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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Gerard Loughlin, BA MA (Wales) PhD PGCE (Cambridge)

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43960
Room number: Abbey House B06a

Contact Professor Gerard Loughlin (email at


My interest in theology and religion has always been interdisciplinary. I studied theology and English literature at the University of Wales (Lampeter) and undertook my doctoral research - on the philosophy and theology of John Hick, and under the initial supervision of John A. T. Robinson - at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College). After a short time as a sixth form teacher (St Dominic's, Harrow on the Hill) I joined the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Newcastle, where I served as Head of Department from 1996-2001. On the closure of the Newcastle department in 2004, I moved to the long established (1832) but newly named Department of Theology & Religion at Durham. Thus in terms of both institutional location and academic discipline, my work crosses the borders between theology, philosophy and religious studies which is also the study of cultures.

My MA thesis was on The English Novels of Roman Catholic Modernism (Wales 1981) and its concern to move between theology, literature and literary theory was more fully realised in my first book, Telling God’s Story: Bible, Church and Narrative Theology (Cambridge University Press 1996/1999). This offers an account of the Christian life as a socio-textual practice, and its concern with 'telling' the 'body of Christ' opened the way for my second book: Alien Sex: The Body and Desire in Cinema and Theology (Blackwell 2004), which crosses the borders between theology and film in order to rethink Christian imaginings of the human body and its desires.

Long before 'queer theory' began to destabilize the always unstable identities of sex (fe/male) and gender (feminine/masculine), Christian thought was imagining a fluid, polymorphous body, which it named 'Christ', and through which it sought to remake all other carnalities. It is this strange tradition that is one of my current interests, and it is explored in an an edited volume on Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body (Blackwell 2007), and a forthcoming study of Homosexuality and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press). I am co-editor with Jon Davies of Sex These Days: Essays in Theology, Sexuality and Society (Continuum 1997) and co-editor with Elizabeth Stuart, Kent Brintnall and Marika Rose, of the journal Theology & Sexuality (Taylor & Francis), and I am also an Associate European Editor of Literature and Theology (Oxford University Press).

Durham is an excellent place in which to pursue interdisciplinary, 'cross-dressing' theology. The Department is home to some of the country's leading scholars in biblical and religious studies, with a wide range of anthropological, sociological and textual skills, as well as to theologians who - like myself - are concerned to explore cultural, ethical and political issues in and through theology. At Durham I contribute to the teaching at undergraduate level of systematic and philosophical theology, as well as offering modules on Christian Gender and Religion and Film. I supervise postgraduate students in these and related fields.

Research Interests

  • Christian Gender
  • Religion and Film
  • Narrative Theology
  • John Henry Newman
  • Roman Catholic Modernism

Teaching Areas

  • THEO2241 Creation and New Creation: Imaging God

  • THEO41030 Christian Gender

Selected Publications

Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Loughlin, Gerard (2019). "Pity and Pardon in Scorsese’s Palimpsest, Bringing Out the Dead". In Scorsese and Religion. Barnett, Christopher & Ellison, Clark. Leiden: Brill. 15: 196-230.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2017). The University. In The Edinburgh Critical History of Nineteenth-Century Christian Theology. Edited by Daniel Whistler. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 64-84.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2016). "Disordered Bodies and the Body of Christ". In Reading the Body of Christ: Eine geschlechtertheologische Relecture. Edited by Saskia Wendel and & Aurica Nutt. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. 57-68.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2015). "(Homosexual) Bodies and the Image of God". In Making Humans: Religious, Technological and Aesthetic Perspectives. Edited by Alexander D. Ornella. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press. 3-20.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2015). "Gay Affections". In The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality and Gender. Ed. by Adrian Thatcher. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 608-623.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2015). The Literal Sense and the Senses of Scripture. In The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Ed. by Jim Fodor and & Mike Higton. London: Routledge. 174-190.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2013). "Making it Plain: Austin Farrer and the Inspiration of Scripture". In Scripture, Metaphysics, and Poetry: Austin Farrer’s The Glass of Vision with Critical Commentary. Edited by Robert MacSwain. Ashgate. 167-180.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2012). "Nouvelle Théologie: A Return to Modernism?". In Ressourcement: A Movement for Renewal in Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology. Gabriel Flynn & Murray, Paul D. Oxford Oxford University Press. 36-50.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2012). "Nuptial Mysteries". In Faithful Reading: New Essays in Theology in Honour of Fergus Kerr, OP. Ed. by Simon Oliver,, Karen Kilby, & Tom O'Loughlin. London: T. & T. Clark. 173-192.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2010). "Catholic Modernism". In The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology. David Fergusson. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 486-508.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2010). "Essere creatura, diventare umano: una critica a Oliver O'Donovan", translated by Giovanni Pernigotto. In L’Enigma Corporeità Sessualità e Religione. Autiero, Antonio & Knauss, Stefanie Bologna: EDB. 89-109.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2009). "Theology in the University". In The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman. Ker, Ian & Merrigan,Terrence Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 221-240.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2008). "Tarkovsky's Trees". In Tarkovsky. Dunne, Nathan. London: Black Dog Publishing. 81-95, 438-439.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2008). "The Madonna's Tear: Biblical Images in the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky". In Recent Releases:The Bible in Contemporary Cinema. Geert Hallbäck and Annika Hvitamar. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press. 81-92.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2007). "Idol Bodies". In Idolatry: False Worship in the Bible, Early Judaism and Christianity. Ed. by Stephen C. Barton. London: T. & T. Clark. 267-286.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2007). "Not the Marrying Kind: Notes on an Ecclesial Comedy". In The God of Love and Human Dignity: Essays in Honour of George Newlands. Paul Middleton. London: T. & T. Clark. 139-153.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2007). "Omphalos". In Queer Theology Rethinking the Western Body. Loughlin, Gerard Oxford: Blackwell. 115-127.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2007). "Video Divina: Viewing Tarkovsky". In Reconfigurations: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion in a Post-Secuar Society. Stefanie Knauss & Alexander D. Ornella Berlin: LIT. 179-195.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2007). "Within the image: Film as Icon". In Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline. Robert K. Johnston. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 287-303.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2006). "Bildens svindel som kroppens djup". In Postmodern Teologi. Ola Sigurdeson & Jayne Svenungsson Stockholm: Verbum. 222-236.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2006). "Postmodern Scripture". In Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction. Holcomb, Justin S. New York: New York University Press. 300-322.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2006). "The Body". In The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture. Sawyer, John F. A. Oxford: Blackwell. 381-395.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2005). "Cinéma Divinité A Theological Introduction". In Cinéma divinité Theology and the Bible in Film. Christianson, Eric S., Peter Francis & William R. Telford London: SCM Press. 1-12.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2004). "Sex after Natural Law". In The Sexual Theologian: Essays on Sex, God and Politics. Althaus-Reid, Marcella & Lisa Isherwood London: Continuum. 86-98.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2004). "The body in the Text: Realism and Non-realism, Revelation and Writing-experience". In New Directions in Philosophical Theology Essays in Honour of Don Cupitt. Hyman, Gavin Aldershot: Ashgate. 147-160.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2004). "The University Without Question: John Henry Newman and Jacques Derrida on Faith in the University". In The Idea of a Christian University: Essays on Theology and Higher Education. Astley, Jeff, Leslie Francis, John Sullivan & Andrew Walker Carlisle: Paternoster Press. 113-131, 302-307.
  • Loughlin, Gerard (2000). "Time". In The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought. Hastings, Adrian. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 707b-709a.

Journal Article

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Doctoral Thesis

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