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Faculty of Divinity



David F. Ford OBE is Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College.


He is married to Revd Deborah Ford (née Hardy), who is an Anglican priest and a psychotherapist; and they have three children, Rebecca, Rachel and Daniel, and two grandchildren.


Alongside continuing work on Christian theology and on inter-faith relations, Professor Ford’s current research includes work on: the Gospel of John; glorification; theology, modernity and the arts; Scriptural Reasoning; contemporary worldviews; and education in schools and universities.  In 2021 Baker Academic will publish The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary.


His publications include: A Kind of Upside-Downness: Learning Disabilities and Transformational Community, co-edited with Deborah Hardy Ford and Ian Randall (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020); The Drama of Living (Canterbury Press, 2014); Interreligious Reading After Vatican II, co-edited with Frances Clemson, Wiley Blackwell, 2013); Theology: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013); The Future of Christian Theology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); The Modern Theologians Reader, co-edited with Mike Higton and Simeon Zahl (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) Musics of Belonging: The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail, co-edited with Marc Caball. With a chapter on ‘Life, Work, and Reception’, pp. 1-24 (Carysfort Press, 2006); Christian Wisdom: Desiring God and Learning in Love (Cambridge University Press, 2007); Shaping Theology: Engagements in a Religious and Secular World (Blackwell, 2007); The Modern Theologians (3rd Edition edited with Rachel Muers, Blackwell, 2005); Living in Praise - Worshipping and Knowing God, with Daniel W. Hardy (2nd Edition, Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005); The Shape of Living (2nd edition, Baker Books, 2000); Self and Salvation: Being Transformed (Cambridge University Press 1999); Meaning and Truth in 2 Corinthians, with Frances M. Young (SPCK, 1987; Eerdmans, 1988; reprinted by Wipf & Stock, 2008); Barth and God’s Story. Biblical Narrative and the Theological Method of Karl Barth in the Church Dogmatics (Peter Lang, 1981; reprinted by Wipf & Stock, 2008).


Professor Ford chaired the Theological Reference Group for a Church of England initiative launched in 2016, the Foundation for Educational Leadership, and is a trustee of the National Society, the Church of England organisation responsible for over a million pupils in state-funded church-related schools; he co-chairs the Rose Castle Foundation, a centre for reconciliation, inter-faith engagement, religious literacy, and conservation, and the UK hub for Scriptural Reasoning, based in Rose Castle in Cumbria, UK; and chairs Faith in Leadership, which offers leadership training to emerging and established leaders from several religious traditions. He currently serves on boards of Kalam Research and Media (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Amman, Tripoli and Tunis); the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton; the Institute for Comparative Scripture and Interreligious Dialogue in Minzu University, Beijing; the Elijah Interfaith Institute, Jerusalem; the Cambridge Muslim College; and Lyn’s House, Cambridge (a L’Arche-inspired house of hospitality and friendship for those with and without learning disabilities, founded by his wife Deborah and others). He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals and monograph series. He has worked closely with the Anglican Communion and the International Federation of L’Arche Communities. He has been a theological adviser to three Archbishops of Canterbury (Runcie, Carey, Welby).


Professor Ford was founding Director of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme (2002-2015) and a co-founder of the inter-faith practice of Scriptural Reasoning. He was awarded the Sternberg Foundation Gold Medal for Inter-Faith Relations in 2008, the Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in 2012, an OBE (Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire), for services to theological scholarship and inter-faith relations, in 2013, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Birmingham, Bolton, Aberdeen, and Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya (Haridwar, India). He was Principal Investigator in the Cambridge University ‘Religion and the Idea of a Research University’ project (2011-2013), and the Oxford University Bampton Lecturer for 2015. He is currently a member of the Theology, Modernity and the Arts project at Duke University Divinity School. He is a McDonald Distinguished Scholar, a Visiting Professor at St Mellitus College, London, a Lay Canon of Birmingham Cathedral, and in 2018 was the holder of the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on The Life and Teachings of Jesus and their Impact on Culture at Candler School of Theology, Emory University.


He was born in Dublin and is an Irish citizen. He read Classics at Trinity College Dublin, and then Theology and Religious Studies in Cambridge, Yale, and Tübingen. Prior to taking up his post in Cambridge he taught in the University of Birmingham (1976-1991), where he lived in the inner city and engaged in local church and community life and in urban theology.


February 2021



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: 


  • A Kind of Upside-Downness: Learning Disabilities and Transformational Community, co-edited with Deborah Hardy Ford and Ian Randall (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020) 
  • The Drama of Living (Canterbury Press, 2014)
  • Interreligious Reading After Vatican II, co-edited with Frances Clemson (Wiley Blackwell, 2013)
  • Theology: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • 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
Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity
Fellow, Selwyn College
Professor David  Ford

Contact Details

Email address: 
01223 763031
Not available for consultancy