James joined MF in 2022 as Research Professor in Bible, Society and Politics. He was previously Professor of Bible, Culture, and Politics at the University of Sheffield and Professor of Bible and Society at St Mary's University, London.
His research and teaching interests can be put into two broad categories: historical Jesus, Christian origins and Judaism in the first century; politics, religion, and reception history. He has supervised and welcomes PhD students in both areas.
One of the ways James connects his interest in these two periods is through his focus on how people understand and negotiate historical change. His work on political rhetoric, for instance, looks at how the social, economic, and geopolitical upheavals have led to distinctive ways of constructing what the Bible and religion "really means". Similarly, his work on first-century Palestine looks at how socio-economic changes in Galilee and Judea intersected with traditions associated with Jesus and how these were then interpreted, ignored, rethought, modified, adapted, and so on.
James is one of the academic directors of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM).