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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Revd Professor David Wilkinson, BSc, PhD, MA, PhD, FRAS

Professor and Principal of St. John's College in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43895
Room number: St. John's College
Principal of St John's College

Contact Revd Professor David Wilkinson (email at


In addition to my teaching and research in the Department I am also Principal of St Johns College.

Before working in Durham as a theologian, I was a scientist and then a Methodist minister in inner city Liverpool. My background is research in theoretical astrophysics, where my PhD was in the study of star formation, the chemical evolution of galaxies and terrestrial mass extinctions such as the event which wiped out the dinosaurs. I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and have published a wide range of papers on these subjects.

After this research I trained for the Methodist ministry, studying theology at Cambridge. I then served in a variety of appointments, including a growing church in Liverpool and as Methodist chaplain at Liverpool University.

I arrived in Durham in 1999 and held a Fellowship in Christian Apologetics at St John's College, and was also Associate Director of the Centre for Christian Communication.

My current work involves the relationship of the Christian theology to contemporary culture, from science to pop culture. I have had a long interest in the dialogue of science and religion, especially as it impacts the physical sciences. God, Time and Stephen Hawking (Monarch, 2001) and Christian Eschatology and the Physical Universe (T&T Clark 2010) are examples of that work.  This work forms some of the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching that I do in the department where I teach modules in science and theology. My PhD is in Systematic Theology and explored Christian eschatology.

In addition, I am interested in the relationship of theology to contemporary culture in terms of preaching, missiology and apologetics. I have written on the spirituality in contemporary cinema in The Power of the Force: The Spirituality of the Star Wars Films (Lion, 2000), on the Christian doctrine of holiness in A Holiness of the Heart (Monarch, 2000) and a popular exposition of the biblical themes of creation in Creation: The Bible Speaks Today Bible Themes Series (IVP, 2002).

I have a range of research students working on the science and religion dialogue, the theology of preaching, Christian leadership, Fresh Expressions of church, Methodist ecclesiology, apologetics and the new atheism and the impact of reality television.

Research Supervision

Kate Bruce

Jon Reynolds

Andrew Holmes

Ben DeVan

Guerin Tueno

Stepehen Lindridge

Rob Haynes

Michael Greene

Andrew Bigg

Nathan Kirkpatrick

David Lunn

Lindsay Morgan


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article