Professor Joan Taylor

Honorary Professor
Program in Biblical and Early Christian Studies, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Areas of expertise:

Biblical, Second Temple and Christian literature and its archaeological and cultural context; the history of Judaea/Palestine within the Graeco-Roman period; Second Temple Judaism, especially Josephus, Philo of Alexandria and other Jewish writers of the Hellenistic and Roman periods; the Dead Sea Scrolls in their archaeological and cultural environment; the historical figures of Jesus, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Pontius Pilate; the archaeology and history of Christian holy places, site identifications, Christian geography and travel to Palestine; women, gender and sexuality within Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity and the Graeco-Roman world; reception studies of the Bible in television, theatre, literature and film; the representation of Jesus in western art; ancient dress and textile archaeology. 

Phone: +64 02102405481 

Location:  ACU Melbourne Campus

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-8254-3735 

Joan Taylor’s research is wide ranging, but primarily she works in the fields of Second Temple Judaism, Bible and Early Christianity, with a focus on both literary texts and material culture (archaeology and art). She has a special interest in the study of women and gender.

Curriculum vitae

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Select publications


  • Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish‑Christian Origins (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993; rev. ed. 2003).
  • with Shimon Gibson, Beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre: The Archaeology and Early History of Traditional Golgotha (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1994).
  • The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997; also published as John the Baptist: A Historical Study (London: SPCK, 1997).
  • Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria - Philo’s ‘Therapeutae’ Reconsidered (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003; paperback edition 2006).
  • The Englishman, the Moor and the Holy City: The True Adventures of an Elizabethan Traveller (Stroud: Tempus/History Press, 2006).
  • The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Impact Title’ for OUP. Revised Paperback version 2014.
  • What Did Jesus Look Like? (T&T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2018).
  • with David Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life (Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Leiden: Brill, 2021).
  • with Helen Bond, Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2022)

Recent Articles

  • ‘Scholars Working in Television: Some Personal Reflections and Advice,’ in Helen K. Bond and Edward Adams (eds.), The Bible on TV (London: T&T Clark, 2020), 106-119.
  • with Shimon Gibson, ‘Qumran in the Iron Age in Comparison, with Cross-Temporal Reflections on the Hasmonean and Early Roman Periods,’ in Jennie Ebeling and Philippe Guillaume (eds.), The Woman in the Pith Helmet: A Tribute to Archaeologist Norma Franklin (Atlanta: Lockwood Press, 2020), 177-224.
  • ‘Paul's Significant Other in the “We” Passages,’ in Craig A. Evans and Aaron W. White (eds.) Who Created Christianity? Fresh Approaches to the Relationship between Paul and Jesus (Grand Rapids: Hendrickson, 2020), 125-56.
  • with Ilaria Ramelli, ‘Introduction,’ in Joan E. Taylor and Ilaria Ramelli (ed.), Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity (Oxford: OUP, 2021), 1-10.
  • ‘Male-Female Missionary Pairings among Jesus’ Disciples: Some Further Considerations,’ in Joan E. Taylor and Ilaria Ramelli (ed.), Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity (Oxford: OUP, 2021), 11-25.
  • ‘Gendered Space: Eusebius on the Therapeutae and the ‘Megiddo Church,’ in Joan E. Taylor and
  • Ilaria Ramelli (ed.), Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity (Oxford: OUP, 2021), 290-301.
  • ‘What Did Mary Magdalene Look Like? Images from the West, the East, Dura and Judaea,’ in Dress in Mediterranean Antiquity: Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians, edited by Alicia Batten and Kelly Olsen (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2021), 257-78.
  • with Federico Adinolfi, ‘Catching John in Four Nets? Competition, Qumran, Sacramentalism and Messianism: A Reply to Joel Marcus,’ JSHJ 19 (2021), 74-98.
  • ‘Jesus as News: Crises of Health and Overpopulation in Galilee,’ JSNT 43/4 (2021), 8-30.
  • with Mina Monier, ‘Tatian’s Diatessaron: The Arabic Version, the Dura Europos Fragment,
  • and the Women Witnesses,’ Journal of Theological Studies 72 (2021), 192-230.
  • with Elizabeth Schrader, ‘The Meaning of “Magdalene”: A Review of Evidence,’ Journal of Biblical Literature (2021), 751-773.
  • ‘Babatha’s Sisters: Judaean Women Refugees in the Cave of Letters and the Christmas Cave,’ Strata: Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 39 (2021), 35-68.
  • with Kaare Rasmussen et al. ‘Defining Multiple Inhabitations of a Cave Environment using Interdisciplinary Archaeometry: The ‘Christmas Cave’ of the Wadi en-Nar/Nahal Qidron, West of the Dead Sea,’ Heritage Science 10:18 (2022), 1-22.
  • ‘Mary Magdalene in Film: Response,’ Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 20 (2022), 202–208.
  • ‘The Copper Scroll: The Medium, the Context and the Archaeology,’ in Travis Williams and Chris Keith (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls and Ancient Media Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2023), 293-334. 

Accolades and awards

Book prizes

  • Irene Levi-Sala Book Prize (1995) from Ben Gurion University, Israel. for Christians and the Holy Places (Oxford: Clarendon: 1993),
  • Honorable mention in British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies prize 2022 for (with David Hay), Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life (Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Leiden: Brill, 2021).
  • Leverhulme Research Award, ‘Babatha’s Sisters in the Christmas Cave’, 2019-21.


  • Leverhulme International Network Grant for Dispersed Qumran Caves Artefacts and Archival Sources (2016-19). Principal Investigator, see
  • Honours
  • Annual International Theologian, Murdoch University, Perth. September 2019.

Appointments and affiliations

  • Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism, King’s College London (from 2012; previously Lecturer in New Testament, 2009-2012)
  • Senior Lecturer in History and Religious Studies, Waikato University, New Zealand (1992-2003)
  • Visiting Lecturer and Research Associate in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program (New Testament) at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, USA (1996-1997) 

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