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Prof. John B. Webster

John Webster 255w

John Webster joined the University in 2013 as Professor of Divinity.  He was an open scholar at Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied English and Theology and wrote a doctorate on modern German theology.  After teaching at St John’s College, Durham, from 1982-86, he spent ten years as Professor of Systematic Theology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.  In 1996 he returned to the UK as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church at the University of Oxford, from where he moved in 2003 to the University of Aberdeen as Professor of Systematic Theology.  Professor Webster was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005.

 He has lectured widely in Britain and overseas, and served on a number of academic and ecclesiastical boards and commissions.  He is a founding editor of the International Journal of Systematic Theology, and holds a number of other editorial and advisory posts, as series editor for Studies in Systematic Theology (T&T Clark), and for Great Theologians and Barth Studies (Ashgate), and as a member of the editorial board for Scottish Journal of Theology, Scottish Journal of Theology Monographs, Journal of Reformed Theology, Studies in Theological Interpretation (Baker Academic) and New Studies in Dogmatics (Zondervan Academic).  He is a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College, and a Fellow of the Center for Scriptural Exegesis, Philosophy and Doctrine at the University of Dayton.


Research Interests

Professor Webster has extensive research interests in systematic, moral and historical theology.  He has published widely on modern German Protestant theology.  He introduced the work of the Lutheran systematic and philosophical theologian Jüngel to English-language readers, publishing a monograph about him and translating a number of his works.  He has written extensively on the thought of Karl Barth, and has a particular interest in the place of ethics in Barth’s dogmatic theology, and in Barth’s early writings on historical and doctrinal topics.  More recently, he has engaged extensively with the work of Thomas Aquinas and with post-Reformation Protestant scholasticism.

He has an interest in questions of the nature and interpretation of Scripture.  Written work on these matters includes Holy Scripture (2003) and The Domain of the Word (2012).  He is preparing a theological commentary on Ephesians.

He has published on many doctrinal topics: Trinity, the divine attributes, the person and work of Christ, anthropology and ecclesiology.  In current writing he is exploring aspects of the doctrines of creation and providence.  In ethics, he has written on principles of moral theology and the theology of the emotions.

He has a long-standing interest in questions of the nature and ends of theology, including such matters as the nature of theological knowledge, divine revelation, the place of theology in the university, the shape of the theological curriculum, the place of systems in theological thought, and the relation of theology to contemplative and ascetical practice.

Current writing includes books on creation and providence, and on divine perfection.  His larger project is a five-volume systematic theology.

Professor Webster has supervised many doctoral dissertations in his field, and welcomes enquiries from prospective students in any of his areas of interest.


Select Publications


Eberhard Jüngel.  An Introduction to his Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986; second edition, 1991)

(translated with an introduction) Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989; second edition as Theological Essays I, 1998)

(ed.) The Possibilities of Theology.  Studies in the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel in his 60th Year (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994)

(translated with an introduction) Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays II (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995)

Barth's Ethics of Reconciliation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Barth's Moral Theology.  Human Action in Barth's Thought (Edinburgh: T&T Clark; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998)

(ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)

(ed., with G.P. Schner) Theology after Liberalism.  A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000)

Barth (London and New York: Continuum, 2000; second edition 2004)

(translated with an introduction) Eberhard Jüngel, God's Being is in Becoming.  The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001)

Word and Church.  Essays in Christian Dogmatics (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001)

Holiness (London: SCM Press, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003)

Holy Scripture.  A Dogmatic Sketch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Barth’s Earlier Theology (London: T&T Clark International, 2005)

Confessing God.  Essays in Christian Dogmatics II (London: T&T Clark International, 2005)

(ed., with K. Tanner, I. Torrance) The Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

The Domain of the Word.  Scripture and Theological Reason (London: T&T Clark, 2012)

God Without Measure.  Working Papers in Christian Theology.  Volume 1.  God and the Works of God (London: T&T Clark, 2015)

God Without Measure.  Working Papers in Christian Theology.  Volume 2.  Virtue and Intellect (London: T&T Clark, 2015).


Selected chapters and articles since 2003


‘A Great and Meritorious Act of the Church?  The Dogmatic Location of the Canon’, in J. Barton, M. Wolter, ed., Die Einheit der Schrift und die Vielfalt des Kanons/The Unity of Scripture and the Diversity of the Canon (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003), pp. 95-126

‘The Ethics of Reconciliation’, in C. Gunton, ed., The Theology of Reconciliation (London: T&T Clark, 2003), pp. 109-124

‘The human person’, in K. Vanhoozer, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 219-34

‘Reading Eschatologically (1)’, in D. Ford, G. Stanton, ed., Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom.  Scripture and Theology (London: SCM Press, 2003), pp. 245-56

‘Incarnation’, in G. Jones, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 204-226

‘The Goals of Ecumenism’, in P. Avis, ed., Paths to Unity.  Explorations in Ecumenical Method (London: Church House Publishing, 2004), pp. 1-12

‘Balthasar and Karl Barth’, in D. Moss, E. Oakes, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 241-55

‘The Holiness and Love of God’, Scottish Journal of Theology 57 (2004), pp. 249-68

‘On Evangelical Ecclesiology’, Ecclesiology 1 (2004), pp. 9-35

‘“There is no past in the Church, so there is no past in theology”: Barth and the History of Modern Protestant Theology’, in J.C. McDowell, M Higton, ed., Conversing with Barth (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 14-39

‘The Immensity and Ubiquity of God’, in I.U. Dalferth, J. Fischer, H.-P. Großhans, eds., Denkwürdiges Geheimnis.  Beiträge zur Gotteslehre.  Festschrift für Eberhard Jüngel zum 70. Geburtstag (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004), pp. 539-556

‘Biblical Theology and the Clarity of Scripture’, in C. Bartholomew et al, ed., Out of Egypt.  Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004), pp. 352-84

‘Versöhnung V.  Theologiegeschichtlich’, ‘Wunder VII. Dogmatisch’, in Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart.  Handwörterbuch für Theologie und Religionswissenschaft, 4th ed., vol.8 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), cols. 1055-9, 1727-9

‘Systematic Theology after Barth: Jüngel, Jenson and Gunton’, in D. Ford, ed., The Modern Theologians.  An Introduction to Christian Theology since 1918 (3rd edition; Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), pp. 249-64

‘Hope’, in G. Meilaender, W. Werpehowski, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 291-306

‘Prolegomena to Christology’, in S. Holmes, M. Rae, ed., The Person of Christ (London: T&T Clark, 2005), pp. 19-36

‘Barth and the Reformed Confessions’, Zeitschrift für dialektische Theologie 20 (2005), pp. 6-33

‘God’s Perfect Life’, in M. Volf, M. Welker, ed., God’s Life in Trinity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006), pp. 143-52

Principles of Christian Theology’, in R. Morgan, ed., In Search of Humanity and Deity.  A Celebration of John Macquarrie’s Theology (London: SCM, 2006), pp. 83-92

‘God and Conscience’, in A.J. Torrance, M. Banner, ed., The Doctrine of God and Theological Ethics (London: T&T Clark, 2006), pp. 147-65

‘Karl Barth’s lectures on the Gospel of John’, in P.J. McCosker, ed., What Is It that the Scripture Says?  Essays in Biblical Interpretation, Translation and Reception in Honour of Henry Wansborough OSB (London: T&T Clark, 2006), pp. 211-230

‘Resurrection and Scripture’, in A. Lincoln, A. Paddison, ed., Christology and Scripture.  Interdisciplinary Perspectives (London: T&T Clark, 2007), pp. 138-55

Wie Geschöpfe leben: some dogmatic reflections’, Studies in Christian Ethics 20 (2007), pp. 273-85

‘The Dignity of Creatures’, in P. Middleton, ed., The Love of God and Human Dignity.  Essays in Honour of George M. Newlands (London: T&T Clark, 2007), pp. 19-33

‘Pureté et plenitude: réflexions protestantes sur “La tradition et les Traditions” de Congar’, in G. Flynn, ed., Yves Congar.  Théologien de l’Église (Paris: Cerf, 2007), pp. 43-63

‘God’s Aseity’, in A. Moore, M. Scott, ed., Realism and Religion.  Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 147-62

Ut Unum Sint: Some Cross-bench Anglican Reflections’, in F.A. Murphy, C. Asprey, ed., Ecumenism Today.  The Universal Church in the 21st Century (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 29-43

‘Biblical Reasoning’, Anglican Theological Review 90 (2008), pp. 733-51

‘Rowan Williams on Scripture’, in M. Bockmuehl, A. Torrance, ed., Scripture’s Doctrine and Theology’s Bible.  How the New Testament Shapes Christian Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), pp. 105-23

‘Principles of Systematic Theology’, International Journal of Systematic Theology 11 (2009), pp. 56-71

Rector et iudex super omnia genera doctrinarum? The place of the doctrine of justification’, in M. Weinrich, J. P. Burgess, ed., What is Justification About?  Reformed Contributions to an Ecumenical Theme (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), pp. 35-56

‘One Who Is Son: Theological Reflections on the Exordium To the Epistle to the Hebrews’, in R.J. Bauckham et al, ed., The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), pp. 69-94

‘On the Theology of Providence’, in F.A. Murphy, P. Ziegler, ed., The Providence of God (London: T&T Clark, 2009), pp. 158-75

‘Trinity and Creation’, International Journal of Systematic Theology 12 (2010), pp. 4-19

‘“Where Christ Is”: Christology and Ethics’, in F.L. Shults, B. Waters, ed., Christology and Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), pp. 32-55

‘“It was the will of the Lord to bruise him”: soteriology and the doctrine of God’, in I. Davidson, M. Rae, ed., God of Salvation: Soteriology in Theological Perspective (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 15-34

‘Perfection and Participation’, in T.J. White, ed., The Analogy of Being.  Invention of the Antichrist or the Wisdom of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), pp. 379-94

Regina artium: Theology and the Humanities’, in C.C. Brittain, F.A. Murphy, ed., Theology, University, Humanities.  Initium Sapientiae Timor Dei (Eugene: Cascade, 2011), pp. 39-63

Ressourcement Theology and Protestantism’, in G. Flynn, ed., Ressourcement Theology (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 482-94

‘Illumination’, Journal of Reformed Theology 5 (2011), pp. 324-339

‘“In the Society of God”: Some Principles of Ecclesiology’, in P. Ward, ed., Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 200-22

‘Curiosity’, in M. Higton et al, ed., Theology and Human Flourishing.  Essays in Honour of Timothy J. Gorringe (Eugene: Cascade, 2011), pp. 212-23

‘Providence’, in K. Kapic, B. McCormack, ed., Mapping Modern Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), pp. 203-26

‘T.F. Torrance on Scripture’, Scottish Journal of Theology 65 (2012), pp. 34-63

‘Courage’, in M. Barnes, ed., A Man of the Church: Honoring the Theology, Life, and Witness of Ralph Del Colle (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2012), pp. 40-55

Sub ratione Dei.  Zum Verhältnis von Theologie und Universität’, Communio.  Internationale Katholische Zeitschrift 42 (2013), pp. 151-69

‘On the theology of the intellectual life’, in R. Lundin, ed., Christ Across the Disciplines.  Past, Present and Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), pp. 100-16

‘“Love is also a lover of life”: creatio ex nihilo and creaturely goodness’, Modern   Theology 29 (2013), pp. 156-71

‘Communion with Christ: Mortification and Vivification’, in K. Eilers, K. Strobel, ed.,      Sanctified By Grace.  A Theology of the Christian Life (London: T&T Clark, 2014), pp. 121-38

‘Holy Scripture’, in R. Clements, D. Ngien, ed., Between the Lectern and the Pulpit.  Essays in Honour of Victor A. Shepherd (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2014), pp. 173-81

‘Thomas Forsyth Torrance, 1913-2007’, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the   British Academy 13 (2014), pp. 417-36

‘Non ex aequo: God’s relation to creatures’ in A. Moore, A. Clarke, ed., Within the Love of God.  Essays on the Doctrine of God in Dialogue with Paul Fiddes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 95-107

‘God, Theology, Universities’, in D. Nelson, ed., Indicative of Grace – Imperative of Freedom.  Essays in Honour of Eberhard Jüngel in his Eightieth Year (London: T&T Clark, 2014), pp. 241-54

‘Dolent gaudentque: Sorrow in the Christian Life’, in R. Song, B. Waters, ed., The Authority of the Gospel: Explorations in Moral and Political Theology in Honour of Oliver O'Donovan (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), pp. 250-67

‘Sins of Speech’, Studies in Christian Ethics 28 (2015), pp. 35-48

‘What Makes Theology Theological?’ Journal of Analytic Theology 3 (2015), pp. 17-28.

‘ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι.  On the inspiration of Holy Scripture’, in J. G. McConville, L. K. Pietersen, ed., Conception, Reception and the Spirit: Essays in Honor of Andrew T. Lincoln (Eugene: Cascade, 2015), pp. 236-50.


Contact details

Prof. John B. Webster DD FRSE

St Mary's College 
The School of Divinity 
University of St Andrews 
South Street 
St Andrews 
Fife KY16 9JU 
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)1334 462864
Fax: + 44 (0)1334 462852