Photo of W J Lyons

Dr W J Lyons

BA, M.A., Ph.D. (Sheff.)

  • BS8 1TB


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a historian of religion and culture, with particular research interests in the reception history of the Bible and other sacred texts across a wide range of geographical settings and time periods.

From 2012-present I have been co-editor of the Bloomsbury book series, Scriptural Traces: Critical Perspectives on the Reception and Influence of the Bible. I am also on the editorial boards of two journals, the Bible and Critical Theory and Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception. I am Principal Investigator on a three-year Leverhulme Trust-funded project on Britain’s first purpose-built church for the deaf, St Saviour’s, Oxford Street, active between 1873 and 1923. 

My book, Joseph of Arimathea (OUP, 2014), traces the development of a minor figure from his first appearance in the four canonical Gospels through to his role in the 2012 London Olympics. Early developments of the character in textual commentaries and in renaissance paintings are analysed before the various traditions which relate Joseph to England/Britain are examined, the Arimathean bringing Christianity to the West Country before taking up a central role in English national and British imperial exceptionalism in the Glastonbury traditions and in Blake’s Jerusalem.

My research interests vary widely, covering areas as disparate as the Historical Jesus, the English Civil War, Johnny Cash and Depeche Mode, the Nine O’Clock Service in Sheffield, and John Allegro and the Dead Sea Scrolls. My principal focus at the moment relates to the Deaf Church project, with articles pending on the Deaf in Ancient Israel and on Deaf appropriations of Jesus and a co-authored monograph on St Savour’s in production.


Office: 1.33, 11 Woodland

Phone: +44 (0)117 954


Consultation Hours

Research Supervsion

I have supervised doctoral work on the contemporary use of the Bible and on the Bible in the ancient world, and am currently supervising doctoral work on Anglican hermeneutics and narratological readings of the Gospel of Mark. I welcome proposals on the reception history of the Bible and related sacred texts, and am happy to consider any period, location, or genre in which this takes place. Music, politics, film, church, and anything related are all suitable grist for the mill.


Having moved from Religion and Theology at Bristol into the History department in 2015, I am looking forward to teaching units on American religion and history in the twentieth century, on deaf life in Victorian England, and on history and photography (a former career of mine) in the near future.

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Research Output

  • On becoming (Paid) Deaf Missionaries in 1870s London: The Life and Times of Samuel W. North and John P. Gloyn

    Lyons, J., 2019, (Unpublished).

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper

  • Datasets


    • 5 Participation in conference
    • 2 Publication peer-review
    • 1 Editorial activity

    British New Testament Conference, 2016

    W J Lyons (Participant)

    2016 → …

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    British New Testament Conference, 2012

    W J Lyons (Organiser)

    1 Sep 20121 Sep 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    T & T Clark International (Publisher)

    W J Lyons (Editor)

    20 Nov 201220 Nov 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity