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Department of Theology and Religion


Professor Mark McIntosh

Van Mildert Canon Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: 0191 33 41655
Room number: 002 (Dun Cow Cottage)

(email at


My research centers on the interaction of Christian theology, spirituality, and mystical thought, with particular attention to theologies of the Trinity, Christ, creation, theological metaphysics and epistemology, and the formation of the theological imagination.

My interest in this common spring of theology and the mystical began while studying History as an undergraduate at Yale University, working with Jaroslav Pelikan, Hans Frei, and Louis Dupré. I then earned a second BA in Theology at Oxford University, residing and training for ordination at St. Stephen’s House. After a Masters of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, I served as a member of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. In 1993 I received a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago, writing a dissertation on the intersection of theology and spirituality in the Christology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, under the supervision of David Tracy, Bernard McGinn, and Anne Carr. Since then I have been a member of the Theology Department of Loyola University Chicago, during which time I also served as a chaplain to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, and as canon theologian to the 25th Presiding Bishop and Primate.

At Durham (since 2009) I am honoured to be part of a particularly gifted team in Christian Theology, with eminent colleagues in historical, systematic, and philosophical theology as well as theological ethics; students wishing to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate work in our area will find a very rich, stimulating, and excitingly interdisciplinary environment. 

At present I am engaging in a long-term study (under contract with Oxford University Press) of the divine ideas tradition in Christian theology and mystical thought. Whether I’m focusing on mystical thought per se, or spiritual discernment, or on what it could mean to sense all creation as alive with divine intent and to see all things in God (as with the divine ideas tradition), in all such questions I’m seeking to elucidate how we might understand the beliefs of Christian faith more deeply – precisely by considering them in the light of spiritual traditions and mystical thought.

Over the years I have taught a range of undergraduate courses such as Faith, Reason, and the Happy Life; Mystical Theology; Tolkien, Lewis, and the Christian Theological Imagination; Great Christian Thinkers; and The World, Human Destiny, and God. At the master’s and doctoral level I have taught seminars in Christology; Trinity; Pneumatology; Soteriology; Theology and Mysticism; Systematics and Postmodern Thought; the Anglican Theological Vision; as well as on Barth and Balthasar;

I enjoy working with doctoral students to encourage and advise as they develop a compelling thesis, and have supervised (or am now working with) dissertations on such topics as: Julian of Norwich and a theology of non-violence; Balthasar and the meaning of kenotic thought; Balthasar and the authority of the saints; the theme of night in early modern mystical thought; Christian theology as a spiritual practice; the role of the divine ideas in the Summa theologiae. I welcome conversations with prospective postgraduate students, and especially commend The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams as a very helpful guide in formulating potential research projects and proposals.


Edited works: contributions

  • McIntosh, M. (2006). Trinitarian Perspectives on Christian Spirituality. In The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Holder, A. Blackwell. 177-189.
  • McIntosh, M. (2005). Faith, Reason, and the Mind of Christ. In Reason and the Reasons of Faith. Griffiths, P. & Hetter, R. T&T Clark. 119-142.
  • McIntosh, M. (2005). Theology and Spirituality. In The Modern Theologians. Ford, D. & Muers, R. Blackwell. 392-407.
  • McIntosh, M. (2004). Christology. In The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar. Oakes, E. Cambridge University Press. 24-36.
  • McIntosh, M. (2004). Hans Urs von Balthasar. In The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology. Jones, G. Blackwell. 388-402.
  • McIntosh, M. (2004). Trying to Follow a Call: Vocation and Discernment in Bunyans 'Pilgrims Progress'. In Revisiting the Idea of Vocation Theological Explorations. Haughey, J. Catholic University of America Press.
  • McIntosh, M. (2002). The Formation of Mind: Trinity and Understanding in Newman. In Silence and the Word Negative Theology and Incarnation. Turner, D. Cambridge University Press. 136-158.

Journal papers: academic


  • McIntosh, M. (2008). Divine Teaching: An Introduction to Christian Theology. Blackwell.
  • McIntosh, M. (2004). Discernment and Truth: The Spirituality and Theology of Knowledge. Crossroad/Herder.
  • McIntosh, M. (2000). Mysteries of Faith. Cowley Publications.
  • McIntosh, M. (1998). Mystical Theology: The Integrity of Spirituality and Theology. Blackwell.
  • McIntosh, M. (1996). Christology from Within Spirituality and the Incarnation in Hans Urs von Balthasar. University of Notre Dame Press.