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Professor Sarah Coakley

Professor Sarah Coakley

Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity

Fellow, Murray Edwards College

Sarah Coakley is interested in taking PhD students.


Office Phone: 01223 763002

Biography:

As Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Sarah Coakley holds the established chair at Cambridge in philosophy of religion. She has previously held positions at the Universities of Lancaster, Oxford, and Harvard, and a visiting professorship at Princeton. She has been awarded honorary degrees by the University of Lund and General Theological Seminary, New York. In 2012 she delivered the Gifford Lectures in Aberdeen on the topic ‘Sacrifice Regained: Evolution, Cooperation and God’. In 2012 she was also elected a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Professor Coakley currently chairs a series of annual symposia funded by the McDonald Agape Foundation on major topics in theological ethics, with the papers published in Studies in Christian Ethics. Previous interdisciplinary research projects have included ‘Evolution and the Theology of Cooperation’ (with Martin A. Nowak, funded by The John Templeton Foundation) and ‘Pain and its Transformations’ (with Arthur Kleinman, funded by the Harvard Mind / Brain / Behavior Interfaculty Initiative).

Professor Coakley contributed to Analytic Theology (eds. Oliver Crisp and Michael Rea, OUP, 2009) and with her doctoral and postdoctoral students continues to participate in international colloquia related to it. She has also instituted an annual day conference in philosophy of religion bringing together graduate students from Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham and London. Students of philosophy of religion at Cambridge are encouraged to interact with members of the Philosophy Faculty and other cognate Faculties, and enjoy connections with several European and North American universities with which there are exchange arrangements.

Subject area and speciality

Christian Theology specialists:
Philosophy of Religion specialists:
  • religious epistemology, especially in the patristic tradition of the ‘spiritual senses’
  • rationality, the passions and religious truth claims
  • gender theory and philosophy of religion
  • the relation of apophatic and cataphatic claims in philosophical theology
  • the future of ‘natural theology’: revisiting teleological and design arguments
  • evolutionary theory, game theory and Christian philosophical theology

Research Interests

  • religious epistemology, especially in the patristic tradition of the ‘spiritual senses’
  • rationality, the passions and religious truth claims
  • gender theory and philosophy of religion
  • the relation of apophatic and cataphatic claims in philosophical theology
  • the future of ‘natural theology’: revisiting teleological and design arguments
  • evolutionary theory, game theory and Christian philosophical theology

Research Supervision

Professor Coakley is very glad to receive enquiries about graduate work in philosophy of religion and theological ethics, especially for projects bridging the divide between philosophy and theology. She herself works in both the analytic and continental strands of philosophy of religion, and this inclusiveness is characteristic of the teaching of Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge.

Teaching

  • Metaphysics (C11)
  • Special lectures on ‘The Very Idea of Philosophical Theology’
  • M.Phil. and doctoral supervision

Professor Coakley also offers informal seminars for graduate students on her current research interests, and chairs the senior faculty seminar in philosophy of religion, the ‘D’ Society.

Key Publications

The first volume of Professor Coakley’s four-volume Systematic Theology, God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’, is in press and will appear in August 2013. The second volume, focusing on religious epistemology and the spiritual senses, is in progress.

Professor Coakley's publications are available in a separate document.

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