Professor Kathryn Tanner to deliver prestigious Gifford Lectures

Kathryn Tanner '79 B.A., '85 Ph.D., professor of systematic theology at Yale Divinity School, will give the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 2015-16.  Tanner joined the YDS faculty in July but is on leave of absence during the current academic year as a Luce Fellow.


A proponent of “constructive theology,” Tanner’s research focuses on how Christian thought might be brought to bear on contemporary issues of theological concern using social, cultural and feminist theory.


Regarding her selection to give the lectures, Tanner said, “I am very honored to be invited to give the Gifford Lectures.  It’s an especially great honor given the distinguished character of previous lecturers that include William James, Karl Barth, and Jürgen Moltmann.  My six lectures will be a development of my present project on financial capitalism and Christian belief and practices.”


The lectures began in 1888 and, with the exception of the years during World War II, 1942-1945, have been delivered continuously since that time.  Other luminaries who have given the lectures include philosophers Antony Flew, Hannah Arendt, and A.J. Ayer; linguist Noam Chomsky; and theologians Albert Schweitzer, Stanley Hauerwas, and John Macquarrie.

Tanner served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Divinity School for 15 years, which followed more than a decade of teaching in Yale’s Department of Religious Studies and at Yale Divinity School.

Tanner’s most recent books are Christ the Key (Cambridge, 2010) and Economy of Grace (Fortress, 2005).  Her other books include God and Creation in Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment? (Blackwell, 1988); Politics of God: Christian Theologies and Social Justice (Fortress, 1992); Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology (Fortress, 1997); and Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity (Fortress, 2001).  She is the author of scores of scholarly articles and chapters in books that include The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, which she edited with John Webster and Iain Torrance.

She serves on the editorial boards of Modern Theology, International Journal of Systematic Theology, and Scottish Journal of Theology, and is a former co-editor of the Journal of Religion. Active in many professional societies, she is a past president of the American Theological Society, the oldest theological society in the United States. An Episcopalian, for eight years she has been a member of the Episcopal Church’s Theology Committee, which advises the Episcopal House of Bishops.