe

Associate Professor

Retired Faculty
Department of Religious Studies

Area(s) of Interest:


Research & Supervisory Interests

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.


  • Oxford University, D.Phil. in Patristic Theology, 1990
  • Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, M.Div. in Theology, 1981
  • University of Oxford, M.Phil. in Early Modern History, 1977
  • University of Manitoba,B.A. in History, 1974




1BO6: World Religions - Judaism, Christianity, Islam
2HH3: Paul and Christian Origins
2II3: Christianity in the Patristic Period
2JJ3: Christianity in the Mediaeval Period
2KK3: Christianity in the Reformation Period
3KK3: Christianity in the Modern Period
3BO3: Christ Through the Centuries


RS 789/707: The Christological Controversies of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
RS 783: The Place of the Holy Spirit in the History of Christian Thought
RS 789/707: The Writings of Athanasius
RS 789: Augustine’s De Trinitate
RS 783: Christ in Modern Christian Thought
RS 702/783: The Historical-Critical Method and the Study of Sacred Scripture (with Steve Westerholm)
RS 789: The Writings of Origen
RS 764: The Early Christian Interpretation of Scripture
RS 795: Trinitarian Conceptions of God
RS 764: History of Interpretation: The Gospel of John (with Steve Westerholm)
RS 763: The Invisible and the Visible: Scripture, Doctrine, and Art in the Patristic Period
RS: 764: The Psalms in Patristic Interpretation
RS 763: The Reading of Scripture: Genesis in the Eyes of Augustine and Chrysostom



  • Drunkenness, Nakedness, and the Redemption and Fall of an Image: Noah and Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming)

Journal Articles

  • “Slave, Son, Friend, and Father in the Writings of Clement of Alexandria.” Studia Patristica, forthcoming.
  • “Noah and Foxes: Song of Songs 2:15 and the Patristic Legacy in Text and Art.” Studia Patristica 59 (2013): 39-52.
  • "A Trinity of Delights: Proverbs 8:30-31 and its Theological Interpretation in Patristic Thought.” Theoforum 42 (2012): 119-33.
  • “'Patient Teacher to All,' Honoring Oliver O’Donovan: A Symposium." The Living Church (April 2012): 11-13. 
  • "The Drunkenness of Noah and the Patristic Legacy." Studia Patristica 44 (2010): 9-13.
  • "The Two Thieves of Luke 23:32-43 in Patristic Exegesis." Studia Patristica 43 (2006): 273-80.
  • "The Wounds and the Glorified Body: The Marks of Crucifixion in the Ascended Christ from Justin Martyr to John Calvin." Laval Theologique at Philosophique 59 (2003): 137-54.
  • Ascension and Ecclesia and Reading the Fathers.” Laval Théologique et Philosophique 58 (2002): 165-76.
  • "Justin Martyr's Apophaticism." Studia Patristica 36 (2001): 313-9.
  • "Fatherhood and the Conception of God in Early Greek Christian Literature." Anglican Theological Review 82 (2000): 519-36.
  • "The Fathers on the Father in the Gospel of John." Semeia 85 (1999): 105-26.
  • "Justin Martyr and the Fatherhood of God." Laval Théologique et Philosophique 54 (1998): 109-26.
  • "Athanasius and the Making of the Doctrine of the Trinity." Pro Ecclesia 6 (1997): 456-78.
  • “Justin Martyr and Allegorical Interpretation.” Studia Patristica 31 (1997): 234-9.
  • “Knowing God: Origen and the Example of the Beloved Disciple.” Studia Patristica 31 (1997): 554-8.
  • “ὁ ὤν and the Transcendence of Being in Origen's Thought.” Studia Patristica 26 (1993): 342-6.