Lecturers & Authors

John Morris Roberts

Warden, Merton College, University of Oxford
1928 to 2003

John Roberts is a renowned European historian. Of his many professional achievements, he was Prize Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford (1951–1953); Commonwealth Fund Fellow, Princeton and Yale (1953–1954); Fellow and Tutor at Merton College, Oxford (1953–1979); acting Warden of Merton College (1969–1970, 1977–1979); Senior Proctor, Oxford University (1967–1968); Vice Chancellor and Professor, University of Southampton (1979–1985); and Warden of Merton College, Oxford (1984–1994).

John W. Rogerson

Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus University of Sheffield
1935

Perhaps it was a sense of social justice that led J. W. Rogerson to write a book about the unfair dismissal of two Victorian professors of theology both of whom were ahead of their time. Social issues are the red thread that runs through the more than baker’s dozen of books that he wrote. Born in 1935 he learned Russian and served in the Royal Air Force at the height of the Cold War.

Holmes Rolston III

University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Colorado State University
1932

Holmes Rolston, III, is University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Colorado State University.

William David Ross

Provost of Oriel College, Oxford
1877 to 1971

William David Ross was born in Thurso (Scotland), 15 April 1877. He spent the first six years of his life in India, when his father became the Principal of the Maharajah’s College. He received his early education from the Royal High School in Edinburgh and began his academic career at the University of Edinburgh. In 1895 Ross graduated from Edinburgh with a first in classics, and entered Balliol College, Oxford to continue his education.

Josiah Royce

Professor of History of Philosophy, Harvard University
1855 to 1916

Josiah Royce was born in Grass Valley, California, on 10 November 1855. His parents, Josiah and Sarah Royce, were head of their local primary school, which Royce attended. He took his first degree, a B.A. in Classics, at the University of California in 1875. He then went to Germany to study philosophy for one year before returning to the United States to take a Ph. D. at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, completing in 1878.

James (Steven) Cochran Stevenson Runciman

Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
1903 to 2000

James Cochran Stevenson ‘Steven’ Runciman was born on 7 July 1903 in Northumberland. He was the younger son of Walter Runciman, later to become the first Viscount Runciman of Doxford, and his parents were the first married couple to sit as MPs at the same time. He studied history at his mother's alma mater, Trinity College, Cambridge, taking a first class degree in 1925. Following his postgraduate studies under J. B. Bury, he became a fellow of the college in 1927, and a lecturer in 1932.

Michael Ruse

Professor, Florida State University, Tallahassee
1940

Michael Ruse philosopher and historian of science was born on 21 June 1940 in Birmingham England. His father William (1913–1992) was a civil servant and school bursar and his mother Margaret (1918–1953) a schoolteacher who died when Michael was 13. William was a conscientious objector and after World War II the family became involved in the Society of Friends (Quakers). Ruse attended a Quaker boarding school in York and cites his association with the Junior Friends as a significant influence on his early years.

Abdulaziz Sachedina

Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at University of Virginia
1942

Abdulaziz Sachedina was born into an Indian Muslim family in Tanzania in 1942. He received BA degrees from Aligarh Muslim University (in Islamic Studies) in Aligarh, India, and Ferdowsi University (in Persian language and literature) in Mashhad, Iran. In addition, he studied Islamic jurisprudence at the Madrasa of Ayatollah Milani in Mashhad. He received the MA and PhD degrees in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto.

Jonathan Sacks

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
1948

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is chief rabbi for Orthodox Judaism in the British Commonwealth a position he has held since 1991. In that role he oversees members of the United Hebrew Congregations a federation of synagogues formally recognized by the British government since 1845. He is the sixth rabbi to hold the position in the organization’s history.

Carl Sagan

David Duncan Professor Astronomy and Space Science; dir., Lab for Planetary Studies, Cornell Univ.
1934 to 1996

Carl Edward Sagan was born 9 November 1934 in Brooklyn, NY, the oldest of Sam and Rachel Sagan’s three children. When Carl was five, the Sagan family moved out of New York City to New Jersey, where he attended a public high school. He showed great academic promise in school, so much so that he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the University of Chicago. Sagan received a bachelor's degree in 1955, a master's degree in 1956 (both in physics), and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics in 1960, all at Chicago.

Anthony J. Sanford

Professor of Psychology, University of Glasgow
1944

Psychologist Anthony John Sanford obtained his B.Sc. with first class honours from the University of Leeds in 1966. He was named Medical Research Council Scholar at the Applied Psychology Unit and Pembroke College, Cambridge, and under the supervision of Donald Broadbent, he completed his Ph.D. in 1970. Following this, he went to the University of Dundee as a postdoctoral fellow and was later appointed Lecturer in Psychology. In 1974 Sanford joined the faculty at the University of Glasgow, where he continues to serve as Professor of Psychology.

Archibald Henry Sayce

Professor of Assyriology, Oxford
1845 to 1933

Archibald Henry Sayce was born on 25 September 1845 in Shirehampton, not far from Bristol. His parents were Mary and Henry Samuel Sayce, perpetual curate of Caldicot in Shirehampton. Despite frequent ill health as a child, he was a voracious reader, studying Virgil and Xenophon at the age of ten, and Hebrew and comparative philology by fourteen. He entered Queen’s College, Oxford, in 1865, receiving his B.A. degree in 1869, again in spite of ill health. That year he became a fellow there, and one year later became a college tutor.

Annemarie Schimmel

Professor Emerita of Indo-Muslim Culture, Harvard University
1922 to 2003

Annemarie Schimmel was born on 7 April 1922 in Germany and became a renowned and influential Iranologist historian and a prolific author on Islam and Sufism before she passed away on 26 January 2003.

Perry Schmidt-Leukel

Professor of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology at the University of Muenster
1954

Perry Schmidt-Leukel (born 1954) is Professor of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology at the University of Muenster, Germany, and Director of the Institute for Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology. He is one of the Principal Investigators of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”, University of Muenster. He holds degrees in Theology (Diploma) and Philosophy (Master). He received his PhD from the University of Munich (1992). His habilitatio (1996) was in Systematic Theology, Ecumenical Theology and Religious Studies.

Albert Schweitzer

Missionary Doctor
1875 to 1965

Born on 14 January 1875 to a Lutheran minister of the German-speaking Alsace, Albert was raised in a highly educated family that excelled particularly in the fields of music and religion. Jean-Paul Sartre was a cousin. Albert’s family was deeply rooted in the church; both grandfathers were ministers and he followed suit by pursuing theological studies. A distinguished organist, he first performed publicly at the age of nine.

Charles Scott Sherrington

Sometime Professor of Physiology, Oxford
1857 to 1952

Born in London on 27 November 1857, Charles Scott Sherrington attended Queen Elizabeth’s School in Ipswich and later Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1876, he began studying medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital, passing his primary examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1878. In 1880, he entered Gonville and Caius to study physiology under Sir Michael Foster, completing his B.A. in 1883. That year he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy at Cambridge and also worked at St Thomas’s Hospital, where he would qualify in medicine the following year.

Lisa Sideris

Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University-Bloomington (USA)

Professor Sideris received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2000. Before coming (back) to IU, she taught both at Pace University in New York City and at McGill University in Montreal. 

Ninian Roderick Smart

Professor of Religious Studies, University of California
1927 to 2001

Ninian Smart was born in Cambridge England in 1927. Smart attended the Glasgow Academy before joining the military in 1945 serving until 1948 in the British Army Intelligence Corps. Leaving the army as a Captain with a scholarship to Queen’s College University of Oxford he reverted to his Glasgow major Classics and Philosophy. However for his B.Phil. work he returned to world religions writing what he came to consider the first dissertation in Oxford on philosophy of religion after World War II.

John Alexander Smith

Waynflete Professor of Mental Philosophy, Oxford
1863 to 1939

John Alexander Smith was born in Dingwall, Ross-shire on 21 April 1863, the second son of Andrew Smith and Jane Eliza Fraser. His father was the solicitor and county clerk of Ross. John attended the University of Edinburgh where in 1884 he was the Ferguson classical scholar. Later, he was admitted to Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a first class in classics (1885) and literae humaniores (1887). In 1891 he was elected a fellow of Balliol and later in 1896 he was appointed Jowett Lecturer in Philosophy.

Nathan Söderblom

Archbishop of Uppsala
1866 to 1931

Lars Olof Jonathon (known as Nathan) Söderblom was born on 15 January 1866, in Trönö, 200 kilometres north of Uppsala. His father was a Pietist pastor and his mother the descendent of an Oslo bishop. Söderblom attended the University of Uppsala, where he took his bachelor’s degree in 1866 with honours in Greek and adeptness in Hebrew, Arabic and Latin.

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