Born in Dublin, I began my life in universities when I did a B.A. in philosophy and medieval history in University College Dublin. Immediately after that I began work on my B.D. in theology from St Patrick's College, Maynooth. By this stage I knew I wanted to do research in early medieval thought, and did an M. Phil. in medieval studies concentrating on the cultural influences on the thought of Plotinus and Augustine. I was subsequently offered a research fellowship in the Department of Late Latin and Palaeography in University College Dublin, and later again I was made a Scholar in School of Celtic Studies of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, and this led to my PhD. which was devoted to the tradition of Genesis interpretation in Latin between the death of Augustine and the Carolingians.
While doing research for my M.Phil. and, later, for the Ph.D. I held various teaching positions (in University College Dublin, the Milltown Institute, Dublin, and the Dominican Studium in Dublin) teaching traditional logic, the history of theology, patristics, and church history. This teaching not only gave me a perspective on the topics I was researching, but exerted a constant pressure to reflect on my own theological method and to recognize that while my teaching might be valued by others as 'history of theology' or 'the history of ideas,' my own impulse to teach and research was rooted in the discipline and perspective of historical theology.
While a Scholar the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies I was offered a post in the Dept of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Wales, Lampeter beginning in January 1997. That appointment allowed me to develop a distinctive style of historical theology focused on the dynamics of tradition within theology. This work led eventually to my being made the first Professor of Historical Theology in the University of Wales in February 2006; and to the award of a D.D. by Bangor University in 2010. I am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; and of the Royal Historical Society.
I was invited to accept the post of Professor of Historical Theology here in the University of Nottingham in 2009, and am happy to belong to a department in which this approach is not only valued within the theological spectrum, but where I have several colleagues who would also describe themselves as historical theologians.