Graham Ward – Theologian

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Graham Ward, born 1955, is a theologian and Church of England priest who is the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. He has formerly been the Chaplain, Fellow and Tutor at Exeter College (1992-1995), Senior Fellow in Religion and Gender (1997–1998), Professor of Contextual Theology and Ethics (1998–2009), the Samuel Ferguson Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics and the Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures (2000-2012), and the Director of the Centre for Religion and Political Culture (2003-2011).

Ward, along with John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock, is one of the founders of the philosophical school of thought Radical Orthodoxy in theology, which takes a critical stance towards modernity. Ward is particularly interested in the relationship between science and theology and is on the committee for the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. He has written widely on the nature of religion and its relationship to other important intellectual domains such as anthropology, sociology, politics, and gender theory, and has examined the connections between culture, cultural phenomena, and religious belief. He in interested in the power of concept of myth and its relationship with theology and how religion is represented and perceived in popular culture. His current work involves a three volume work developing a culturally engaged systematic theology.

Theology and Contemporary Critical Theory (2000) engages four fundamental concerns in the study of theology with representation, history, ethics and transcendence. Ward examines each of these concerns in the light of contemporary critical theory. Christ and Culture (2005) presents a series of reflections on Christ and contemporary culture. It engages some of the work of Richard Niebuhr’s particularly his volume on “Christ and Culture” published in the 1970s. Ward explores representations of Christ from sources such as the New Testament and 20th century continental philosophy. He examines Christ and culture in the light of contemporary categories such as the body, gender, desire, politics and the sublime, and develops a Christology based in Scriptural exegesis and that speaks to contemporary cultural issues. The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Postmaterial Citizens (2009) examines the political nature of the postmodern world and offers a practical application by looking at what faithful discipleship looks like within this political context. He argues for the need to change the ‘cultural imaginary’ by opening up new Christian possibilities for conceiving transformation in the world. Unbelievable: Why We Believe and Why We Don’t (2014) looks at the developments and implications of neuroscience as well the philosophy of mind and consciousness. Using these fields of knowledge, Ward explores human perception, cognition, time, emotional intelligence, knowledge and sensation while engaging philosophy, theology and culture in order to uncover the true nature of the human condition.

Ward has also edited several titles such as The Postmodern God: a Theological Reader (1997) and The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern Theology (2004) which provide collection of essays by scholars on the topics of postmodernism, postmodern philosophy, and postmodern theology.


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