Lecturers & Authors

William George De Burgh

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Reading
1866 to 1943

William George de Burgh was born at Wandsworth, London, on 24 October 1866, to William de Burgh, barrister and civil servant, who died when Burgh was twelve, and Hannah Jane, daughter of Captain Thomas Monck Mason RN.

Vigo Auguste Demant

Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford
1893 to 1983

Theologian and social commentator Vigo Auguste Demant was born 8 November 1893 into a family with French and Danish roots. After attending school at Newcastle and in France he earned a degree in engineering at Armstrong College (later King’s College). In 1916 Demant went to Oxford to study anthropology but changed direction. He attended Ely Theological College being ordained as a deacon of the Church of England in 1919 and as a priest in 1920.

John Dewey

Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
1859 to 1952

Born on 20 October 1859, in Burlington, Vermont, John Dewey attended the University of Vermont in Burlington. He was greatly impressed by G. H. Perkins and the writings of T. H. Huxley regarding evolutionary theory, which profoundly shaped Dewey’s thought. He came to apply the rejection of a static model of nature to his growing interest in psychology and theories of knowledge, while his relationship with his professor H. A. P. Torrey fuelled his interests in philosophy. After graduating in 1879, he spent three years as a high school teacher, but his passion for philosophy persisted.

William McNeile Dixon

Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Glasgow
1866 to 1946

William Macneile Dixon was a poet, historian, and scholar of the English language. His writings, both popular and academic, were renowned in the first half of the twentieth century. Dixon studied in Dublin and was awarded his Litt.D. at the University of Glasgow where he was Professor of English Language and Literature.

Mary Douglas

Emeritus Professor, University College of London
1921 to 2007

Mary Douglas was born Margaret Mary Tew in San Remo Italy on 25 March 1921. Her father Gilbert Tew was in the British colonial service. Her mother Phyllis Twomy Tew raised Mary and her sister Patricia in the Roman Catholic faith. After their mother's death when Mary was 12 she and her sister were raised by her maternal grandparents. She attended Sacred Heart School in Roehampton.

Philip Drew

Professor of English Literature, University of Glasgow
1925 to 2018

Philip Drew, M.A., born in 1925, was professor of English literature at Glasgow University. He served the university as Gifford Lecturer in Natural Theology in 1983, delivering five lectures on the theme ‘The Literature of Natural Man’.

His published work includes The Poetry of Browning: A Critical Introduction (1970) and a monograph on free will liberty and determinism in literature entitled The Meaning of Freedom (1982). He also edited Robert Browning: A Collection of Critical Essays (1966).

Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch

Professor of Biology, University of Heidelberg
1867 to 1941

Writing in 2002, the co-founder of modern evolutionary synthesis, Ernst Mayr, acclaimed, 'When one reads the writing of one of the leading vitalists like Driesch, one is forced to agree with him'. Mayr pointed out that Hans Driesch, biologist, philosopher, theologian, was one of the central figures who helped end the belief in organisms as machines. Vitalism, the views of which Driesch articulated, understood that nuclear division and embryo development cannot solely be accounted for by physiochemical processes. There must be a self-determining force, a vital spark.

Michael Dummett

Emeritus professor of Logic, University of Oxford

A skilled analytic mind and an ardent voice against racism, Michael A. E. Dummett is considered by many to be one of twentieth-century Britain’s most influential philosophers of language. Dummett is best known for his work in the history of analytic philosophy and in his contributions to the philosophy of language and mathematics. Much of his work has taken the form of commentary on the likes of Frege Wittgenstein and Quine. Dummett, who considered himself a Wittgensteinian, is widely held as the English authority on the work of German logician Gottlob Frege.

Freeman J. Dyson

Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
1923 to 2020

Freeman J. Dyson was born in England and worked as a civilian scientist for the Royal Air Force in the Second World War. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1945 with a B.A. in mathematics.

Terry Eagleton

Distinguished Professor of English Literature, University of Lancaster

Terry Eagleton is a literary scholar, cultural theorist, and prolific author in England who, working from Irish-Catholic roots, has argued the merits of a populist Marxism as an alternative to postmodern theory and institutional Christianity. As a public intellectual, Eagleton gained prominence for his trenchant criticism of the “new atheism” as naïve and of the highly intellectualized postmodernist theory as bankrupt.

John Carew Eccles

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology, State University of New York in Buffalo
1903 to 1997

Sir John Carew Eccles best known for his Nobel Prize-winning research in neuroscience was born 27 January 1903 in Melbourne Australia. He studied medicine at Melbourne University and graduated with first class honours in 1925 and then entered Magdalen College Oxford in the same year as a Victorian Rhodes Scholar. Eccles began this program as an undergraduate in order to study under Sir Charles Sherrington a Gifford Lecturer and distinguished neuroscience pioneer.

Diana Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies & Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Diana Eck grew up in Bozeman, Montana. She earned a BA in religious studies (Smith College, 1967), an MA in South Asian studies (University of London, 1968), and a PhD in comparative religion (Harvard University, 1976). Eck has been a member of the divinity faculty at Harvard University since 1984. She is presently professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society.

Arthur Stanley Eddington

Plumian Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge
1882 to 1944

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington can be considered the father of theoretical astrophysics because of his work on stellar dynamics and composition and his exposition and application of Einstein’s relativity theories (announced in 1905 and 1915). His review in 1918 was the first English-language exposition of the subject and his book Mathematical Theory of Relativity (1923) was considered by Einstein himself to be the finest presentation in any language.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics University of Chicago
1941 to 2013

Jean Bethke Elshtain was born in Windsor, Colorado on 6 January 1941 and grew up in the village of Timnath, Colorado. She received her AB degree from Colorado State University and MA degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Colorado. In 1973 she received her PhD in politics from Brandeis University; her dissertation was entitled 'Women and Politics: A Theoretical Analysis'.

Andrew Martin Fairbairn

Principal Mansfield College, Oxford
1838 to 1912

Andrew Martin Fairbairn was born 4 November 1838 in Inverkeithing Fife to Helen and John Fairbairn, a miller and leader in the United Secession Church. Despite having little education as a child and working from the age of nine, he read widely and studied deeply on his own.

He undertook his first university studies in theology at Edinburgh and later Berlin, although he did not earn degrees from either institution. In 1850 he enrolled in the Theological College of the Union in Glasgow and was ordained to the Evangelical Union pastorate in Bathgate three years later.

Herbert Henry Farmer

Professor of Divinity, Cambridge
1892 to 1981

Herbert Henry Farmer was born in Highbury London on 27 November 1892 the youngest of William Charles Farmer and Mary Ann Buck’s four sons. Though he was from a working-class family (his father was a journeyman cabinetmaker) Herbert's early academic proclivities at Owen's School in Islington earned him a scholarship to Peterhouse Cambridge where he read for the moral sciences tripos and graduated first class in 1914. A pacifist and conscientious objector Farmer chose to work at a farm at Histon near Cambridge rather than entering the armed services during the First World War.

Lewis Richard Farnell

Rector of Exeter College and Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford
1859 to 1934

Lewis Richard Farnell was born in Salisbury in 1856, educated at the City of London School and thereafter at Exeter College, Oxford. He graduated from Exeter a classical scholar in 1874 and obtained a first class in literae humaniores in 1878.

Austin Marsden Farrer

Warden, Keble College, Oxford
1904 to 1968

Austin Farrer born in 1904 was ‘the greatest mind produced by the Church of England’ in the twentieth century according to Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford. The son of Augustus Farrer a lecturer in church history at Regent's Park College London Farrer was educated at St. Paul's School in London. He then went to Oxford where he earned three first-class degrees in classical moderations ‘greats’ (arts and letters) and theology.

David Fergusson

Professor of Divinity and Principal of New College

David Fergusson is a leading Protestant theologian in Scotland, a leader in church and theological education, and the author of many works that focus on modern Reformed theology and issues in science and religion. He serves as principal of New College, University of Edinburgh.

John Niemeyer Findlay

Professor of Philosophy, King's College, University of London
1903 to 1987

John Niemeyer Findlay was born 25 November 1903 in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied classics and philosophy first at the University of Pretoria and then at Balliol College, Oxford, which he attended from 1924 to 1926 as a Rhodes scholar. He then returned to Pretoria to take up a lectureship. He held the post of professor of mental and moral philosophy at the University of Otago New Zealand from 1934 to 1944. He married Aileen Hawthorn in 1941 and the couple had two children.