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Professor David Ford

Professor David Ford

Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity

Fellow, Selwyn College

Office Phone: 01223 763031


University Education:

  • Trinity College, Dublin (Classics)
  • St John's College, University of Cambridge (Theology)
  • Yale University
  • University of Tübingen

Career and Present Responsibilities:

  • 1976-1991, Lecturer, later Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham
  • 1991- present, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge
  • 1995-present, Chairman, Management Committee of the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies
  • St John's College, Member; Selwyn College, Fellow; Trinity College, Foundation Member,


  • Member, Postgraduate Panel in Philosophy and Theology, Humanities Research Board of The British Academy (later AHRB then AHRC) (1997-1999)
  • President, Society for the Study of Theology (1997-1998)
  • Member, AHRC Peer Review College (2005- )
  • Lay Canon Theologian, Birmingham Cathedral (2006- )
  • Ebor Lecturer, York Minster (2006)
  • Stephenson Lecturer, University of Sheffield (2007)


  • Editorial Board Member of the following journals: Modern TheologyScottish Journal of Theology , Teaching Theology and ReligionIrish Theological QuarterlyJournal of Anglican Studies
  • Academic Member of the World Economic Forum Council of 100 Leaders (twenty each from academy, business, media, religion and politics) for West-Islamic World Dialogue (Davos, Amman, 2003-8)
  • Trustee, Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton (2007- )
  • Member, Board of Advisors of the John Templeton Foundation (2008- )
  • Member, American Academy of Religion
  • Member, Society for Biblical Literature
  • External Adviser, Centre for Christian Studies, Hong Kong (2006-)
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, ‘Current Issues in Theology’ series with Cambridge University Press
  • Consultant, L’Arche Communities (a federation of over 100 communities for those with severe mental disabilities worldwide) (1993- )
  • Trustee, Golden Web Foundation (developer of a global multimedia publishing system, focusing on pre-modern world history, heritage, and culture) (2006- )
  • Papers or lectures in American Academy of Religion; Society for Biblical Literature; Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing; Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat; Institute of Shariah Studies, Muscat; Princeton Theological Seminary; and in Universities of Beijing, Dublin, Duke, Hong Kong, Kampen, Lund, Madras, Nationalities (Beijing), Nijmegen, Shanghai, Toronto, Yale.


  • Founding Director, Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) in the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies (2002- )
  • Co-founder, Society for Scriptural Reasoning (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim academic philosophers, text scholars and theologians from Africa, America, Asia and Europe) (1996- )
  • Co-Chair, Education Commission of C-1 World Dialogue (2009- )

Subject area and speciality

Christian Theology specialists:
  • theological interpretation of the Gospel of John
  • contemporary Christian thought in the direction of hermeneutics 
    • the interpretation of scripture and substantive issues in contemporary Christian thought and practice
    • inter-faith theology and relations, particularly the issues of inter-faith scriptural interpretation and the relation of faiths to secular cultures, traditions and forces
  • the shaping of universities and of the field of theology and religious studies within them 
  • political theology
  • theology and poetry
  • ecumenical theology
  • Christian theologians and theologies

Research Interests

Professor Ford's current research interests in the area of contemporary Christian thought are focussed in two directions: first, in the direction of hermeneutics, the interpretation of scripture and substantive issues in contemporary Christian thought and practice; and second, in the direction of inter-faith theology and relations, particularly the issues of inter-faith scriptural interpretation and the relation of faiths to secular cultures, traditions and forces. Among his other research interests are: the shaping of universities and of the field of theology and religious studies within them; political theology; theology and poetry; ecumenical theology; and Christian theologians and theologies.

Key Publications


  • The Future of Christian Theology (Blackwell Manifesto Series; Wiley-Blackwell, in press, forthcoming 2011)
  • The Modern Theologians Reader , ed. with Mike Higton and Simeon Zahl (Wiley-Blackwell, in press, forthcoming 2011)
  • Wording a Radiance: Parting Conversations on God and the Church with Daniel W. Hardy, Deborah Hardy Ford and Peter Ochs (SCM, in press, forthcoming 2010)
  • Christian Wisdom. Desiring God and Learning in Love (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine series; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007)
  • Shaping Theology: Engagements in a Religious and Secular World (Challenges in Contemporary Theology series; Blackwell, Oxford, 2007)
  • Musics of Belonging: The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail. Edited with Marc Caball. With chapter ‘Life, Work, and Reception’ (Dublin, 2007)
  • The Promise of Scriptural Reasoning . Ed. with C. C. Pecknold. With chapter ‘An Inter-Faith Wisdom: Scriptural Reasoning between Jews, Christians and Muslims’ at pp. 1-22 (Blackwell, Oxford, 2006)
  • The Modern Theologians - An Introduction to Christian Theology since 1918 . Ed. with Rachel Muers. With ‘Introduction to Modern Christian Theology’ and ‘Epilogue: Twelve Theses for Christian Theology in the Twenty-first Century’, third edition (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, Malden [MA] 2005; various editions published in Swedish, German, Chinese and Korean Korean edition, Christian Literature Crusade, Seoul 2005)
  • Fields of Faith - Theology and Religious Studies for the Twenty-First Century . Ed. with Ben Quash and Janet Martin Soskice. With ‘Introduction’ at pp. xiii-xvii (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2005)
  • Jubilate. Theology in Praise , with Daniel W. Hardy (Darton, Longman and Todd, London 1984; US edition, Praising and Knowing God, Westminster Press, Philadelphia 1985) 216pp, revised and updated as Living in Praise - Worshipping and Knowing God(Darton, Longman and Todd, London 2005)
  • Self and Salvation: Being Transformed (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999)
  • Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, Oxford 1998, 2000)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • ‘Where is Wise Theological Creativity to be Found? Thoughts on 25 Years of Modern Theology and the Twenty-First Century Prospect’, in Modern Theology, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 67-75
  • ‘Theology and Religious Studies for a Multifaith and Secular Society’, in Theology and Religious Studies in Higher Education: Global Perspectives, edited by Darlene L. Bird and Simon G. Smith (Continuum, London 2009), pp. 31-43
  • ‘Paul Ricoeur: A Biblical Philosopher on Jesus’, in Jesus and Philosophy: New Essays, edited by Paul K. Moser (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2009), pp. 169-193
  • ‘Foreword’ to New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology: Engaging God, Scripture, and the World (Routledge, London 2009)
  • ‘God and our public life: a scriptural wisdom’, in Liberating Texts? Sacred Scriptures in Public Life, edited by Sebastian C. H. Kim and Jonathan Draper (SPCK, London, 2008), pp. 29-56
  • ‘Developing Scriptural Reasoning Further’, in Scripture, Reason, and the Contemporary Islam-West Encounter: Studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’, edited by Basit Bilal Koshul and Steven Kepnes (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2007), pp. 201-219
  • ‘Gospel in Context: Among Many Faiths’, in Pilgrim: Magazine of the Friends of the Church in India, No. 30, March-April 2007, pp. 3-7
  • ‘God and Our Public Life: A Scriptural Wisdom’, in International Journal of Public Theology, Vol. 1, No.1, 2007, pp. 63-81
  • ‘A Wisdom for Anglican Life: Lambeth 1998 to Lambeth 2008 and Beyond’, in Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2006, pp. 137-156
  • ‘A Third Epoch: The Future of Discourse In Jewish-Christian Relations’ (with Peter Ochs) in Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations, edited by James K. Aitken and Edward Kessler (Paulist Press, New York 2006), pp. 153-170

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Festival of Ideas - Debating Philosophy of Religion

Oct 19, 2016

Workshop for students in Years 11,12, and 13: Saturday 22 November, 11am-1pm.

Vacancy: Fixed Term Research Associate in Theology and Science

Oct 12, 2016

The Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge wishes to appoint a Research Associate to this project on Theology and Science.

Festival of Ideas - The New Cambridge Mosque Panel Discussion

Oct 07, 2016

As part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Cambridge Inter-faith Programme is a hosting a panel discussion event on Saturday 22nd October.

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