I have taught the New Testament at the University of Lausanne from 1984 to 2008. I am now professor emeritus of this University. Formerly I served as a senior pastor in the evangelical reformed church in the “canton de Vaud”. These two professional settings passed on to me two convictions, which are and remain the sources of my biblical exegetical work.
The University has helped me develop an ethic of knowledge; mainly that the exegesis of biblical texts is a scientific discipline. Rather than imposing the results of biblical exegesis, they need to be proved. These results remain open to discussion and dispute, since no reading of the text can pretend to be the one and only reliable commentary on a text.
My life as a pastor has convinced me that exegesis needs not only to explain a text, but also should lead to its full comprehension and appropriation. In other words, it should help someone perceive which understanding about God and the human condition the text is expressing. Exegesis needs to expand itself in theological discourse.
I was educated in historical criticism in Switzerland and in Germany. Then in the United States I opened myself towards new readings of the text, that is narrative criticism and rhetorical analysis. Consequently, I have abandoned the idea that only one type of reading could properly understand a text, whatever that might be. Now, I use several together, prefering to connect narrative criticism with historical criticism. This methodological choice has marked most of my work since 1993.
My major work concerns the redaction of a commentary on Acts in the collection “Commentaire du Nouveau Testament” (Labor et Fides, Geneva). The volume 1 (Ac 1-12) has been published in May 2007 ; the second volume (Ac 13-28) is planed for 2013. In 2019, “Vie et destin de Jésus de Nazareth” was published by Editions du Seuil, Paris. I am currently working on a book about the apostle Paul: “Paul de Tarse. Sa vie, sa pensée”, to be published in 2023 by the Seuil publishing house.
Next to that, questions of the historical Jesus and the development of the Pauline theology are still topics of interest to me, without mentioning biblical iconography, which fills up my free time. My hobbies include water, snow, travels and friendships.