Professor David Clough

Professor of Theological Ethics

My teaching and research focus on theological ethics: the ethical questions provoked by the juxtaposition of the Christian tradition and the world as we find it. Previously, I have worked on Karl Barth’s ethics and Christian pacifism; currently my central concern is the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics.


 01244 511044   



MA (Cantab.), MSt (Oxon.), PhD (Yale)


After completing doctoral studies in the US, I moved to Durham as FD Maurice Postdoctoral Fellow in Christian Ethics at St Chad’s College, Durham, and then taught systematic theology and ethics at St. John’s College. I am currently serving as the President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics, convene the Theological Ethics seminar at the Society for the Study of Theology, and Co-Chair the Animals and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion.

I am a Methodist Local Preacher, a member of the UK Methodist Church Faith and Order Network and the Methodist Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment, and have served on national ecumenical working groups on the ethics of modern warfare and the theology of climate change

Follow me on Twitter here


Undergraduate Modules

  • TH5043 Theological Ethics
  • TH6043 Medical Ethics


Postgraduate Modules

  • Key Theological Texts
  • Environment and Animals: Theology and Ethics


Research Interests

  • Animals in Christian theology and ethics
  • Ethics of war and peace
  • Karl Barth

PhD and DProf Supervision

I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above or from students wishing to explore other areas within Systematic Theology and Theological Ethics

External Funding

2009               British Academy Overseas Conference Grant of £500 to present a paper at the Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Montreal.

HEFCE Promising Researcher Fellowship of £25,000 to facilitate an eight-month research leave to write the monograph On Animals: Theologyin collaboration with the Department of Theology, Exeter University


 Grant of £2000 from the HEA Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies for a project training doctoral students in skills in reading theological texts.

2008               The Farm Forward Grant for Excellence in Research and Teaching of $1000 (US Organization promoting welfare of farm animals).
1999               F.D. Maurice Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, St. Chad’s College, Durham (salaried three-year position)
1994–9 Full fellowship covering fees and maintenance to study for a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Yale University.
1994  British Academy fellowship to pursue D.Phil. studies on Karl Barth’s Ethics at St. Cross College, Oxford (Yale offer pursued in preference).
1992–3         British Academy funding to study for an M.St. in Christian Political Thought at St. Cross College, Oxford.

Published work

Full-text book chapters and articles are available via my research page in Chester’s Open Access repository


2013             co-edited with Celia Deane-Drummond and Becky Artinian-Kaiser, Animals as Religious Subjects: Transdisciplinary Perspectives (London: T&T Clark/Bloomsbury)
2012 On Animals: Volume 1 – Systematic Theology (London: T&T Clark/Continuum)
2009 co-edited with Celia Deane-Drummond Creaturely Theology: On God, Humans and Other Animals (London: SCM, 2009)
2007 with Prof. Brian Stiltner, Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press)
2005 Ethics in Crisis: Interpreting Barth’s Ethics, Barth Studies Series (Aldershot: Ashgate).

 Other Select Publications

2013          ‘Not a Not-Animal: The Vocation to be a Human Animal Creature’, Studies in Christian Ethics 26:1 (2013), 4–17.
2012 What’s the Point of Animals?’ in A Faith Embracing All Creatures: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions about Christian Care for Animals, Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker (eds), (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012), 114–23.

‘The Problem with Human Equality: Towards a Non-Exclusive Account of the Moral Value of Creatures in the Company of Martha Nussbaum’ in Transforming Exclusion: Engaging Faith Perspectives, Hannah Bacon, Wayne Morris and Steve Knowles (eds), (London: T&T Clark, 2011), 83–94.


with Michael Leyden, ‘Claiming Barth for Ethics: The Last Two Decades’, Ecclesiology, 6:2 (2010), 166–182.
  ‘Interpreting human life by looking the other way: Bonhoeffer on human beings and other animals’ in Bonhoeffer and the Biosicences: An Initial Exploration, Ralf K. Wüstenberg, Stefan Heuser and Esther Hornung (eds), (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010), 51–74.
2009 ‘On the Relevance of Jesus Christ for Christian Judgements About the Legitimacy of Violence — a Modest Proposal’, Studies in Christian Ethics 22:2 (2009), 199–210
  with Richard Higginson and Michael Parsons, ‘Usury, Investment and the Sub-Prime Sector’, Association of Christian Economists Discussion Papers 001–003 (2009), ISSN 0956-3067), 1–23.
  ‘All God's Creatures: Reading Genesis on Human and Non-human Animals’ in Stephen Barton and David Wilkinson (eds), Reading Genesis after Darwin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 145-162.
  with Celia Deane-Drummond, ‘Introduction’, ‘Postscript in Creaturely Theology, coedited with Celia Deane-Drummond, 1–18, 266–9.
  ‘The Anxiety of the Human Animal: Luther on Non-human Animals and Human Animality’, in Creaturely Theology, coedited with Celia Deane-Drummond, 41–60.