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Professor Ian A. McFarland

Professor Ian  A. McFarland

Regius Professor of Divinity

Fellow, Selwyn College

Office Phone: 01223 763036


A Lutheran lay theologian, Prof. McFarland took up the Regius Professorship at Cambridge in 2015.  He received his first degree in Classics from Trinity College (Hartford) before going on to study theology at the Union Theological Seminary (New York), the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Yale University, where he earned his doctorate under the direction of Kathryn Tanner.  He held his first academic appointment at the University of Aberdeen, where he taught from 1998-2005.  He then moved to Emory’s University’s Candler School of Theology, where he was the inaugural holder of the Bishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Chair in Theology and served as Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, as well as teaching in the Laney Graduate School.

Subject area and speciality

Christian Theology specialists:


Selwyn College:

Research Interests

Prof. McFarland’s scholarship focuses on contemporary articulations of Christian doctrine that attend both to the concerns of the catholic tradition, broadly conceived, and to the voices of Christians not consistently represented in that tradition.  His current research centres on Christology, with particular focus on the merits of the Chalcedonian definition over against post-Enlightenment alternatives.  Other areas of interest include the doctrine of creation, theological anthropology, the use of the Bible in theology, and the theology of Maximus the Confessor.

Research Supervision

Prof. McFarland is open to supervising doctoral research in any of the traditional loci of Christian dogmatics, most especially with candidates interested in bringing traditional (especially patristic and Reformation-era) sources into dialogue with contemporary social and ecclesial concerns.

Other Professional Activities

  • Editor, Scottish Journal of Theology, 2015-
  • U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, Round XII, 2011-

Key Publications


  • From Nothing: A Theology of Creation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2014
  • In Adam’s Fall: A Meditation on the Christian Doctrine of Original Sin. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010
  • The Divine Image: Envisioning the Invisible God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005
  • Difference and Identity: A Theological Anthropology. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2001
  • Listening to the Least: Doing Theology from the Outside In. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 1998

 Edited Volumes

  • The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011 (with David Fergusson, Karen Kilby, and Iain Torrance)
  • Creation and Humanity.  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2009


  • “Theology of the Will,” in The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor.  Ed. Pauline Allen and Bronwen Neil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 516-532.
  • “The Saving God,” in Sanctified by Grace.  Ed. Kent Eilers and Kyle Strobel.  London: Bloomsbury, 2014, 61-74.
  • “Spirit and Incarnation: Toward a Pneumatic Chalcedonianism,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology, 16:2 (April 2014), 143-158.
  • “Theodore the Studite,” in Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians.  Ed. Don Compier, Kwok Pui Lan, and Joerg Rieger.  Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007, 111-122.
  • “‘Willing Is Not Choosing’: Some Anthropological Implications of Dyothelite Christology,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology9:1 (January 2007), 3-23.
  • “Conflict and Compatibility: Some Thoughts on the Relationship between Science and Religion,” in Modern Theology, 19:2 (April 2003), 181-202.

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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 October 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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