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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Two new Canon Professors appointed

(12 February 2015)

Van Mildert Professor of Divinity and Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies announced.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of two Canon Professors, who will hold full academic posts in the Department in conjunction with canonries at Durham Cathedral.
The Van Mildert Canon Chair of Divinity dates back to the establishment of the University in 1832. The new Van Mildert Professor will be Simon Oliver, currently Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology and Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham. Dr Oliver studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford and Theology at Cambridge, and taught at Jesus College, Cambridge, Hertford College, Oxford and the University of Wales, Lampeter, before moving to Nottingham in 2009. He was ordained priest in the diocese of Ely in 1999 and in 2011 he was installed as Canon Theologian of Southwell Minster. His research expertise lies in the area of Christian systematic theology, particularly the doctrine of creation, the historical relationship between science and theology, and the thought of Thomas Aquinas. His publications include Philosophy, God and Motion (2005) and Creation (2015). His current research project, Creation’s Ends: Teleology, Ethics and the Natural, focuses on theological and philosophical notions of causation and the concept of purposiveness in nature. He also has research interests in theological anthropology, Christian ethics, and the relationship between theology and contemporary philosophy.
The Michael Ramsey Canon Chair of Anglican Studies is a new foundation made possible by a bequest received by Durham Cathedral. The inaugural Ramsey Professor will be Michael Snape, currently Reader in Religion, War and Society at the University of Birmingham. He received his PhD in 1994 and his doctoral thesis formed the basis for his first monograph, The Church of England in Industrialising Society: the Lancashire parish of Whalley in the eighteenth century (2003). More recently, his research has focused on war and religion in the Anglophone world c.1700-1950, and on the role of religion in the military. His books, articles and essays on British military chaplains have demonstrated their centrality in the development of Anglicanism in British India and have dispelled the myth of Anglican pastoral failure during the First World War. His most recent book, God and Uncle Sam: Religion and America's Armed Forces in World War II (due for publication in May 2015) reveals the central role played by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the professional formation of America's wartime military leadership.
Both Professor Oliver and Professor Snape will take up their posts in Durham on 1 September 2015.

Prof. Simon Oliver (left) & Prof. Michael Snape (right)