Professor Emeritus, Christian Ethics and Practical Theology
The University of Edinburgh
Oliver O’Donovan, born in 1945 in London and educated in London, at Oxford and Princeton, was ordained an Anglican priest in Oxford in 1973. He held teaching posts at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford (1972) and Wycliffe College, Toronto (1977), before becoming Regius Professor of Moral & Pastoral Theology at Oxford and Canon of Christ Church (1982), and later Professor of Christian Ethics & Practical Theology at Edinburgh (2006-2012).
His major writings on Ethics and Political Theology are Resurrection and Moral Order (1986; French: Resurrection et l’Expérience Morale, tr. J.Y. Lacoste, 1992), The Desire of the Nations (1996), The Ways of Judgment (2005) and most recently (2013-7), the three volumes of Ethics as Theology (Self, World and Time, Finding and Seeking and Entering into Rest). Shorter contributions to public moral debates include Begotten or Made? (1984), Peace and Certainty (1989), The Just War Revisited (2003) and A Conversation Waiting to Begin (2009). On the history of Western thought he has written The Problem of Self-love in Saint Augustine (1980), On the Thirty-Nine Articles (1986) and From Irenaeus to Grotius (1999), a sourcebook in collaboration with his wife, Joan Lockwood O’Donovan, with whom he also published a collection of interpretative essays, Bonds of Imperfection (2004). A book of Sermons, The Word in Small Boats, appeared in 2010.
He has contributed to commissions and working-parties of the Church of England and is currently a member of its Faith and Order Council. For six years (1985-90), he served as a member of the Second Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission and was a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Gregorian University of Rome in 2001.
He has lectured extensively at universities in Britain, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. He is a past President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics.
Since 2000, he has been a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh since 2009, a Senior Honorary Research Fellow of the Kirby Laing Institute in Cambridge since 2012 and an Honorary Professor of the University of St Andrews since 2013. He became a Provincial Canon and Canon Theologian of York in 2015 and chaired the Archbishops’ Review of the Crown Nominations Commission in 2016-17.
The O’Donovans were married in 1978, and have two sons.