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New Canon Theologian for Cathedral

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Aug, 2013 02:53 PM

The Revd Professor Richard A Burridge, Dean of King’s College London, has accepted an invitation from the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, to be appointed both Canon Theologian and Sarum Canon at Salisbury Cathedral. He will be admitted during a special service of Evensong at 5.30pm on Thursday 3 October.

In his role as Canon Theologian, Professor Burridge will, amongst other activities, be asked to assist the Bishop and the Cathedral Chapter in their theological reflections and to encourage theological integrity in their discernment and decision-making, as well as being invited to preach from time to time in the Cathedral.

A Sarum Canon is an honorary canon at Salisbury Cathedral and a public way of recognizing and honouring the contribution which individuals have made to the worldwide church. Other Sarum Canons currently include The Right Revd Andrew Chan, Bishop of the Diocese of the Western Kowloon (Province of Hong Kong), Father Timothy Radcliffe, the Archbishops of Latvia and the Sudan, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of Cape Town, and Sir David Willcocks.

Edward Probert, Canon Chancellor, said “Intellectual enquiry and theological reflection have always been important aspects of the cathedral’s life. We need to worship God just as much with our minds as we do with our voices and words. We look forward to the contribution which Professor Burridge will be able to make, and to fostering the link with the academic world.”

Short biography
The Revd Professor Richard A. Burridge has been Dean of King’s College London since 1993, and was appointed to a personal Chair in Biblical Interpretation in 2008.  Before coming to King's College London he was Lazenby Chaplain at the University of Exeter, where he also taught New Testament and Ethics.  He was originally a classicist and schoolmaster before being ordained in 1985.

He has written several books on Jesus and the Gospels (notably What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography, 1992, new revised edition, 2004; Four Gospels, One Jesus? 1994 and new revised edition 2005; and a commentary on John, 1998, reissued for the Lambeth Conference in 2008) as well as writing on ethics, the purposes of universities and higher education, and Christian responses to contemporary film and fiction (Faith Odyssey, 2001, revised edition 2003).  His most recent book, Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics (2007), looks at how New Testament ethics should be interpreted in the light of his argument that the Gospels are essentially biographies of Jesus, using South African apartheid as a case study.  In 2009 Imitating Jesus was one of five titles shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize, which is an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Richard Burridge’s current work builds on his work on ethics in Imitating Jesus and other thinking over the last fifteen years.  He is presently working on a methodology to illustrate approaches to ethical dilemmas and common human experiences, and the provisional title of this new book is Money, Sex, Power, Violence, and the Meaning of Life (publication date to be determined).

In June 2013 it was announced that Richard Burridge is one of this year’s recipients (and the first non-Catholic recipient) of the Ratzinger Prize for Theology.  This will be presented in Rome by Pope Francis in October 2013.

He is a member of the Church of England’s General Synod and chaired their Validation Panel for ordination training and theological education (1996-2004).  He has also served as the Church Commissioners’ representative on the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group since 2008, being Deputy Chairman since 2010.

Richard Burridge regularly speaks at academic conferences and also leads study days for clergy and lay people both across England and for Dioceses across the Anglican Communion; in recent years he has spoken in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain, as well as in the UK.  He has acted as a writer and Consultant to the Millennium Dome at Greenwich and for the National Gallery, London and appears regularly on national TV and radio.

King's College links: 
Salisbury Cathedral:

Further information
Sarah Flanaghan, Cathedral Press Officer
01722 555148, 07771 510811,


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