Prof. Dr. Martin Ebner

University of Bonn
Faculty of Catholic Theology
New Testament Studies’ Department
Regina-Pacis-Weg 1
D-53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 / (0)228 / 73 7643

Current Position

Managing Director of the New Testament Studies Department


Martin Ebner focuses on New Testament texts that try to change the life conditions of slaves in Christian households – without abolishing the legal dependency on their masters. In the Epistles of the New Testament in particular, Christian theologians, such as the Apostle Paul, claim social consequences resulting from the Christian worldview. There is a radical form: Receiving Christ means to enter a new world – without the typical social borderlines of the Roman Empire ("there is neither slave nor free man“, Gal 3:28). The baptized slave must be treated "as a beloved brother“, as Paul tries to persuade the slaveholder Philemon. There is also a more moderate form: Slaveholders should be aware that they themselves are "slaves“ of a heavenly master (Col 4:1). We do not know if Paul was actually successful in creating "agency“ in slave-master-relationships with his epistles. Nevertheless, we still do have these documents, which at least made the attempt to find out.

6 books, 13 edited volumes, approximately 90 academic articles. 1 finished supervised habilitation, 3 ongoing habilitations, 4 completed dissertations, 5 ongoing doctorates


  • 1997                          Habilitation and Venia legendi in Exegesis of the New Testament
  • 1985–1991              Ph.D. in Catholic Theological Faculty, University of Würzburg, Germany
  • 1981–1988              Ecclesiastical Education (Chaplain, Full-Time Teacher of Catholic Religion)
  • 1975–1981              Diploma Studies in Catholic Theology, University of Würzburg, Tübingen (Germany), École Biblique et Archéologique
                                       in Jerusalem (Israel)

Academic Positions

  • 2011–present          Professor for Exegesis of the New Testament, University of Bonn, Germany
  • 1998–2011              Professor for Exegesis of the New Testament, University of Munster, Germany
  • 1991–1997              Research Associate, Biblical Institute, University of Würzburg, Germany

Participation in Centers and Collaborative Projects

  • 2016–present          Member of the DFG Expert Commission 107 Catholic Theology
  • 2008–2011              Head of subproject D2 “Revelation’s Violent Visions and Spectacles of Violence in the Roman Empire” of the
                                       DFG Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics in Premodern and Modern Cultures”, University of Münster,
  • 2000–2004              Participation in subproject D 3: "Griechisch-römische Vereinigungen: Probleme gesellschaftlicher Integration
                                       und Abgrenzung vom 1. bis zum 3. Jh. n. Chr.“ ["Greek-Roman Associations: Problems of Social Integration
                                       and Demarcation from the 1st to 3rd Century AD"] of the DFG Collaborative Research Center 493 “Functions
                                       of Religion in Ancient Near Eastern Societies”
  • 1997–present          Member of the Catholic New Testament Research Group (AKN) (Vice-Chairman 2007-2011, Chairman 2011-
  •                                     Member of the Societas Novi Testamenti Studiorum (Member of the editorial board, 2003-2004)

Additional Academic Activities

  • 2014–present          “Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus” (NTOA) (together with P. Lampe/S. Schreiber/Zangenberg)
  • 2012–present          “Bonner Biblische Beiträge” (together with U. Berges)
  • 2003–2013                Editor of “Biblische Zeitschrift” (together with R. Scoralick)
  • 1999– present           Editor of “Neutestamentliche Abhandlungen”, Münster (together with B. Heininger)

Third-Party Funding

  • 2005–2007               DFG: "Herrenmahl und Gruppenidentität" [“Lord's Supper and Group Identity"] (individual project)
  • 2004–2006               DFG: “Bibelkenntnis und Bibelverständnis in Deutschland” [“Knowledge and Understanding of the Bible in
                                        Germany”] (individual project, together with K. Gabriel)

Selected Publications

  • Inkarnation der Botschaft. Kultureller Horizont und theologischer Anspruch neutestamentlicher Texte. [Incarnation of the Message. Cultural Horizon and Theological Claims of New Testament Texts]. Stuttgart 2015.
  • Die Stadt als Lebensraum der ersten Christen. Das Urchristentum in seiner Umwelt. [The City as Birthplace of the First Christians. Early Christanity in its Environment]. Göttingen 2012.
  • With E. Esch-Wermeling (eds.): Kaiserkult, Wirtschaft und Spectacula. Zum politischen und gesellschaftlichen Umfeld der Offenbarung. [Emperor Cult, Economy and Spectacles. On the Revelation’s Political and Economic Environment]. Göttingen 2011.
  • With K. Gabriel (eds.): Bibel im Spiegel sozialer Milieus. Eine Untersuchung zu Bibelkenntnis und -verständnis in Deutschland. [The Bible in the Mirror of Sociological Milieus. An Analysis of the Knowledge and the Understanding of the Bible in Germany]. Munster 2008.
  • Das Markusevangelium. Neu übersetzt und kommentiert. [The Gospel of Mark. Newly Translated and Annotated]. Stuttgart 2008.
  • (ed.): Herrenmahl und Gruppenidentität. [Lord’s Supper and Group Identity]. Freiburg in Breisgau 2007.
  • (ed.): Aus Liebe zu Paulus? Die Akte Thekla neu aufgerollt. [Out of Love towards Paul? The Thekla Case Revisited]. Stuttgart 2005.
  • Jesus von Nazaret in seiner Zeit. Sozialgeschichtliche Zugänge. [Jesus of Nazareth in his Time. Socio-Historical Perspectives]. Stuttgart 2003.
  • Jesus – ein Weisheitslehrer? Synoptische Weisheitslogien im Traditionsprozeß. [Jesus – a Teacher of Wisdom? Synoptic Sayings of Wisdom in the Process of Tradition]. Freiburg in Breisgau 1998.
  • Leidenslisten und Apostelbrief. Untersuchungen zu Form, Motivik und Funktion der Peristasenkataloge bei Paulus (fzb 66). [Catalogs of Hardships and the Apostle’s Epistles. Analyzing Form, Motifs and Function of Paul’s Catalogs of Hardships]. Würzburg 1991.

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