CCU Grad Chris Keith – World Leading Scholar

Chris Keith, Ph.D., a graduate of Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) and an Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Lincoln Christian University (LCU) is one of only 12 theologians to receive the 2010 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise on the general topic of “God and Spirituality.”

This award is given by the Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie (Research Center of International and Interdisciplinary Theology) at the University of Heidelberg to international scholars who are under the age of 35. His first published post-doctoral work, The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus (Brill, 2009) is the basis for his selection for this honor.

In receiving his award, Keith will participate in an awards ceremony and a common colloquium in Heidelberg, Germany in May. Dr. Keith will receive a $10,000 cash prize and an additional $10,000 to cover travel expenses for invitations to lecture at universities, colleges, or seminaries.

According to Keith, each application was ranked by three international evaluators on scale of 20-1, with scores of 17-20 considered “outstanding.” All 12 winners for 2010 were in the “outstanding” range. While applicants came from 14 different countries, the 12 winners came from just five – with an average age of 33. Including Dr. Keith, six of these winners completed Ph.D.s in a country which is not the country of their birth. Winners undertook their work at these schools: Notre Dame, Boston College, Harvard University, Union Theological Seminary, Norwegian School of Theology, University of Edinburgh, University of Heidelberg, University of Lausanne, Fuller Seminary, Brandeis University and Cambridge University. For more information on the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise visit their Web site at

Dr. Keith is currently working on two projects. The first is a monograph on the literacy of the historical Jesus, entitled Jesus’ Literacy: Education and the Teacher from Galilee, under contract with T&T Clark. “Whereas my first book left the historical Jesus aside and focused on the social/exegetical/text-critical significance of the claim for Jesus’ literacy in one particular passage (John 8.6, 8), this monograph focuses on the issue of Jesus’ literacy in early Christianity as a whole and assesses the historical accuracy of early Christian claims from the perspective of social/cultural memory theory.”  The second project is a textbook entitled Jesus Among Friends and Enemies, which he is co-editing under contract with Baker Academic.

Prior to joining the LCU faculty in 2008, Dr. Keith earned B.S., M.A., and M.Div. degrees from Cincinnati Christian University and his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Keith claims Shepherdsville, KY as his hometown, where he graduated from North Bullitt High School in 1998.