Research Fellow in Digital Theology, Director of CODEC Research Centre, Durham University

When I became a New Testament Lecturer at a well-known bible college in the mid-90s, one of my earliest tasks was to lay the network cabling and infrastructure for their new staff computer network. This soon expanded with the gradual integration of servers, PCs and other bits and pieces to form the college’s whole computer network. Of course, I did it all as an amateur. Such a feat rested on years of tinkering/gaming experience, itself based on early dabbling on VIC20s and ZX80s and their descendants. In fact, I wrote most of my PhD on an Amstrad WordProcessor. So for me, academic work has always walked alongside the Digital Revolution

I've worked as a Methodist minister for almost twenty five years – as a circuit minister in the East Midlands, as lecturer in New Testament and Director of Studies at Cliff College, and as Secretary to the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church. I did my first degree in mid-Wales - Latin and Greek - followed by an MA in Biblical Studies in Bristol and a PhD at Sheffield in New Testament Studies – focusing on the Fourth Gospel and postmodern theory. Last year, I published articles on characterisation in John, Methodism and the Bible and Security and Privacy in the Digital Age. Quite a sweep of academic interests.

Over the last six years, I have developed CODEC into a Research Centre of the University of Durham, and was recently appointed to a 20% role in the Department of Theology and Religion to secure the links even more. As Director, I am responsible for the future direction and strategic development of CODEC and for managing the Centre as it eases its way into new patterns of being with new staff and new opportunities.

Digital Theology - it's not about the tech, nor about Big Data, nor about digitisation. Digital Theology is simply theology done purposefully in a digital context - in the context of an ongoing Digital Revolution - in a world where digital culture is close to being mass culture. Not just the tech, but the whole amalgam of culture shaping technologies/concepts: information overload, late capitalism consumerism, entertainment/leisure, postmodernism, post colonialism, postsecularization, transgenderism and transhumanism amongst them. How do we do theology consciously within that context?

Experience

  • 2008–present
    Director of Reseach, CODEC, Durham University