Peter Leithart
Born (1959-07-20) July 20, 1959 (age 64)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Federal Vision)
Academic background
Alma mater
Doctoral advisorJohn Milbank[1]
InfluencesJames B. Jordan[2]
Academic work
InstitutionsNew Saint Andrews College
Notable worksDefending Constantine (2010)

Peter James Leithart (born 1959) is an American author, minister, and theologian, who serves as president of Theopolis Institute for Biblical, Liturgical, & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama.[3] He previously served as Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature as well as Dean of Graduate Studies at New Saint Andrews College.[4] He was selected by the Association of Reformed Institutions of Higher Education to be one of the organization's 2010–2012 Lecturers.[5] He is the author of commentaries on the Book of Kings, the Book of Samuel, the Books of Chronicles, the Book of Revelation, as well as a Survey of the Old Testament. Other works include books on topics such as Dante's Inferno, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and a biography of Constantine. He is also the author of a book of children's bedtime stories titled Wise Words based on the Book of Proverbs.

Early life and education

Leithart was born on July 20, 1959,[6] and grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.[4] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and history from Hillsdale College, a Master of Arts degree in religion from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1986, a Master of Theology degree from Westminster in 1987, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge in 1998.


Leithart was ordained a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).[7] In June 2011, Leithart was tried by his presbytery for heresy related to his views regarding the Federal Vision. In October 2011 he was exonerated on all charges.[8] Following his move to Birmingham in 2013, the presbytery with jurisdiction there denied his request to labor out of bounds (in a ministry not connected to the PCA) at Theopolis Institute.[7] He is now a minister in the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches and the Senior Theological Mentor for the St. Peter Fellowship of the Center for Pastor Theologians.


His first book, The Catechism of the New Age: A Response to Dungeons and Dragons (1987), co-authored with pastor George Grant, was related to the Dungeons & Dragons religious controversies, when certain religious groups accused the game of encouraging sorcery and the veneration of demons. Joseph P. Laycock wrote that their book condemned role-playing as allowing too much freedom, which the authors regard as a gateway to critical thinking which in turn may result in heretical thought.[9]

In his 2010 book, Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom, Leithart takes issue with fellow theologian John Howard Yoder's position that Constantine steered the Church in the wrong direction by abandoning Christ's doctrine of nonviolence, exemplified by his willingness to die rather than defend himself. Leithart argues that God did not want Christians to live as a powerless, oppressed minority. Constantine Revisited: Leithart, Yoder, and the Constantinian Debate, John D. Roth, editor, 2013, is a collection of essays by Christian pacifists criticizing Leithart's argument.[10]



  1. ^ Leithart, Peter J. (January 28, 2019). "John Milbank: A Guide for the Perplexed". Mere Orthodoxy. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Leithart, Peter; Roberts, Alastair (April 1, 2019). "Who Influenced Us? With Peter Leithart and Alastair Roberts" (video). Birmingham, Alabama: Theopolis Institute. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved July 26, 2019 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "Peter Leithart Bio". Theopolis Institute. Archived from the original on 2019-04-05. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  4. ^ a b Harrison, Judy (1 April 2006). "Brush up your Shakespeare ... because professor Peter Leithart thinks the Bard's masterpieces and Christian theology are not exactly strange bedfellows". Bangor Daily News. p. 8. ProQuest 414290061.
  5. ^ "Lectures". Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities.
  6. ^ Date of birth information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF). Retrieved on July 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "PCA's Evangel Presbytery Votes to Deny Peter Leithart's Request to Labor Out of Bounds". The Aquila Report.
  8. ^ Clements, Don. "PCA's Pacific Northwest Presbytery Finds TE Peter Leithart Not Guilty of Federal Vision Charges". The Aquila Report.
  9. ^ Laycock, Joseph P. (2015-02-12). Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds. University of California Press. pp. 221, 239. ISBN 9780520960565.
  10. ^ Roth, John D. (3 June 2014). "Constantine Revisited: Leithart, Yoder, and the Constantinian Debate". The Christian Century. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  11. ^ Pitts, Jamie (1 September 2012). "Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture . By Peter J. Leithart". Literature and Theology. 26 (3): 353–355. doi:10.1093/litthe/frs020. JSTOR 23927526.
  12. ^ Ellens, J. Harold (2012). "Review of ATHANASIUS". CrossCurrents. 62 (2): 270–272. doi:10.1111/j.1939-3881.2012.00234.x. JSTOR 24461841.
  13. ^ Meijering, E.P. (2012). "Review of Athanasius (Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality, vol. i)". Vigiliae Christianae. 66 (4): 443–444. doi:10.1163/157007212X641158. JSTOR 41722510.