David M. Shaw


6th July 2014:

Society of Biblical Literature International Conference - Vienna, Austria

Paper (to be) presented: Bless You!: Mission as Blessing in the Letter of 1 Peter.

One of the debates in modern 1 Peter scholarship has focussed on the nature of the church’s stance towards the world that the letter’s author proposes. This was most starkly presented in the now infamous Balch-Elliott debate during the 1980’s. Balch suggested that the Haustafel presented in 1 Peter was a move towards assimilation with the greater culture which in turn assisted the church in its wider witness. Elliott, focussing on the language of paroikoi and parepidemoi, argued almost the exact opposite; that such language was designed to develop a sense of corporate identity in order to resist any social pressure to assimilate. This debate within Petrine scholarship has since moved on to ask questions concerning how passive or active the church ought to be with regard to its mission in the world, e.g, Volf’s “Soft Difference,” Green’s notion of “holy engagement,” and Tárrech’s “attractive community” ideal, to name but a few. And whilst it is unsurprising that many of the aforementioned articles interact with 1 Peter’s theme of “doing good” (see 2:12-15, 20; 3:11-13; 4:19, etc.), one significant omission in the discussion has been any talk of blessing, i.e., “bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (3:9 ESV). It is towards this gap in the discussion that this paper seeks to make a contribution. Underlying the importance of 3:9 is its placement within the conclusion of the Haustafel that is addressed to the whole church (3:8ff). By utilizing insights from Social Identity Theory and the current missional theology conversation, I suggest that more than simply “doing good”, Peter is calling on the Anatolian churches to actively seek the blessing and prosperity of their unbelieving neighbours—even as they face opposition from them—regardless of whether or not they convert to the faith.​

5th July 2013:

University of Exeter , Dept of Classics and Ancient History: Classics and Ancient History Beyond the Department

Paper Presented: A People Called: Christian Identity and Mission in the Letter of 1 Peter, which provided a brief summary of my research and specifically included content from my first chapter concerning the call to be holy in 1 Peter 1:14-16.

30th April 2013:

University of Exeter, College of Humanities Postgraduate Research Conference

Paper Presented: The Hope of Holiness in 1 Peter 1:13-21.

In the New Testament, the letter of 1 Peter is written to a group of churches in Asia Minor who are suffering sporadic, but increasing hostility for their Christian faith. In this context the author of 1 Peter urges them, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1:14-16). The recipients are identified as ‘obedient children’ whose way of life has been radically altered by their encounter with God such that they are to continually live in a way that aligns with God’s character. With all this in mind, the present paper seeks to address two questions: (1) what is the nature of holiness, especially as it pertains to how being called to be holy relates to  one’s identity and how one lives that out in light of who God is? And (2) given the difficult circumstances of the churches to which he writes, how does the author of 1 Peter ground his argument towards motivating a life characterised by holiness in the face of opposition?​

Postgraduate Research Student Seminar Coordinator

1st September 2013:

University of Exeter, Dept of Theology and Religion

In partnership with one of my PGR colleagues, Bethany Wagstaff, I will be organizing regular seminars from September 2013 in which PGR (and on occasion, MA) students will be given the opportunity to present their research and field questions from fellow postgraduate students. The seminars allow students to present their research and answer questions on the fly, as well as gain feedback and constructive criticism from their departmental peers in a non-threatening environment.