Prof Alan Torrance

Prof Alan Torrance

Emeritus Professor

Researcher profile





Alan Torrance is professor of systematic theology and director of the Logos Institute for Analytic and Exegetical Theology which he founded, together with his son, Dr Andrew Torrance, in 2015. Prior to his appointment in St Andrews, he was Senior Lecturer in theology in King’s College London where he was also Director of the Research Institute for Systematic Theology. Prior to that he taught in the universities of Otago, Aberdeen and Erlangen-Nuremberg. He holds honours degrees in both philosophy and theology and received his doctorate, summa cum laude (1,0), from the university of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

He is also an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland.

Postgraduate Supervision.

Since coming to St Andrews, a priority has been the supervision of doctoral students. Such has been their quality that of the 30 doctoral students he has supervised, all have passed with flying colours with only one of these being asked to make minor changes. 20 of his students have had their doctoral research published as monographs. Those who proceeded to teaching and research positions include Murray Rae, Julie Canlis (whose thesis won a Templeton award and was runner-up for the CT ‘theological book of the year award’), Bruce Baker, Marc Cortez, Kevin Diller, Ross Hastings, Keith Hyde, Andrew (Dru) Johnson, Jonathan Lett, Stephanie Mar Smith, Christa McKirland, Ryan Mullins, Cherith Fee Nordling, Jonathan Rutledge, Luke Tallon, Robyn Wrigley-Carr…

Endowed Lectures.

Named lecture series he has given include the Hensley Henson Lectures (University of Oxford), the Didsbury Lectures (Manchester), the Lang Lectures (LST), the Grider Winget Lectures (NTS, Kansas City), the Frumentius Lectures (EGST, Ethiopia), the Synod of Otago 150th Anniversary lectures (Southland, New Zealand).


Over the last 15 years, he has participated in eight international research groups which with other leading theologians and philosophical theologians engaging topics such as Faith and Reason (Princeton – with Colin Gunton, Robert Jenson, Janet Soskice, David Bentley Hart, Charles Taylor et al), Forgiveness and Politics (with Miroslav Volf, Daniel Philpott, Nicholas Wolterstorff), Theology and the Built Environment (Jeremy Begbie, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Murray Rae), Theology and Music (Sarah Coakley, David Ford, Jeremy Begbie, Richard Hayes and the composer James Macmillan) and several research groups engaging with neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers on the nature of the person (Malcolm Jeeves, Dave Myers, Richard Byrne, Andrew Whiten, Tim O’Connor). Several of his published articles have resulted from these research collaborations.

In addition solo-authored volumes, several edited volumes, the translation from German of a book by Eberhard Juengel, Professor Torrance is presently co-authoring (with Dr Andrew Torrance) a book on Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth to be published by Eerdmans. This is to be followed by a further monograph on the Priesthood of Christ based on his Grider Winget Lectures and his Frumentius Lectures.

Theology and the Arts.

A former professional violinist (with a performer’s ARCM from the Royal College of Music) he played and recorded with professional orchestras and ensembles - and Bing Crosby! More pertinently, he has collaborated on multiple projects with Professor Jeremy Begbie, now of Duke University. On being appointed to St Andrews, he persuaded Jeremy Begbie to transfer his major project, Theology through the Arts, from Cambridge University to St Andrews which resulted in the establishment of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts.

The Logos Institute.

His major project over the last four years has been the creation of the Logos Institute for Analytic and Exegetical Theology. In addition to the large numbers of doctoral and masters students in the institute, it now has three research fellows, two lecturers and a newly appointed professor (Oliver Crisp) in addition to fractional professors (C Stephen Evans, Peter van Inwagen, Michael Rea and Tom McCall) that have been key to its work and teaching.

Full details of its activities can be found on its main and associated websites as these relate to Logia, the podcasts, blog, seminars and international lectures and major conferences.

Administrative responsibilities.

He has been Director of Teaching on three occasions and Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Most significantly, he was nominated by the University of St Andrews then assessed, trained and appointed by the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency to carry out academic audits of UK universities assessing their standards and educational systems.


The undergraduate, honours and masters courses he has taught since coming to St Andrews include:

  1. Theology: Issues and History;
  2. Christian Ethics;
  3. Doctrine of Salvation;
  4. Theological Anthropology;
  5. The Theology of Søren Kierkegaard;
  6. The Theology of Karl Barth;
  7. Issues in Theological Method;
  8. Reconciliation: Divine and Human;
  9. Analytic Theology: God, History, and Revelation;
  10. Persons: Divine and Human. 

Grants Received

1998-99        Fully funded Senior Research Fellowship, Erasmus Institute, University of Notre Dame.

2003-2013    Four Templeton-funded research groups working on the nature and origins of the human person.

2007-2010    £65,300 to launch, with Professor Eric Priest, the James Gregory Lectures on God and Science.

2016–2020   £1,584,754 from the Templeton Religion Trust to set up the Logos Institute for Analytic and Exegetical Theology.

Research areas

Doctrine of God, Trinity, christology, theological anthropology, reconciliation and forgiveness, theological epistemology. The place of exegesis in analytic theology.

Selected publications


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