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Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Professor Jeff Astley

Personal web page

Honorary Professor (October 2012 – September 2015) in the Department of Theology and Religion

(email at jeff.astley@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

I have been an honorary lecturer in the University of Durham since 1981, Honorary Professorial Fellow in Practical Theology and Christian Education since 1997, and Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion since 2012.

I read Natural Sciences (specializing in the biological sciences) and then Theology at the University of Cambridge, and continued my theological studies at the University of Birmingham while training for ordination at The Queen’s College, Birmingham.

I was ordained in the Church of England in 1970 and served as an assistant curate in South Staffordshire before moving to Durham as a College Chaplain and Lecturer in Divinity in St Hild’s College, later the College of St Hild and St Bede. While in Durham I began working part-time for my PhD in the philosophy of religion (on the religious epistemology of Ian T Ramsey; awarded 1979).

From 1977 to 1981 I was Principal Lecturer and Head of Religious Studies at Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln and Associate Tutor at Lincoln Theological College, responsible for a joint degree in Theology and Ministry of the University of Nottingham, taught at the two colleges.

I returned to Durham in 1981 as Founding Director of the ecumenical and independent North of England Institute for Christian Education, whose primary task is to create links between Christian theology and education, particularly by promoting research in Christian learning in all its aspects, but especially within congregations.

For details of NEICE, its work and related publications, see www.durham.ac.uk/neice.

I am the author or editor of over thirty-five books in Christian education, practical theology or religious faith, including academic monographs, such as The Philosophy of Christian Religious Education (1994) and Ordinary Theology: Looking, Listening and Learning in Theology (2002); readers and edited collections, such as Theological Perspectives on Christian Formation (1996), The Idea of a Christian University (2004) and Exploring Ordinary Theology (2013); student texts, such as Choosing Life? Christianity and Moral Problems (2000), Exploring God-Talk: Using Language in Religion (2004) and the SCM Studyguide to Christian Doctrine (2010); and works on popular theology and spirituality, such as Beyond the Here and Now (1996) and Christ of the Everyday (2007). My hundred plus journal articles, chapters in books and research reports, cover a similarly wide field.

I have a range of research interests within Christian education and practical theology, including conceptual research in the philosophy and theology of Christian learning and moral and spiritual education, and studies in ‘ordinary theology’. I have also undertaken both qualitative and quantitative empirical studies among churchgoers, teachers and students.

Within the field of Theology and Religion my main academic interests are in the Philosophy of Religion and the Science and Religion debate, and I have taught at undergraduate level in the Department in both areas. I have collaborated with colleagues in the production of a series of six undergraduate readers on key issues in Theology and Religious Studies. I have taught a MA module in ‘Christian Formation, Faith Development and Critical Education’.

From time to time I am able to supervise research students within the fields of Christian education and practical theology, or other areas of Theology and Religion and Theology and Ministry. Because of my other commitments, however, this is not always possible. Prospective students should contact me directly at:

North of England Institute for Christian Education
18 North Bailey
Durham City
DH1 3RH

0191 33 43331
Jeff.Astley@durham.ac.uk

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

  • Astley,Jeff , Francis, Leslie J. Robbins, Mandy & Selçuk, Mualla (2012). Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives. Bern: Peter Lang.
  • Astley, Jeff. , Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2009). Christology: Key Readings in Christian Thought. Louisville, Kentucky / London: Westminster John Knox Press / SPCK.
  • Francis, Leslie J. Robbins, Mandy. & Astley, Jeff (2009). Empirical Theology in Texts and Tables: Qualitative, Quantitative and Comparative Perspectives. Leiden: Brill.
  • Astley, Jeff. , Francis, Leslie J. & Robbins, Mandy. (2007). Peace or Violence: The Ends of Religion and Education?. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  • Day, David., Astley, Jeff. & Francis, Leslie J. (2005). A Reader on Preaching: Making Connections. Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Francis, Leslie J., Robbins, Mandy & Astley, Jeff (2005). Religion, Education and Adolescence: International Empirical Perspectives. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  • Astley, Jeff., Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2004). God in Action: A Reader. London: T. & T. Clark.
  • Astley, Jeff., Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2004). Science and Religion: A Reader. London: T. & T. Clark.
  • Astley, Jeff , Francis,Leslie J., Sullivan, John & Walker, Andrew (2004). The Idea of a Christian University: Essays on Theology and Higher Education. Milton Keynes: Paternoster.
  • Astley, Jeff., Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2003). Creation: A Reader. London: T. & T. Clark.
  • Astley, Jeff., Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2003). Evil: A Reader. London: T. & T. Clark.
  • Astley, Jeff., Brown, David. & Loades, Ann. (2003). War and Peace: A Reader. London: T. & T. Clark.

Essays in edited volumes

  • Astley, Jeff (2012). A Theological Reflection on the Nature of Religious Truth. In Teaching Religion, Teaching Truth: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives. Astley, Jeff , Francis, Leslie J. Robbins, Mandy & Selçuk, Mualla Bern: Peter Lang. 241-262.
  • Astley, Jeff (2012). Can we Choose our Beliefs? A Philosophical Question for Religious Education. In Religious Education and Freedom of Religion and Belief. Parker, Stephen Freathy, Rob & Francis, Leslie J. Bern: Peter Lang. 81-93
  • Astley, Jeff (2012). Christianity. In The Routledge International Handbook of Learning. Jarvis, Peter with Mary Watts Routledge. 467-474
  • Astley, Jeff (2012). Church Schools and the Church’s Service for the Poor. In Anglican Church School Education: Moving Beyond the First Two Hundred Years. Worsley, Howard J. Bloomsbury Academic. 101-118
  • Astley, Jeff (2011). Forms of Faith and Forms of Communication. In Communicating Faith. Sullivan, John Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press. 16-30
  • Astley, Jeff (2011). Religion and Language. In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. Hogan, Patrick Colm New York: Cambridge University Press. 712-713.
  • Astley, Jeff. (2009). Evolution and Evil: The Difference Darwinism Makes in Theology and Spirituality. In Reading Genesis After Darwin. Barton, Stephen C. & Wilkinson, David. New York: Oxford University Press. 163-180.
  • Christie, Ann & Astley, Jeff (2009). Ordinary Soteriology: A Qualitative Study. In Empirical Theology in Texts and Tables: Qualitative, Quantitative and Comparative Perspectives. Francis, Leslie J., Robbins, Mandy & Astley, Jeff Leiden: Brill. 177-196
  • Astley, Jeff. (2009). The Psychology of Faith Development. In International Handbook of Education for Spirituality, Care and Wellbeing. de Souza, Marian, Francis, Leslie J. O’Higgins-Norman, James. & Scott, Daniel G. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. One: 231-245
  • Astley, Jeff (2008). Giving Voice to the Ordinary: Theological Listening and the Mother Tongue. In Exchanges of Grace: Essays in Honour of Ann Loades. Watson, Natalie K. & Burns, Stephen SCM Press. 202-212
  • Astley, Jeff. (2007). Crossing the Divide? In Inspiring Faith in Schools: Studies in Religious Education. Felderhof, Marius., Penny Thompson, Penny. & Torevell, David. Aldershot: Ashgate. 175-186.
  • Astley, Jeff (2007). Public and Personal Peace in Life, Religion and Education: An Exercise in Ordinary Theology. In Peace or Violence: The Ends of Religion and Education?. Astley, Jeff. , Francis, Leslie J. & Robbins, Mandy Cardiff: University of Wales Press. 151-173
  • Astley, Jeff (2005). The Science and Religion Interface within Young People's Attitudes and Beliefs. In Religion, Education and Adolescence: International Empirical Perspectives. Francis, Leslie J., Robbins, Mandy & Astley, Jeff University of Wales Press. 39-54.
  • Astley, Jeff (2004). Christian Teaching, Christian Learning and Christian Love: Education as Christian Ministry and Spiritual Discipline. In The Idea of a Christian University: Essays on Theology and Higher Education. Astley, Jeff , Francis, Leslie J., Sullivan, John & Walker, Andrew Milton Keynes: Paternoster. 132-146
  • Astley, Jeff (2004). Religious Non-Realism and Spiritual Truth. In New Directions in Philosophical Theology. Hyman, Gavin Aldershot: Ashgate. 19-33
  • Astley, Jeff (2003). Spiritual learning Good for nothing?. In Spirituality, Philosophy and Education. Carr, David & Haldane, John London: Routledge. 141-153.
  • Astley, Jeff. (2001). From religion to science: religious education and scientific understanding. In The fourth R for the third millennium: education in religion and values for the global future. Francis, Leslie J., Astley, J. & Robbins, Mandy. Dublin: Lindisfarne Books. 17-45.

Journal papers: academic

  • Astley, Jeff , Francis, Leslie J. & Robbins, Mandy (2012). Assessing Attitude Towards Religion: The Astley-Francis Scale of Attitude Towards Theistic Faith. British Journal of Religious Education 34(2): 183-193.
  • Astley, Jeff & Francis, Leslie J. (2011). Promoting Positive Attitudes towards Science and Religion among Sixth Form Pupils: Dealing with Scientism and Creationism. British Journal of Religious Education 6(2): 189-200
  • Astley, Jeff. (2009). Religion versus Darwin: Should Evolution Denial Go to School? Theology CXII(868): 270-278.
  • Astley, Jeff & Francis, Leslie J. (2009). Vocation to Ordained Ministry: A Qualitative Study. Practical Theology 2(2): 253-267
  • Astley, Jeff. (2005). Religious Schooling and the Challenge of the Poor. Journal of Empirical Theology 18(1): 41-47.
  • Astley, Jeff. (2004). Christian Ethics in the Classroom, Curriculum and Corridor. Studies in Christian Ethics 17(1): 54-68.
  • Astley, Jeff. & Francis, Leslie J. (2002). Christian Education and Openness: An Empirical Investigation among Undergraduates. Religious Education 97(1): 4-22
  • Astley, Jeff. (2002). Evangelism in education: impossibility, travesty or necessity?. International journal of education and religion 3(2): 179-194.
  • Astley, Jeff. (2002). In Defence of Ordinary Theology. British Journal of Theological Education 13(1): 21-35

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Supervises