Historian of Christianity; university professor.  Born January 9, 1932, Aliceville.  Parents; Benjamin LaFayette and Winnie Meeks.  Married (1) Martha Fowler, June 10, 1954.  Children–three. Married (2) Judith Colton, March 18, 2000. Education; University of Alabama, B. S., 1953; Austin Theological Seminary, B. D., 1956; University of Tubingen, graduate study, 1956-57; Yale University, M. A., 1963; Ph. D., 1965.  Career; ordained Presbyterian minister, 1956; university pastor, Memphis, Tennessee, 1957-61; Dartmouth College instructor in religion, 1965-66; Yale University United Ministry university pastor, 1966-68; Indiana University at Bloomington, assistant professor, 1966-68; Yale University associate professor of religious studies, 1969-73; professor, 1973-1999; director, division of the humanities, 1988-91.  Member, American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, Studorium Novi Testamenti Societas, Phi Beta Kappa.  Awards;  Fulbright fellowship, 1956-57;  Kent fellow, 1962-65; NEH senior fellow, 1975-76; Guggenheim fellow, 1979-80; elected a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, 1992.  Awarded the Doctor Theologicae honoris causis by the University of Uppsala, Sweden, 1990.  Emeritus status at Yale, 1999.


Contemporary Authors online (updated 1/07/2010).

Marquis Who’s Who online.


Go From Your Father’s House.  Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1964.

The Prophet-King.  Long Island City, NY; E. J. Brill, 1967.

Jews and Christians in Antioch in the First Four Centuries of the Common Era.  Missoula, MT; Scholars Press, 1978.

The First Urban Christians; The Social World of the Apostle Paul.  New Haven;  Yale University Press, 1983; 2nd edition, 2003. 

The Moral World of the First Christians.  Atlanta:  Westminster John Knox, 1986.

The Origins of Christian Morality;  The First Two Centuries.  New Haven; Yale University Press, 1993.

In Search of the Early Christians; Selected Essays.  New Haven; Yale University Press, 2002.

Christ Is the Question.  Louisville, KY;  Westminster John Knox Press, 2006.


Conflict at Colossae; A Problem in the Interpretations of Early Christianity.  Missoula, MT; Society of Biblical Literature, 1973.

The Future of Christology; Essays in Honor of Leander E. Keck.  Philadelphia; Fortress Press, 1990.

Robert M. Grant, Gods and the One God. Atlanta; Westminster John Knox, 1986.

God’s Christ and His People.  Oslo, Norway; Universitetsforlager, 1977.

Greeks, Romans, and Christians; Essays in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe.  Philadelphia; Fortress Press, 1990.

HarperCollins Study Bible (coeditor). New York;  HarperCollins, 1993.

Harper’s Bible Commentary (associate editor). New York; HarperCollins, 1988.

Library of Early Christianity (general editor).  Westminster Press, 1982-87.

The New Testament in its Social Environment.  Atlanta; Westminster John Knox, 1988.

The Writings of St. Paul.  New York; Norton, 1972.

The Writings of St. Paul; Annotated Texts, Reception, and Criticism.  New York; Norton, 2007.

Zur Soziologie des Urchristentums.  Munich:  Kaiser, 1979.

Added 2011-07-29