Ian H. Henderson

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor of New Testament Studies

(on sabbatical leave July—December 2022 and July—December 2023)

Ian H. Henderson
Contact Information

3520 University Street, Room 202
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2A7, Canada

Fax number: 
Email address: 
ian.henderson [at] mcgill.ca

B.A. (Manitoba)
B.D. (St. Andrews)
M.A. (McMaster)
D.Phil. (Oxford)


Historical Jesus and Gospel Traditions; Synoptic Literary Criticism; Greek and Roman Religious Rhetoric and Audiences


Ian Henderson has taught and studied Historical Jesus Research, early Christianity and the New Testament at McGill University since 1988. The author of Jesus, Rhetoric and Law (1996), he publishes on Mark’s Gospel and on religious aspects of Greco-Roman (Sophistic) Rhetoric. He also has research interests in Argumentation Theory and in Translation Theory in relation to contemporary Christian receptions of Scripture especially among Canadian indigenous peoples. From 2008 to 2019 he participated in the research project “Religious Individualization in Historical Perspective” of the Max Weber College in Erfurt. His current research focuses on Mark’s Gospel as a manual for leadership formation, and on audience definition in the canonical gospels.

Originally from Winnipeg, he studied Greek and Latin at the University of Manitoba. After theological studies in Scotland (St. Andrews), he returned to Canada, to begin research in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity at McMaster University under Ben F. Meyer, E.P. Sanders and A.I. Baumgarten. He followed Professor Sanders to complete a D.Phil. in Oxford, with further studies under Klaus Berger and Gerd Theissen in Heidelberg. He has taught as a Guest Professor at the University of Erfurt, and in the Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology, Erfurt, Germany. He has also taught students for ministry at the Big Beaver House Bible Camp, Kingfisher Lake, ACC Diocese of Keewatin and more recently at the Arthur Turner Training School, Iqaluit, Nunavut, ACC Diocese of the Arctic. He was a Visiting Researcher at the Université de Strasbourg.

Selected publications: 

“‘… quod nolo, illud facio’ (Romans 7:20): institutionalising the unstable self” in (eds) Martin Fuchs, Antje Linkenbach, Martin Mulsow, Bernd-Christian Otto, Rahul Bjørn Parson and Jörg Rüpke, Religious Individualisation: Historical Dimensions and Comparative Perspectives volume 2 (Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter) 807-830.

Open access at doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110580853

“Thinking about Mark’s Historically Designed Audience(s)” in (ed.) G. Van Oyen, Reading the Gospel of Mark in the Twenty-First Century (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, 301; Leuven: Peeters, 2019) 535-550.

“The Child, Death and the Human in Mark’s Gospel” in (edd.) Ulrike Mittmann and Beate Ego, Evil and Death: Conceptions of the Human in Biblical, Early Jewish, Early Christian, Greco-Roman and Egyptian Literature (Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature 18; Walter de Gruyter, 2015) 199–219.

‘“…Hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) Modes of Personhood in Deutero-Pauline Tradition’ in (edd.) Jörg Rüpke and Wolfgang Spickermann, Reflections on Religious Individuality: Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian Texts and Practices (Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten 62; Walter de Gruyter: Berlin; New York, 2012) 43–67.

“Memory, Text and Performance in Early Christian Formation” in (edd.) Christa Frateantonio, Helmut Krasser, Religion und Bildung. Medien und Funktionen religiösen Wissens in der Kaiserzeit (Potsdamer Altertumswissenschaftliche Beiträge 30; Franz Steiner Verlag: Stuttgart, 2010) 157–184.

“The Second Sophistic and Non-Elite Speakers” in (edd.) Thomas Schmidt and Pascale Fleury Perceptions of the Second Sophistic and its Times — Regards sur la Seconde Sophistique et son époque (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2010) 23–35.

“Reconstructing Mark’s Double Audience” in (ed.) Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Between Author and Audience in Mark: Narration, Characterization, Interpretation (New Testament Monographs 23; Sheffield Phoenix Press: Sheffield, 2009) 6–28.

“Speech representation and religious rhetorics in Philostratus' Vita Apollonii” in Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 32 (2003) 19–37.

Graduate supervision: 

Supervision of Ph.D. Theses Completed

Nicola Hayward, The use of funerary art for commemorating social identity and memory: the case of the Via Latina’s Samaritan Woman, 2020.

Jonathan Thiessen, (co-directed with Laurent Pernot) Les lettres de l’apôtre Paul et la rhétorique du discours figuré : Fondements méthodologiques et études de cas. (Université de Strasbourg, École doctorale des humanités; Centre d’Analyse des Rhétoriques Religieuses de l’Antiquité), 2020.

Aaron Ricker, (co-supervised with Alain Gignac, Université de Montréal) Romans 12-15, Social Identity, and the Purpose of Romans: An Association-Epistolary Approach, 2018.

Ryan Bailey,The Acts of Saint Cyprian of Antioch: Critical Editions, Translations, and Commentary, 2017.

Lesley Fast, (co-promoted with L. J. de Vries) Persuasive Speaking and Bible Translation: A study of the Gospel of Mark and its reception in Græco-Roman and Lovangai environments, (Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam), 2014.

Dean M. Brady, ‘Now, Concerning the Things of the Spirit’: The Representation of Personal Religious Experience in the Letters of Paul, 2012.

Karl J. McDaniel, (co-supervision with E. Aitken) Prospection, Retrospection, and Emotive Effect: Suspense, Surprise, and Curiosity in Matthew's Gospel, 2010.

Philip Tite, (co-supervised with F. Wisse) Valentinian Ethics and Paraenetic Discourse: Determining the Social Function of Moral Exhortation in Valentinian Christianity, 2005.

Marc Debanne, Enthymemes in the Letters of Paul, 2001.

Alyda Faber, (co-supervised with K. Skerrett), Wounds: Theories of Violence in Theological Discourse [Dean’s Honour List], 2001.

Heidi Epstein, (co-supervised with M. Morris), Melting the Venusberg: A Feminist Theology of Music [Dean’s Honour List], 2000,

Supervision of Ph.D. Theses (on-going)

Brad Rice, The Star of Bethlehem as Christ in Early Christian Interpretation.

Victor Gavino, (co-supervising with Patricia Faison Hewlin, Desautels Faculty of Management).

Supervision of M.A. Theses Completed

Scott Mason, John Chrysostom as an Interpreter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians: The Soteriological Significance of Mimesis, 2022.

Sarina Meyer, Aseneth in Alexandria: the ethics of wealth in ‘Joseph and Aseneth’ in the ancient ascetic context” (co-supervision with Gerbern Oegema), 2016.

Marla MacDonald, “Ancient Athletics and Memorializing the Dead in 1 Corinthians 4:9 and 9:24-27”, 2015.

Catherine Aldred, “Rhetoric, Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning: Innovations in First Nations’ Language Bible Translation”, 2013.

Eric Farr, "The narrative and discursive references to children and audience duality in The Gospel of Mark", 2011.

Madison Robins, ‘And I will surely hide my face:’ Pseudo-Writing in LXX Esther and Second Maccabees (co-supervision with E. Aitken), 2010.

Stephen Casimir, A Critical Review of Characterization in the Fourth Gospel’s Structure of Anonymous Disciple Allusions, 2004.

Amalinda Berube, Tragedy in the Gospel of Mark, 2003.

Lesley Fast, Rhetorical Dimensions of Speech Representation, (Dean’s Honour List), 2003.


Back to top