Nigel Biggar

Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Canon of Christ Church.

Professor Biggar holds a B.A. (Hons) in Modern History from the University of Oxford; a Master of Christian Studies from Regent College, Vancouver, Canada; and an M.A. in Religious Studies, and a Ph.D. in Christian Theology, from the University of Chicago.

Among his current research interests are: the formative bearing of religious concepts on moral life; the contribution of religion to the health of liberal societies; theories of natural law; the theology and ethics of national identity and loyalty, of forgiveness, of killing (especially in relation to suicide, euthanasia, and war), and of burying the past after civil conflict; Christian realism; the public responsibility of the media; and the public vocation of universities.

His recent publications include:

    • Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics. Eerdmans, 2011.
    • (co-ed. with Linda Hogan) Religious Voices in Public Places. Oxford University Press, 2009.
    • Aiming to Kill: the Ethics of Suicide and Euthanasia. London: Darton, Longman, and Todd, 2004.
    • (editor) Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice after Civil Conflict. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.
    • “Theology and Atrocity: Just War Doctrine and the Righting of Atrocious Wrongs,” The Religious in Responses to Mass Atrocity. Ed. Thomas Brudholm and Thomas Cushman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
    • “Forgiving Enemies in Ireland”, Journal of Religious Ethics 36/4 (December 2008).
    • “Specify and Distinguish! Interpreting the New Testament on ‘Non-Violence'”, Studies in Christian Ethics 21/3 (2008).
    • “Saving the Secular: the Public Vocation of Moral Theology”, Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2009).

Postdoctoral Fellow

John Perry

From 2008-2013 the McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow was John Perry, who is now Lecturer in Theological Ethics at the University of St Andrews.

John Perry holds a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, as well as degrees from the University of Minnesota and Fuller Seminary.

Dr Perry’s current research explores how the emergence of new forms of Christian Ethics in the early modern period continues to influence the church today—for good and for ill. His goal is to help the church better understand its own moral discourse, as well as its relation to the plurality of moral languages Christians encounter today, arising from disciplines such as philosophy and political science, as well as vocations such as medicine. He is thus especially interested in those writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who were spurred by the growing pluralism of their time to innovative developments in ethics and theology; people like Grotius, Hooker, Locke, and Butler. From them we have inherited new approaches to natural law, new ways of envisioning Scripture’s moral authority, distinctively modern conceptions of rights, and so on. He also teaches medical ethics, with a special focus on looking for convergence and contention among Christian, liberal, and utilitarian approaches.

His recent publications include:

  • The Pretenses of Loyalty: Locke, Liberal Theory, and American Political Theology. Oxford University Press, 2011. [Featured in Political Theology & Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews | Available from Amazon USA | Amazon UK]
  • Vocation & Creation: A Reply to Jon Olsen”, Journal of Religious Ethics 40/2 (2012).
  • The Essential Theatricality of Virtue: A Review of Jennifer Herdt’s Putting on Virtue“, Scottish Journal of Theology 65/2 (2012).
  • “May Alzheimer’s Patients Morally Refuse Tube Feeding? Yet More Questions on the Papal Allocution—and Perhaps an Answer”, Christian Bioethics 17/2 (2011).
  • “Are Christians the ‘Aliens Who Live in Your Midst’? Torah and the Origins of Christian Ethics in Acts 10–15″, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 29/2 (2009).
  • “John Locke’s America: Christian Political Arguments and the Character of Liberal Democracy”, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 27/2 (2007).
  • “The Weight of Community: Alasdair MacIntyre, Abraham Kuyper, and the Problem of Public Theology in a Liberal Society”, Calvin Theological Journal 39/2 (November 2004).
  • “Not Pledging as Liturgy: Lessons from Karl Barth and American Mennonites on Refusing National Oaths”, Mennonite Quarterly Review 76/4 (October 2002).


Virginia Dunn is the McDonald Centre’s Administrator and can be reached via email.


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