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Professor in the Department of Theology and ReligionEtchells House 8b+44 (0) 191 33 43181
Professor in Theology and Ministry in the Common Awards Team 0191 33 43181


New book: The Life of Christian Doctrine (Bloomsbury, 2020)

In 1991, at the beginning of the third year of my undergraduate degree, I made a last-minute decision to switch from maths to theology – and I haven’t looked back since. I started my first teaching job in 1999 in Exeter’s Department of Lifelong Learning, overseeing evening classes in theology all over the South West from Truro to Yeovil, and developing distance learning courses. In 2005 I moved over to the Department of Theology, where I taught modern Christian theology and the history of Christian doctrine, and became became Head of Department in 2006. In 2010, I took up a three-year secondment to the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, to develop research programmes bringing together scholars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and helping develop associated public education projects.

My post in Durham is part of the University's Common Awards partnership with the Church of England. I am responsible for academic input into the University's validation of the Common Awards in Theology, Ministry and Mission offered by the Church in colleges and courses around the country, and for developing collaborative research projects that bring together people from the church and university sectors to discuss the future of theological education.

I am married to Hester, a historian of science who now works as a copy editor and proof reader, and have two children, Bridget and Tom.

Research interests

  • Christian doctrine
  • Postliberal theology
  • Christology
  • Anglican theology
  • Theology of higher education

Applied Grants

  • 2013: Doctrine after Christendom: The Public Impact of Research in Christian Doctrine (AHRC Networking Grant, PI, £30,000)
  • 2012: Educating for Peace, Engaging the Faiths (Polonsky Foundation, Co-I, £500,000)
  • 2012: Inter-faith Dialogue in the Community (HEIF 5, PI, £22,000)
  • 2011: Online Inter-faith Dialogue Platform (RCUK Digital Economy, PI, £290,000)
  • 2011: Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Theology and the Sciences at the University of Cambridge: Planning Grant (TWCF, Co-I, £40,000)
  • 2011: Religion and the Idea of a Research University (TWCF, Co-I, £500,000)
  • 2006: Exploring Formation for Ministry in a Learning Church (St Luke's College Foundation, PI, £93,000)


Authored book

  • Higton, Mike (2007). Deliver Us: Exploring the Problem of Evil. Norwich: Canterbury Press.
  • Higton, Mike (2004). Christ, Providence, and History: Hans W. Frei's Public Theology. London: T & T Clark.
  • Higton, Mike (2012). A Theology of Higher Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Higton, Mike (2004). Difficult Gospel: The Theology of Rowan Williams. London: SCM Press.
  • Higton, Mike & Muers, Rachel (2012). The Text in Play: Experiments in Reading Scripture. Cascade Books.
  • Muers, Rachel & Higton, Mike (2012). Modern Theology: A Critical Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Higton, Mike (2020). The Life of Christian Doctrine. Bloomsbury.
  • Higton, Mike (2006). Vulnerable Learning: Thinking Theologically about Higher Education. Cambridge: Grove Books.

Chapter in book

  • Higton, Mike (2013). Foreword. In The identity of Jesus Christ: the hermeneutical bases of dogmatic theology / by Hans W. Frei. Bowald, Mark Cascade Books (Wipf and Stock Publishers). xix-xxi.
  • Higton, Mike (2016). Marriage, Gender, and Doctrine. In Thinking Again about Marriage. Bradbury, John & Cornwall, Susannah London: SCM Press. 14-28.
  • Higton, Mike (2013). For It’s Own Sake, For God’s Sake: Wisdom and Delight in the University. In The Vocation of Theology Today: A Festschrift for David Ford. Tom Greggs, Rachel Muers & Simeon Zahl Cascade. 289–302.
  • Higton, Mike & Ford, David (2015). Religious Literacy in the Context of Theology and Religious Studies. In Religious Literacy in Policy and Practice. Dinham, Adam & Francis, Matthew Bristol: Policy Press. 39-54.
  • Higton, Mike (2018). Rowan Williams. In The Oxford Handbook of Ecclesiology. Avis, Paul Oxford: Oxford University Press. 505-523.
  • Higton, Mike (2015). Reason. In The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Higton, Mike & Fodor, Jim London: Routledge. 9-22.
  • Higton, Mike (2010). Adoptionism, Anhypostasia, Communicatio idiomatum, Hans Frei, Homoousios, Hypostatic Union, Hypostasis, Incarnation, and Neo-Chalcedonianism. In The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Ian A. McFarland, David A. S. Fergusson & Karen Kilby Cambridge University Press.
  • Higton, Mike (2016). Faithful Improvisation or Talent Management? A Conversation Between the FAOC Report and the Green Report. In Faithful Improvisation? Theological Reflections on Church Leadership. Higton, Mike & Alexander, Loveday Church House.
  • Higton, Mike (2015). Tradition. In The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Higton, Mike & Fodor, Jim London: Routledge. 193-202.
  • Higton, Mike (2016). Christian Doctrine and the Discipline of Reading Scripture. In Theologians on Scripture. Paddison, Angus London: Bloomsbury / T&T Clark. 93-104.
  • Higton, Mike (2003). English Popular Culture, Modern. In Jesus in History, Culture and Thought: An Encyclopedia. Houlden, Leslie ABC-Clio. 1 (A-J): 240-244.
  • Higton, Mike (2006). Hans Frei. In Christian Theologies of Scripture. Holcomb, Justin S. New York Univ Pr. 220 - 239.
  • Higton, Mike (2004). The Fulfilment of History in Barth, Frei, Auerbach and Dante. In Conversing with Barth. McDowell, John & Higton, Mike Ashgate. 120-141.
  • Higton, Mike (2018). 'Hans Frei, George Lindbeck and the Objectivity of Scripture'. In Essays on the Theology of Hans Frei. Hunsinger, George Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Higton, Mike (2013). The Theology of Tim Gorringe. In Theology and Human Flourishing: Essays in Honour of Timothy J. Gorringe. Higton, Mike, Rowland, Christopher & Law, Jeremy Wipf and Stock. 1-15.

Edited book

  • McDowell, John C. & Higton, Mike (2004). Conversing with Barth. Barth studies. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Ford, David & Higton, Mike (2002). Jesus. Oxford readers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Higton, Mike, Law, Jeremy & Rowland, Christopher (2011). Theology and Human Flourishing: Essays in Honor of Timothy J. Gorringe. Cascade Books.
  • Higton, Mike & Alexander, Loveday (2016). Faithful Improvisation? Theological Reflections on Church Leadership. Church House.
  • Higton, Mike & Fodor, Jim (2015). The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Routledge Companions. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Higton, Mike & Bowald, Mark Alan (2016). Hans Frei: Reading Faithfully: Writings from the Archives, 2: Frei's Theological Background. Wipf and Stock / Cascade.

Journal Article

  • Higton, Mike (1997). Frei's Christology and Lindbeck's Cultural-Linguistic Theory. Scottish Journal of Theology 50(1): 83-95.
  • Higton, Mike (2003). Boldness and Reserve: A Lesson from St Augustine. Anglican Theological Review 85(3): 447 - 456.
  • Higton, Mike (2005). Can the University and the Church Save Each Other? Cross Currents 55(2): 172 - 183.
  • Higton, Mike, Kilby, Karen & Murray, Paul (2020). Introduction [to Special Issue: Receiving the Gift: Ecumenical Theological Engagements with John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift]. International Journal of Systematic Theology 22(1): 3.
  • Higton, Mike (2005). Read Mark and Learn. Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 5(3).
  • Higton, Mike (1999). "A Carefully Circumscribed Progressive Politics": Hans Frei's Political Theology. Modern Theology 15(1): 55 - 83.
  • Higton, Mike (2015). George Lindbeck and the Christological Nature of Doctrine. Criswell Theological Review 13(1): 47-61.
  • Higton, Mike (2008). Rowan Williams and Sharia: Defending the Secular. International Journal of Public Theology 2(4): 400 - 417.
  • Higton, M.A. (2017). Teaching and Witness in the Life of the Church. Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal 1.2: 6-20.
  • Higton, Mike (2007). The Spirituality of Further Education. Journal of Chaplaincy in Further Education 3.
  • Higton, Mike (2015). Apophaticism Transformed. Modern Theology 31(3): 511-516.
  • Higton, Mike (2014). Reconstructing The Nature of Doctrine. Modern Theology 30(1): 1-31.
  • Higton, Mike (2013). The Irrepressibility of Scripture: Psalm 1 Between Jews and Christians. Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 7(1).
  • Higton, Mike & Holmes, Stephen R. (2002). Meeting Scotus: On Scholasticism and its Ghosts. International Journal of Systematic Theology 4(1): 67 - 81.
  • Higton, Mike (2002). An American Theologian of History: Hans W. Frei in 1956. Anglican and Episcopal History 71(1): 61-84.
  • Higton, Mike (2013). Theological Education between the University and the Church: Durham University and the Common Awards in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Journal of Adult Theological Education 10(1): 25-37.
  • Higton, Mike (1999). Hans Frei and David Tracy on the Ordinary and the Extraordinary in Christianity. Journal of Religion 79(4): 566-591.
  • Higton, M.A. (2017). Discovering Virtue: How to be Good in Higher Education. Occasional Papers on Faith in Higher Education (3): 17-31.
  • Higton, Mike (2013). Scriptural Reasoning and the Discipline of Christian Doctrine. Modern Theology 29(4): 120-137.
  • Higton, Mike (2002). The Research Assessment Exercise as Sin. Critical Quarterly 44(4): 40-45.
  • Higton, Mike (2009). Criticism, Obedience and Exile: Theological Education as Religious and Secular. Theology 112(869): 323 - 332.
  • Higton, Mike (2015). A Response to Mark Randall James. Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 14(1): 1-4.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Higton, Mike (2016). Jesus: The How of God. Church Times (26 February 2017): 18-19.


  • Higton, Mike (2011). Towards a Church of England Vision for Higher Education. Church of England, Archbishops’ Council, Education Division.

Supervision students