Conversion to Orthodoxy – prof. Richard Swinburne – the University of Oxford

newcrest903Richard Swinburne – short intellectual autobiography

I began my academic life at the University of Oxford, with undergraduate (1954-7) and graduate (1957-9)  degrees in philosophy and then a diploma in theology (1959-60). During my period as an undergraduate I developed my abiding interest in all the central problems of philosophy, and especially in the issue of whether there is adequate justification for belief in God, and more particularily in the doctrines of the Christian religion. (I have been a Christian all my life, and a member of the Orthodox church since 1995.) I saw the achievments of the sciences as central to the modern world-view ; and so (financed by two research fellowships – a Fereday Fellowship at St John’s College, Oxford, and a Leverhulme Fellowship in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Leeds) I devoted the next three  years to learning much about the history of the physical and biological sciences and beginning to philosophise about them. In 1963 I became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Hull.   Almost all my work for the next nine years was concerned with the philosophy of science. My first book Space and Time was published in 1968 and sought to give an account of the nature of space and time in the light of the detailed achievements of Relativity theory and cosmology. My next large-scale book An Introduction to Confirmation Theory was concerned with the formalisation by the calculus of probability, of what is evidence for what.  My move to be Professor of Philosophy at the University of Keele in 1972 coincided with a shift of academic focus to the philosophy of religion on which so far I had  published only one small book, The Concept of Miracle (1971).  The next twelve years saw the publication of my trilogy on the philosophy of theismThe Coherence of Theism (1997, revised ed.,1993), The Existence of God (1979, 2nd edition 2004), and Faith & Reason (1981, 2nd edition 2005).  The central work, The Existence of God, sought to reestablish “natural theology”, by providing probabilistic arguments from the general features of the world to the existence of God; and this is the achievment for which I am best known. My work in the early 1980’s on the relation of mind and body saw published form first in Personal Identity (co-authored with Sydney Shoemaker, 1984); and more fully in The Evolution of the Soul (1986, revised ed., 1997).I argued in these books that each human on earth consists of two separate parts, body and soul.  In 1985 I became Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of Christian Religion at the University of Oxford. For the next eighteen years my work was  focused on the meaning and justification of the doctrines which distinguish Christianity from other religions, and this work saw published form in four books-  Responsibility and Atonement, (1989), Revelation (1992; 2nd ed, 2007), The Christian God (1994), and Providence and the Problem of Evil (1998).  Epistemic Justification, an examination of what constitutes the justification of a belief (and what constitutes knowledge) was published in 2001. The Resurrection of God Incarnate, an examination with the aid of all my past work on what is evidence for what, of the evidence for the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, was published in 2003. As the Resurrection of Jesus provides a substantial ground for believing many of the detailed claims of Christian doctrine this was a necessary final piece of my apologetic programme. Since my retirement from the Nolloth Professorship in 2002, much of my work has been devoted to producing 2nd editions (largely rewritten and updated) of previous works – The Existence of God (2004), Faith & Reason (2005), and Revelation (2007). I have also written two short ‘popular’ books summarising my work on the philosophy of religion –Is there a God? (1996), and Was Jesus God? (2008). For the next five years I worked again on the issue of the relation of mind and body, and worked also on the connected issue of whether humans have free will and the relevance to it of recent neuroscience. This work resulted in a new book Mind, Brain, and Free Will, published in 2013. Since then I have been working mainly on a 2nd edition (largely rewritten and updated) of The Coherence of Theism; which will be published in 2016. This book seeks to produce a coherent account of what ‘There is a God’ means (and so examines what it is for a being to be omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good etc.), which is a prolegomenon to my arguments in favour of the existence of God. I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1993.Over many years I have held visiting professorships at American and other overseas universities, and lectured extensively for shorter periods in very many different countries. In  2015  I was awarded an  Honorary Doctorate by the Catholic Universitty of Lublin.

Visiting Professorships and Named Special  Lectureships
1969-70 Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland.

1975-78 Wilde Lecturer in Natural and Comparative Religion, University of Oxford.
1977 Forwood Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Religion, University of Liverpool.
1980 Marrett Memorial Lecturer, Exeter College, Oxford.
1981 Special Lecturer (in Theology), University of London.
1982 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, University of Adelaide.
1983 Theology ‘Faculty’ Lecturer, University College, Cardiff.
1982-84 Gifford Lecturer, University of Aberdeen.
1987 Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Syracuse University, Spring Semester.
1987 Edward Cadbury Lecturer, University of Birmingham.
1990 Wade Memorial Lecturer, St Louis University.
1992 Indian Council for Philosophical Research, visiting Lecturer.
1992 Dotterer Lecturer, Penn State University.
1997 Aquinas Lecturer, Marquette University.
2002 (March )Visiting Professor of Philosophy, University of Rome (La Sapienza).

2002 (November) Visiting Professor of Philosophy (Kaminsky Lecturer), Catholic University of Lublin.

2003 (Spring Semester) Visiting Professor, Divinity School, Yale University.

2003(Fall Semester) Visiting (Collins) Professor of Philosophy, St Louis University.

2006 Paul Holmer Lecturer, University of Minnesota

2008 Lawson Lecturer, Stetson University

2009  Forwood Lecturer , University of  Liverpool

2013 Sophia /Forum  Lecturer,, Azusa Paciific Uniiverslty,

2014 Gilbert  Ryle  Ledturer,, Trent University  (Ontario).

(For a Spanish translation of my Intellectual Autobiography see

(For a Belarussian translation seeкароткая-аўтабіяграфія-інтэлект)

(For a Slovak translation see


thanks for Piotr B.