Lecturers & Authors

James Adam

Fellow and Senior Tutor, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
1860 to 1907

James Adam was born on 7 April 1860 in the small parish of Keithhall, near Aberdeen, Scotland, the second child of James and Barbara (Anderson) Adam. His father died in 1866, leaving his mother to run the family’s countryside shop while raising six children. She sent Adam to the local parish school, and then to the Old Aberdeen grammar school, where he won a bursary to enter the University of Aberdeen in 1876.

Robert Merrihew Adams

Fellow, Mansfield College, Oxford University

Robert M. Adams was born on 8 September 1937. He held a teaching post at the University of Michigan from 1968 to 1972. In 1972 he moved to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was eventually promoted to professor of philosophy, before taking a post at Yale University in 1993. He retired from Yale in 2003 and was a fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford until 2009. That year he accepted a post as a distinguished research professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2013 he and his wife became visiting research professors at Rutgers University.

Samuel Alexander

Professor of Philosophy, University of Manchester
1859 to 1938

Samuel Alexander, British philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at Victoria University, Manchester, was born on 6 January 1859 in Sydney, Australia. He was the fourth child and third son of Samuel and Eliza (née Sloman) Alexander. His father, a saddler, died shortly before his birth, and Alexander was raised by his mother.

Denis Alexander

Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge

Dr. Denis Alexander is the Emeritus Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, where he is a Fellow.

Margaret Anstee

Under Secretary General of the United Nations
1926 to 2016

Dame Margaret Anstee was born in 1926 and grew up in rural Essex, UK. She was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, from which she graduated with first-class honours, and at the University of London.

Michael A. Arbib

Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Born in England in 1940, Michael A. Arbib grew up in Australia and obtained a BS (honors) from Sydney University, and in 1963 he received his PhD in mathematics from MIT. Arbib became chairman of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1970 and remained there until the fall of 1986, at which time he joined the University of Southern California.

Hannah Arendt

Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York City
1906 to 1975

Hannah Arendt was born 14 October 1906 in Hannover, Germany. Her parents, Martha and Paul Arendt, were of Russian-Jewish background. Her father, an engineer, died from syphilitic insanity in 1913. Seven years later, her mother married Martin Beerwald. Arendt attended school in Koenigsberg and finished in 1924. She attended Marburg, Freiburg and Heidelberg, studying theology and philosophy. She eventually attained her doctorate on St. Augustine in 1929.

Mohammed Arkoun

Former Professor Emeritus of Islamic Thought, Sorbonne, Paris
1928 to 2010

Mohammed Arkoun (1928–2010) was a leading scholar of Islam, teaching in France. For more than thirty years he applied academic disciplines of the West to the history and literature of the Muslim world and its ancient traditions. He was known as an advocate of a new Islamic modernism and humanism.

Raymond Aron

Professor, Institut d'Etudes Politiques and Sorbonne
1905 to 1984

Raymond Aron was born in Paris on 14 March 1905, the son of Suzanne and Gustav Aron, a professor of jurisprudence. Raymond attended school at the Lycée Hoche in Versailles and the Lycée Condorcet in Paris. Between 1924 and 1928 he attended L’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he studied philosophy. He attained first place in the competitively fought Agrégation de Philosophie.

Alfred J. Ayer

Professor of Logic, Oxford
1910 to 1989

British philosopher Alfred Jules Ayer, born in London on 29 October 1910, was at the same time a proponent of logical positivism and an original thinker with respect to some of its central themes.

John Baillie

Professor of Divinity and Principal of New College, Edinburgh
1886 to 1960

John Baillie was born in Gairloch, Wester Ross, Scotland, on 6 March 1886. He was the eldest of three sons born to the Free Church minister Rev. John Baillie and his wife, Annie Macpherson. Upon his father’s death, when Baillie was just four, his mother moved with her sons to Inverness.

Lynne Rudder Baker

Professor University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Lynne Rudder Baker was born on 14 February 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed a B.A. in mathematics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1966. After a year studying philosophy at Johns Hopkins University on a National Defense Education Act Fellowship (1967–1968), she returned to Nashville to marry. She resumed her graduate studies at Vanderbilt, completing an M.A. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1972, both in philosophy.

Arthur James Balfour

Member of Parliament
1848 to 1930

Earl Arthur James Balfour, politician and philosopher, was born on 25 July 1848 in Whittingehame House, East Lothian. Balfour was the third of eight children and eldest son of James Maitland Balfour (landowner and MP) and his wife, Lady Blanche Mary Harriet, who was the second daughter of the second marquess of Salisbury. Arthur's father died from tuberculosis when Arthur was eight and he was raised primarily by his mother.

Ian G. Barbour

Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society, Carleton College
1923 to 2013

Throughout his career, Ian Barbour has been at the forefront of the dialogue between scientists and theologians. Trained as a physicist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1950), and as a theologian with a B.D. from Yale University (1956), Barbour has drawn on the philosophical insights of both disciplines to transcend their boundaries. Because he is a professor of both physics and religion, Barbour's initial books depict the relationships between physical science and religion.

Ernest William Barnes

Bishop of Birmingham
1874 to 1953

Ernest William Barnes was born in Altrincham, Cheshire, England, on 1 April 1874. His early education was at King Edward’s School in Birmingham where he won a scholarship from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1893. He obtained first class honours in 1897 and is renowned as one of Cambridge’s most gifted mathematicians. Barnes became a fellow of Trinity College after winning the Smith’s Prize in 1898, and in 1902 he was appointed lecturer, receiving his doctorate (D.Sc.) in 1906, becoming tutor in 1908. The following year he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).

Winston Herbert Frederick Barnes

Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool
1909 to 1990

W.H.F. Barnes (1909–90), born in Ashton, Greater Manchester and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Corpus Christi, Oxford, was a philosopher best known for his criticisms of logical positivism. He graduated BA in 1936 with the John Locke scholarship. He served as lecturer at Liverpool before the Second World War and was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Durham 1945-59.

James Barr

Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible, Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
1924 to 2006

James Barr was born in 1924 in Glasgow, Scotland, and received his schooling in Edinburgh. In 1941 he entered the University of Edinburgh as an undergraduate to study classics, but left after one year for wartime service. He resumed his studies in 1945, at which time he met a fellow student of classics, whom he later married. Barr went on to obtain a doctorate from the University of Oxford, and from 1955 to 1961 he served as a professor of Old Testament at Edinburgh. In the course of his career, he also held professorships at Princeton, Manchester, Oxford and Vanderbilt.

John D. Barrow

Lecturer, Astronomy Center, University of Sussex

John Barrow, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Sussex, was born in London in 1952. His first degree, awarded from the University of Durham in mathematics, was followed in 1977 by a doctorate in astrophysics (supervised by Dennis Sciama) from the University of Oxford.

Karl Barth

Professor of Theology, University of Basel
1886 to 1968

Karl Barth was born in Basel, Germany, on 10 May 1886. His father, theologian Fritz Barth, took the family to Berne in 1889 when he took up the university chair as Professor of Church History and New Testament Exegesis. Fritz’s position and interests meant that Karl was exposed to theological enquiry from an early age.


Mary Beard

Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge; Fellow of Newnham College; Royal Academy of Arts Professor of Ancient Literature

Mary Beard is one of Britain’s best-known classicists, Professor at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College. She has written numerous books on the ancient world including the Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town; has presented highly-acclaimed TV series, Meet the Romans and Rome: Empire without Limit; and is a regular broadcaster and media commentator. Mary is one of the presenters for the BBC’s recent landmark Civilisations series.