Prof David Ford

Prof David Ford


David F. Ford OBE is Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Selwyn College.

He is married to Revd Deborah Ford (née Hardy), who is an Anglican priest and a psychotherapist; and they have three children, Rebecca, Rachel and Daniel, and two grandchildren.

Alongside continuing work on Christian theology and on inter-faith relations, Professor Ford’s current research includes work on: the Gospel of John; glorification; theology, modernity and the arts; Scriptural Reasoning; contemporary worldviews; and education in schools and universities.  In 2021 Baker Academic will publish The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary.

His publications include: A Kind of Upside-Downness: Learning Disabilities and Transformational Community, co-edited with Deborah Hardy Ford and Ian Randall (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020); The Drama of Living (Canterbury Press, 2014); Interreligious Reading After Vatican II, co-edited with Frances Clemson, Wiley Blackwell, 2013); Theology: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013); The Future of Christian Theology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011); The Modern Theologians Reader, co-edited with Mike Higton and Simeon Zahl (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) Musics of Belonging: The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail, co-edited with Marc Caball. With a chapter on ‘Life, Work, and Reception’, pp. 1-24 (Carysfort Press, 2006); Christian Wisdom: Desiring God and Learning in Love (Cambridge University Press, 2007); Shaping Theology: Engagements in a Religious and Secular World (Blackwell, 2007); The Modern Theologians (3rd Edition edited with Rachel Muers, Blackwell, 2005); Living in Praise – Worshipping and Knowing God, with Daniel W. Hardy (2nd Edition, Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005); The Shape of Living (2nd edition, Baker Books, 2000); Self and Salvation: Being Transformed (Cambridge University Press 1999); Meaning and Truth in 2 Corinthians, with Frances M. Young (SPCK, 1987; Eerdmans, 1988; reprinted by Wipf & Stock, 2008); Barth and God’s Story. Biblical Narrative and the Theological Method of Karl Barth in the Church Dogmatics (Peter Lang, 1981; reprinted by Wipf & Stock, 2008).

Professor Ford chaired the Theological Reference Group for a Church of England initiative launched in 2016, the Foundation for Educational Leadership, and is a trustee of the National Society, the Church of England organisation responsible for over a million pupils in state-funded church-related schools; he co-chairs the Rose Castle Foundation, a centre for reconciliation, inter-faith engagement, religious literacy, and conservation, and the UK hub for Scriptural Reasoning, based in Rose Castle in Cumbria, UK; and chairs Faith in Leadership, which offers leadership training to emerging and established leaders from several religious traditions. He currently serves on boards of Kalam Research and Media (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Amman, Tripoli and Tunis); the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton; the Institute for Comparative Scripture and Interreligious Dialogue in Minzu University, Beijing; the Elijah Interfaith Institute, Jerusalem; the Cambridge Muslim College; and Lyn’s House, Cambridge (a L’Arche-inspired house of hospitality and friendship for those with and without learning disabilities, founded by his wife Deborah and others). He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals and monograph series. He has worked closely with the Anglican Communion and the International Federation of L’Arche Communities. He has been a theological adviser to three Archbishops of Canterbury (Runcie, Carey, Welby), and has convened Archbishop Welby’s Theological Retreat Group for the past eight years.

Professor Ford was founding Director of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme (2002-2015) and a co-founder of the inter-faith practice of Scriptural Reasoning. He was awarded the Sternberg Foundation Gold Medal for Inter-Faith Relations in 2008, the Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in 2012, an OBE (Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire), for services to theological scholarship and inter-faith relations, in 2013, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Birmingham, Bolton, Aberdeen, and Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya (Haridwar, India). He was Principal Investigator in the Cambridge University ‘Religion and the Idea of a Research University’ project (2011-2013), funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation.  He has been an Advisor to the John Templeton Foundation, served for many years on the committee that shortlisted for the Templeton Prize, and been a referee for projects with JTF.  He has been a consultant with the Templeton Religion Trust. He was the Oxford University Bampton Lecturer for 2015. He is currently a member of the Theology, Modernity and the Arts project at Duke University Divinity School. He is a McDonald Distinguished Scholar, a Visiting Professor at St Mellitus College, London, a Lay Canon of Birmingham Cathedral, and in 2018 was the holder of the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on The Life and Teachings of Jesus and their Impact on Culture at Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

He was born in Dublin and is an Irish citizen. He read Classics at Trinity College Dublin, and then Theology and Religious Studies in Cambridge, Yale, and Tübingen. Prior to taking up his post in Cambridge he taught in the University of Birmingham (1976-1991), where he lived in the inner city and engaged in local church and community life and in urban theology.

May 2021

All session by Prof David Ford