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2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Edinburgh

What is Caesar’s? Adjudicating Faith in Modern Constitutional Democracies to be held on Monday 19 May 2014. [More…]

2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Glasgow

Givenness and Revelation begins Tuesday 20 May 2014. [More…]

YouTube Channel

Gifford Lectures now has a YouTube Channel! [More…]


A new Gifford Lectures page for St. Andrews. [More…]

Eight Books Based on Gifford Lectures

Eight books derived from the Gifford lectures are available. [More…]


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Alister McGrath

1953 -

Chair of Theology, Ministry and Education, King's College



Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Alister McGrath grew up in Downpatrick, County Down. In 1966 he enrolled at Methodist College, Belfast, majoring in pure and applied mathematics, physics and chemistry. In 1971 he moved to Wadham College, Oxford University, to study chemistry under Jeremy R. Knowles and R.J.P. Williams. He gained first class honours in chemistry in 1975.
McGrath continued at Oxford, doing research in molecular biophysics under Professor Sir George K. Radda. Over the next three years he was elected to an EPA Cephalosporin Research Studentship at Linacre College, Oxford (1975-1976) and to a Domus Senior Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford, for the period (1976-1978). He also spent three months as a European Molecular Biology Organization visiting fellow at the University of Utrecht. McGrath earned a DPhil at Oxford in 1977 for research in the natural sciences and first class honours in theology in 1978.
His studies continued. McGrath was elected to the Naden Studentship in Divinity at St John's College, Cambridge (1978-1980) and studied for ordination in the Church of England at Westcott House, an Anglican theological college in Cambridge. Ordained a deacon in September 1980, he became a curate at St Leonard's Parish Church, Wollaton, Nottingham, and was ordained a priest at Southwell Minster the following year. Returning to Oxford in 1983, he was appointed lecturer in Christian doctrine and ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Oxford University theology faculty. The fall semester of 1990 found McGrath lecturing as the Ezra Squire Tipple Visiting Professor of Historical Theology at the Theological School, Drew University, Madison, N.J. He also gave the Bampton Lectures at Oxford University in 1990.
In 1993 McGrath was elected university research lecturer in Theology at Oxford. For the next four years he would serve concurrently as research professor of theology at Regent College, Vancouver (1993-1997). In 1995 McGrath was elected principal of Wycliffe Hall, a center for evangelical Anglican study at Oxford, and in 1999 was awarded a personal chair in theology at Oxford with the title of professor of historical theology. He earned a DDiv in 2001 for his research on historical and systematic theology. In September 2004, he resigned as principal of Wycliffe Hall to become the first director of the newly established Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and was named president two years later. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005.
In October 2006 McGrath was elected to a senior research fellowship at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, where he began directing a new research project on natural theology funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Two years later he took take up the newly established chair of Theology, Ministry and Education in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King's College, London. He also serves as the academic leader of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture, and is involved in theological research and the professional development of clergy from a range of Christian denominations. He gave the 2009 Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen and will give the Hulsean Lectures at the University of Cambridge in 2009-2010.
McGrath has given invited lectures throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. A former member of the board of advisors of the Templeton Foundation, he is also the author of more than 50 papers published in academic journals, the editor or co-editor of four books, and the author of 30 others, including Lutherís Theology of the Cross: Martin Lutherís Theological Breakthrough (1985 and 1990); a three-volume exploration of the interface between Christian theology and the natural sciences, A Scientific Theology (2001-2003); Christianityís Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century, a highly original exploration of the origins, character, and future prospects of Protestantism (2007); (with Joanna Collicutt McGrath) a response to the well-known contemporary atheist Richard Dawkins in support of the relevance of faith, The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (2007); The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology (2008); and A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology (2009) which is based on his Gifford Lectures. More information on Alister McGrath can be found at his home page and on Facebook.
Therese Boyd
Templeton Press