Richard Swinburne

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Richard C. Swinburne is an Orthodox Christian philosopher and theologian and Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford. He is a convert to Orthodox Christianity.


Richard Swinburne was born on December 26,1934 at Smethick, Staffordshire. He attended school at Charterhouse before entering compulsory national service in the Royal Navy. While in naval service he became an interpreter of Russian.

Upon completion of his national service, Swinburne entered Oxford University as an undergraduate in 1954. His studies included philosophy, politics, and economics. He graduated in 1959 with a B.Phil. in philosophy. During the following years, Swinburne, with the aid of two research fellowships, became devoted to learning about the history of the physical and biological sciences and developing a philosophy. Having intended to be ordained in the Church of England, he attended St. Stephen's House, Oxford, an Anglican theological college. After obtaining the University Diploma in Theology, Swinburne devoted himself full time to philosophical work and abandoned his plans for ordination.

In 1963, Swinburne accepted a position as lecturer in philosophy at the University of Hull. During the following years he pursued the feeling that a true metaphysical system, that he considered the Christian system of theology to be, must be based on the achievements of the sciences. Over the following years his thoughts were presented in a long series of books and publications. His first book, published in 1968, was Space and Time, followed by An Introduction to Confirmation Theory.

In 1972, he became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Keele. During the next twelve years he published his trilogy on philosophy of Theism: The Coherence of Theism (1993, rev. 1997), The Existence of God (1979; 2nd ed., 2004), and Faith and Reason (1981; 2nd ed., 2005).

During the period of 1982 to 1984, Swinburne presented in the [1]Gifford Lectures his thoughts on the relation of mind and body. Over the following decades Swinburne continued to publish his work.

In 1985, he became Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of Christian Religion at Oxford. In 1992, he was made a fellow of the British Academy. Over the following decade he was a visiting professor overseas at many American and other universities, as well as publishing his tetralogy on Christian Doctrines. In 1995, he became a member of the Orthodox Church. In 2002, he retired from the Nolloth Chair and has devoted himself to producing second editions to his many works.

Major books

  • The Concept of Miracle, 1970
  • The Coherence of Theism, 1977 (part 1 of his trilogy on Theism)
  • The Existence of God, 1979 (new edition 2004). (part 2 of his trilogy on Theism)
  • Faith and Reason, 1981 (new edition 2005). (part 3 of his trilogy on Theism)
  • The Evolution of the Soul, 1986, ISBN 0-19-823698-0. (1997 edition online)
  • Miracles, 1989.
  • Responsibility and Atonement, 1989 (part 1 of his tetralogy on Christian Doctrines)
  • Revelation, 1991 (part 2 of his tetralogy on Christian Doctrines)
  • The Christian God, 1994 (part 3 of his tetralogy on Christian Doctrines)
  • Is There a God?, 1996, ISBN 0-19-823545-3
  • Simplicity as Evidence of Truth, The Aquinas Lecture, 1997
  • Providence and the Problem of Evil, 1998 (part 4 of his tetralogy on Christian Doctrines)
  • Epistemic Justification, 2001
  • The Resurrection of God Incarnate, 2003


Spiritual autobiography

  • Richard Swinburne, "The Vocation of a Natural Theologian," in Philosophers Who Believe, Kelly James Clark, ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), pp. 179-202.

Critical assessment

  • Colin Brown, Miracles and the Critical Mind (Exeter: Paternoster/Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1984), pp. 180-184.
  • Keith M. Parsons, God and the Burden of Proof: Plantinga, Swinburne, and the Analytic Defense of Theism (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1989).
  • Nicholas Wolterstorff, Divine Discourse: Philosophical reflections on the claim that God speaks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).


External links