The Reverend Canon Brian Leslie Hebblethwaite, philosophical theologian, was born in Bristol, England, on 3 January 1939 to local politician Cyril Hebblethwaite (Lord Mayor of Bristol, 1966–1967), and his wife, Annie Sarah (née Nash). Hebblethwaite entered Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1957, graduating B.A. in 1961 and M.A. in 1967. He also studied at Magdalene College, Cambridge, completing B.A. (1963), M.A. (1968) and B.D. (1984) degrees. He undertook ministerial training at Westcott House, Cambridge, from 1962 to 1965 and was ordained to the priesthood of the Church of England in 1966. He also studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1964–1965.
Hebblethwaite served as Fellow and Dean of Chapel at Queens’ College, Cambridge, from 1969 to 1994 and as Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge from 1973 to 1999. He was appointed Canon Theologian at Leicester Cathedral in 1983 and served in this role until 2001. He married Emma Sian Disley in 1991, and they have a daughter, Alexandra (the marriage was dissolved in 2004). In 1994 he resigned his Deanship at Cambridge and was made Life Fellow of Queens’ College.
Canon Hebblethwaite now lives in retirement near Ely in Cambridgeshire. His books include:Evil, Suffering and Religion (1976; rev. ed., 2000); The Problems of Theology (1980); The Adequacy of Christian Ethics (1981); The Christian Hope (1984); The Incarnation: Collected Essays in Christology (1987); The Ocean of Truth: A Defence of Objective Theism (1988);The Essence of Christianity: A Fresh Look at the Nicene Creed (1996); Ethics and Religion in a Pluralistic Age (1997); Philosophical Theology and Christian Doctrine (2004); and In Defence of Christianity (2005). He co-edited Christianity and Other Religions (1980) with John Hick. Julius Lipner has edited a forthcoming book about Canon Hebblethwaite’s work entitled Truth, Religious Dialogue and Dynamic Orthodoxy: Reflections on the Work of Brian Hebblethwaite (2005).