Nigel Biggar

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

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 ethics of nationalism and empire; the ethics of individual rights and of jurisprudence about them; ‘just war’ reasoning; the principle of double effect and the ethics of killing; the concept of proportionality; the moral vocation of universities; and the relationship between (Christian) religious concepts and moral life.

His publications include:

  • Between Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the Nation. Wipf & Stock; James Clarke, 2014.
  • In Defence of War. Oxford University Press, 2013, 2014.
  • Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics. Eerdmans, 2011.
  • (co-editor 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.
  • “Right to Fight”, Scottish Review, January 2015 
  • “Why Christianity benefits secular public discourse, and why, therefore, Anglican bishops should sit in a reformed House of Lords”, Theology, September 2014
  • “Review Essay: Doug Gay, Honey from the Lion: Christianity and the Ethics of Nationalism”, Scottish Journal of Theology, 67/3 (2014)
  • “Independence Will Do Nothing for Scots”, Standpoint, May 2014
  • “Why Religion Deserves a Place in Secular Medicine”, Journal of Medical Ethics, 40/6 (June 2014)
  • “Individual Rights versus Common Security? Christian Moral Reasoning about Torture”, Studies in Christian Ethics, 27/1 (2014)
  • “Christian ‘Just War’ Reasoning and Two Cases of Rebellion: Ireland, 1916-21, and Syria, 2011-present”, Ethics and International Affairs, 27/4 (Winter 2013)

McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow

James Orr PhotoJames Orr, McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow, Christ Church, Oxford

Dr Orr holds a PhD and MPhil in Philosophical Theology from St. John’s College, Cambridge, and a BA in Classics from Balliol College, Oxford

His research ranges across topics and thinkers in continental and analytic philosophy of religion.  On the continental side, he has attempted to retrieve occluded theological critiques of secular currents in the early phenomenological and existentialist movements.  On the analytic side, his doctoral research focused on problems in analytic philosophy over construing regularities in the physical world as ‘laws of nature’ before developing a constructive argument for the theoretical and metatheoretical advantages of doing so within a theistic metaphysical framework.  His current research focuses on the problem of legal pluralism, the nature of intrinsic value, and intergenerational justice.  

James is Director of Trinity Forum Oxford and Trinity Forum Cambridge, organisations that host events focusing on questions at the intersection of faith, culture, ethics, and public life.  Recent guest-speakers include Eamon Duffy, Malcolm Guite, Roger Scruton, and Rowan Williams.  He is a Visiting Lecturer at St. Paul’s Theological Centre and St. Mellitus College in London.

Before entering academic life, James trained and worked in corporate finance law at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (including a three-month secondment as a commercial legal adviser to IBM) and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

Recent publications include:

  • ‘The Fullness of Life: Death, Finitude, and Life-Philosophy in Edith Stein’s Critique of the Early Heidegger,’ Heythrop Journal 55 (2014), 565-75
  • ‘Being and Timelessness: Edith Stein’s Theological Critique of Heideggerian Temporality,’ Modern Theology 30 (2014), 114-31
  • ‘Heidegger’s Critique of Aquinas on Truth: A Critical Assessment,’ New Blackfriars 95 (2014), 43-56
  • ‘Edith Stein’s Critique of Sociality in the Early Heidegger,’ Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 55/3 (2013), 379-96
  • Review of Stephen Bullivant and Michael Ruse (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), Religious Studies (forthcoming, 2015)
  • Review of James Mumford, Ethics at the Beginning of Life: A Phenomenological Critique (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), Modern Theology (forthcoming, 2015)
  • Review of Anthony Meredith S.J., Christian Philosophy in the Early Church (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2012), Heythrop Journal 55(5) (forthcoming, 2015) (invited)
  • Review of Russell Re Manning (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), Expository Times 125 (2014), 333-55 (invited)
  • Review of Oswald Bayer, “A Contemporary in Dissent”: Johann Georg Hamann as a Radical Enlightener (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), Modern Theology 29(1) (2013), 187-189 (invited)

McDonald-Templeton Postdoctoral Fellow

Michael Lamb - PhotoMichael Lamb, McDonald-Templeton Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Fellow, Harris Manchester

Michael holds a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University, a B.A. in Political Science from Rhodes College, and a second B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

His research focuses on the ethics of citizenship, the relationship between religion and politics, and the role of virtues in public life. His interdisciplinary dissertation, A Commonwealth of Hope: Virtue, Rhetoric, and Religion in Augustine’s Political Thought, offers the first extended analysis of Augustine’s virtue of hope and recovers resources from Augustine to inform contemporary political theory and practice. His broader interests include ancient and modern political thought, religion and politics, democratic theory, ethics and public policy, politics and literature, virtue ethics, and environmental ethics.

In addition to studying political theory, Michael also has practical experience in American politics. He has served as chief of staff for campaigns for state senate, Governor, and U.S. Congress in his home state of Tennessee. With experience leading campaigns, teaching courses on ethics and public policy, and advising colleges on civic engagement, Michael is currently working to help launch the Oxford Character Project, which aims to help postgraduate and professional students in various fields — including government, law, medicine, business, engineering, and academia — think about the role of moral leadership in their professions.

Recent publications include:

  • ‘Aristotle on the Ethics of Communicating Climate Change,’ with Melissa Lane, in Clare Heyward and Dominic Roser, eds. Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)
  • ‘A Passion and Its Virtue: Aquinas on Hope and Magnanimity,’ in Marlene Block and Ingolf Dalferth, eds., Hope (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming)


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