Douglas J. Davies

Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion

I am both an anthropologist and theologian with theoretical and practical interests. After an initial degree in Anthropology at Durham I engaged in my first research on Mormonism at the Oxford Institute of Social Anthropology under the supervision of the sociologist Bryan Wilson. I then read a theology degree at Durham and shortly afterwards became Lecturer at Nottingham University where I became Professor of Religious Studies before leaving for Durham in 1997. During that period I engaged in further work on Mormonism, as well as in Sikhism and Anglicanism, and in death rites. I also completed my first doctorate there on the issue of meaning and salvation. In Durham, as Professor in the Study of Religion, I help teach undergraduate modules on the Introduction to the Study of Religion, and Death, Ritual and Belief, and a module for postgraduates on Ritual, Symbolism and Belief in the Anthropology of Religion. Academically speaking, I also hold the degree of D.Litt. from Oxford as well as an Honorary Dr. Theol. from the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

A great deal of my general work has sought to relate issues in theology and social (Anthropology and Theology, Berg, 2002). I then have several other areas of research interest. Special research in Mormonism has resulted in An Introduction to Mormonism, ( CUP. 2003) and The Mormon Culture of Salvation, (Ashgate. 2000) along with other books, chapters and encyclopaedia entries. I have also been a visiting professor at Brigham Young University in Utah. In terms of death Studies I have edited the Encyclopedia of Cremation, (with Lewis Mates: Ashgate, 2005), and also written A Brief History of Death, (Blackwell, 2004), Death, Ritual and Belief, (Revised and expanded edition, Continuum 2002). Extensive empirical research for Reusing Old Graves. (With A. Shaw. 1995) has been influential in relation to issues of burial reform in the UK. In terms of Christian church life I have, for example, joint edited ( with Helen Cameron, Philip Richter and Frances Ward) Studying Local Churches: A Handbook, ( SCM Press, 2005). My Private Passions, (Canterbury Press, 2000) was the Archbishop of Wales’s Lent Book for that year. Church and Religion in Rural England. (With C. Watkins and M. Winter, 1991) involved a major study of the Church of England. Many other papers and book chapters numerous aspects of religious life including, for example, some biblical interests in, ‘Purity, Spirit and Reciprocity in the Acts of the Apostles’, in Anthropology and Biblical Studies, (eds) L.J.Lawrence and M.I. Aguilar, Leiden: Deo Publishing. 2004), and ‘Rebounding Vitality: Resurrection and Spirit in Luke -Acts’. The Bible in Human Society. eds. M.D.Carroll, D.Clines and P. Davies. Sheffield Academic Press,1995.

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