Alistair Stewart

AlistairStewartVisiting Scholar


Alistair C. Stewart is team vicar of Upton-cum-Chalvey. Previously he taught and researched at Codrington College, Barbados and the General Theological Seminary, New York, and was subsequently vicar of the Bridge Parishes in Dorset. He is also a fanatical follower of West Indian cricket.

Research Statement

My research is in the formation of Christian liturgy in the context of the Hellenistic world. My concern is to bring the distinct, but related, fields of early Christian studies (patristics), New Testament studies and liturgical history into dialogue with each other, particularly employing the tools of social history.

In 1987, in an undergraduate seminar in Birmingham, I formulated a hunch that Melito’s Peri Pascha was not the homily which I was being told it was, but a liturgical piece. I have spent the following twenty-five years following through the consequences of that insight. For if Peri Pascha was not the first Christian homily, what was? And if, as I concluded, Peri Pascha was a document which was quasi-eucharistic in character, what implications did that have for the history of the development of the eucharist? Answering these questions spawned further questions, neglected liturgical sources came to light which needed critical editions and reliable translations and which spawned further questions in turn, and so thirty years work began.

It continues, as I am presently working on a fresh version of the Testament of the Lord, one of the ancient church orders, and trying to figure out what exactly the church orders, the basis for much of my research (since they contain so much social-historical and liturgical information), were meant to do for their original audience(s). However, having advanced the field far enough to chart our ignorance with some accuracy, I am in a position to offer supervision for any graduate student interested in pursuing research in early Christian life and liturgy.


Journal Articles

  • “Matthew’s miracle chapters: from composition to narrative, and back again” Scripture Bulletin 25 (1995), 55-65
  • Taxei in Papias: again” JECS 3 (1995), 487-492
  • “Ancient editorial methods and partition theories of the Pauline Epistles: the case of the Corinthian correspondence” JSNT 61 (1996), 53-64
  • “Melito’s anti-Judaism” JECS 5 (1997), 275-283
  • “The Christology of Hermas and the interpretation of the fifth Similitude” Augustinianum 37 (1997), 273-284
  • “The Asian context of Epistula Apostolorum and the New Prophecy” Vigiliae Christianae 51 (1997), 416-438
  • “The original condemnation of Asian Montanism” JEH 50 (1999), 1-22
  • “The integrity of the Hippolytean ordination rites” Augustinianum 39 (1999), 97-127
  • Vita Polycarpi: a third-century vitaAugustinianum 40 (2000), 21-33
  • “Manumission and baptism in Tertullian’s Africa: a search for the origin of confirmation” Studia Liturgica 31 (2001), 129-149
  • “Ordination rites and patronage systems in third-century Africa” Vigiliae Christianae 56 (2002), 115-130
  • “Prayer five times in the day and at midnight: two apostolic customs!” Studia Liturgica 33 (2003), 1-19
  • “Catechumenate and contra-culture: the social process of catechumenate in third-century Africa and its development” SVTQ 47 (2003), 289-306
  • Traditio apostolica, the liturgy of third-century Rome, and the Hippolytean school or quomodo historia liturgica conscribenda sit” SVTQ 48 (2004), 233-248
  • “Origen, Demetrius and the Alexandrian Presbyters” SVTQ 48 (2004), 415-429
  • “The birkath ha-mazon and the Body of the Lord: a case-study of Didache 9-10” Questions liturgiques 85 (2004), 197-205
  • Catecheses mystagogicae 5 and the birkath haMazon: a study in development” Augustinianum 45 (2005), 309-349
  • “The word and the sweet scent: a re-reading of the stinoufi prayer in the Coptic DidacheAnaphora 1 (2007), 53-64
  • “‘Bathed in living waters’: Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840 and Christian baptism reconsidered” ZNW 100 (2009), 278-286
  • “The pseudo-Hippolytean homily on the Theophany (CPG 1917): a neglected witness to early Syrian baptismal rituals” Studia liturgica 39 (2009), 23-39
  • “The baptismal creed in Traditio apostolica: original or expanded?” Questions liturgiques 90 (2009), 199-213
  • “The apocalyptic section of Testamentum Domini: an attempt at dating” JTS 62 (2011), 136-143
  • “The Christological form of the earliest syntaxis: the evidence of Pliny” Studia liturgica 41 (2011), 1-8
  • “Didache 14: eucharistic?” Questions liturgiques 93 (2012), 3-16
  • The early Alexandrian baptismal creed: declaratory, interrogatory… or both?” Questions liturgiques 95 (2014), 237-253
  • “The fragment on the mountain: a note on Didache 9.4” Neotestamentica 49 (2015), 175-188
  • “The apostolic canons of Antioch: an Origenistic exercise” RHE 111 (2016), 439-451
  • “Marcion and the Roman Sabbath fast: a search for origins” forthcoming Questions liturgiques
  • “The deacon’s ‘garment’ at Traditio apostolica 22: an attempt at understanding” forthcoming SVTQ

Chapters in Books

  • “Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5: a prophetic protest from second century Rome” in E.A. Livingstone (ed.), Studia Patristica 31 (Leuven: Peeters, 1997), 196-205
  • “Hermas the prophet and Hippolytus the preacher: the Roman homily and its social context” in Mary B. Cunningham and Pauline Allen (edd.), Preacher and Audience: Studies in early Christian and Byzantine homiletics (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 33-63
  • “The seating of Polycarp in Vita Polycarpi: a liturgy of scholastic Christianity in third-century Smyrna” in M. Wiles and E.J. Yarnold (edd.), Studia patristica 38 (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), 323-329
  • “Bread, fish, water and wine: the Marcionite menu and the maintenance of purity” in G. May and K. Greschat (edd.), Marcion und seine kirchengeschichtliche Wirkung (TU 150; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2002), 207-220
  • “Mimesis, typology and the institution narrative: some observations on Traditio apostolica 4 and its afterlife” in R.S. Sugirtharaja (ed.) Wilderness: essays in honour of Frances Young (London: T&T Clark, 2005), 106-119
  • “Prophecy and patronage: the relationship between charismatic functionaries and household officers in early Christianity” in C.M. Tuckett and A. Gregory (edd.), Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers (Oxford: OUP, 2005), 165-189
  • “The domestic origin of the liturgy of the word” in F.M. Young et al. (edd.), Studia patristica 40 (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 115-120
  • Apokuēsis logō alētheias: paraenesis and baptism in Matthew, James and the Didache” in H. van de Sandt, J. Zangenburg (edd.), Matthew James and Didache (Atlanta: SBL, 2008), 341-359
  • “Deacons in the Syrian church order tradition: a search for origins” in Diakonia, diaconiae, diaconato: semantica e storia nei padri della chiesa (Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 117; Rome: Institutum patristicum Augustinianum, 2010), 111-120
  • “’The rule of truth… which he received through baptism’ ( I.9.4): catechesis, ritual and exegesis in Irenaeus’s Gaul” in Paul Foster, Sara Parvis (edd.), Irenaeus: life, scripture, legacy (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2012), 151-158
  • “Ignatius’ ‘docetic’ opponents: a review of opinions and some modest suggestions” forthcoming in a collection edited by Jos. Verheyden to be published in WUNT
  • “ἐκ Βιῶν εἰς ζωήν: groups, therapy, and the construction of text and community in the church order tradition” forthcoming in a collection edited by Lieuwe Westra and published by Peeters


  • The Lamb’s High Feast: Melito, Peri Pascha and the Quartodeciman Paschal Liturgy at Sardis (VigChr supplement 42; Leiden: Brill, 1998)
  • Melito on Pascha: with the fragments of Melito and other material relating to the Quartodecimans (edited and translated, with introduction and brief comments) (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001)
  • From prophecy to preaching: a search for the origin of the Christian homily (VigChr supplement 59; Leiden: Brill, 2001)
  • Hippolytus on the apostolic tradition: an English version, with introduction and commentary (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001)
  • [with J.H. Newman] Early Jewish liturgy: a sourcebook for students of early Christian liturgy (Cambridge: Grove, 2001)
  • The life of Polycarp: an anonymous vita from third-century Smyrna (Early Christian Studies 4; Sydney: St Paul’s, 2002)
  • Three ante-Nicene fathers: On prayer (edited and translated, with introduction and brief comments) (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2004)
  • The apostolic church order: the Greek text with an introduction, translation and annotation (Early Christian Studies 10; Sydney: St Paul’s, 2006)
  • The Didascalia apostolorum: an English version with introduction and annotation (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009)
  • Two early Egyptian liturgical papyri: the Deir Balyzeh papyrus and the Barcelona papyrus with appendices containing comparative material (JLS 70; Norwich: Hymns ancient and modern, 2010)
  • On the two ways: the classic texts (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011)
  • Ignatius of Antioch: the letters (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2013)
  • The original bishops: office and order in the first Christian communities (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014)
  • Hippolytus: on the apostolic tradition (second edition) (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2015) (revision of item d)
  • The Gnomai of the Council of Nicaea: the Coptic text, with English translation and introduction (Piscataway NJ: Gorgias Press, 2015)
  • Melito on Pascha: with the fragments of Melito and other material relating to the Quartodecimans (second edition) (edited and translated, with introduction and brief comments) (Crestwood NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2016) (revision of 2nd item)

Encyclopaedia Articles

  • Articles on Quartodecimans, Pionius, ps-Pionius, Didascalia, protopaschites, Apostolic tradition, Testamentum Domini for Nuovo Dizionario patristico e di antichità cristiane (Genoa: Marietti, 2006)
  • Article “Milch” for Realenzyklopädie für Antike und Christentum Vol. 24 (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersmann, 2011)
  • Articles on Baptism, Chrism, Homily, Liturgy, Palm Sunday, Quartodecimans, in Eric Orlin (ed.), The Routledge Encyclopaedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (New York: Routledge, 2016))
  • (with Taras Khomych) Article on Didache for Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies