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Professors Davison and Bretherton to hold Regius chairs at Oxford

13 June 2024

Christ Church, Oxford

Professors Luke Bretherton (left) and Andrew Davison

Professors Luke Bretherton (left) and Andrew Davison

THE appointment of two new Oxford Regius Professors and Canons of Christ Church was announced from Downing Street on Thursday.

The Starbridge Professor of Theology and Natural Sciences in the University of Cambridge, the Revd Dr Andrew Davison, has been appointed Oxford’s Regius Professor of Divinity: one of the oldest chairs in the university, established by King Henry VIII.

The current Professor, Canon Graham Ward, retires this summer. Professor Davison, who is is also currently Fellow of Theology and Dean of Chapel at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, will be installed on 5 October.

During the 2022-24 academic years, Professor Davison has been a Visiting Fellow of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, in the United States.

He writes regularly for the Church Times about doctrine, ethics, and science, among other topics. His recent books include Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine: Exploring the implications of life in the universe (Cambridge University Press) (Books, 25 August 2023).

The Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Professor of Moral and Political Theology at Duke University, in the US, Dr Luke Bretherton, is to be the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology. He is also currently Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke.

His predecessor at Christ Church, the Revd Professor Nigel Biggar, retired in 2022.

Professor Bretherton is to be ordained deacon by the Bishop of London in St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 June, to serve as a non-stipendiary minister at St Saviour’s, Wendell Park, in Hammersmith. He will then be installed in Christ Church Cathedral on 25 January. He will also be director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life.

Before joining Duke University, Professor Bretherton was a reader in theology and politics and convener of the Faith and Public Policy Forum at King’s College, London. His most recent book is A Primer in Christian Ethics: Christ and the struggle to live well (Cambridge University Press) (Books, 8 December 2023).

The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Sarah Foot, said in a statement: “It is an enormous pleasure to be welcoming Professors Bretherton and Davison to Christ Church. These are outstanding appointments to both the Faculty and to the Joint Foundation, and will enhance the research, teaching and worship of the College and Cathedral.”

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Professor Irene Tracey, said: “These prestigious appointments reflect the faculty’s ongoing commitment to academic excellence and its dedication to addressing contemporary moral and theological challenges.”

The Regius Professorship of Moral and Pastoral Theology was established by Act of Parliament in 1840.

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