Janet Martin Soskice is a reader in philosophical theology at
Cambridge University. She has written on metaphor as integral to
religious understanding and about the mysterious reality of the absolute
otherness of God combined with God’s total presence in the world.
Her interest in religious language also has led her to investigate
the gender symbolism in the Bible and historical theology—and its
implications for the role of women in the Church. A native of western
Canada, she earned a B.A. at Cornell University, went on to Sheffield
University in England for an M.A. in biblical studies and then to
Oxford, where she pursued linguistic philosophy and took a D.Phil.
in philosophy of religion 1982. While the Gordon Milburn Junior
Research Fellow and subsequently as a lecturer at Ripon College,
Cuddesdon, she taught philosophy at Oxford and at Heythrop College,
London. Dr. Soskice moved on to Cambridge in 1998 as a university
lecturer in modern theology and as fellow of Jesus College, where she
is currently director of studies in theology. The recipient of a Canadian
Commonwealth Research Fellowship and a British Academy Senior
Research Fellowship, she has been a visiting professor at the universities
of Uppsala and Calgary and was the first woman to be a Eugene
McCarthy Visiting Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome.
She delivered the Stanton Lectures at Cambridge in 1998-99 and last
year was the Woods-Gumbel Lecturer at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute
in Jerusalem. A past president of the Catholic Theological Association
of Great Britain and the Theological Society of Cambridge, as well as
a former ecumenical advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury and
member of the English Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission, she has
acted for the Catholic bishops of England and Wales in consultations
on Europe, on matters of faith and reason, and on Jewish-Catholic
relations. Until this year she was chair of the board of the Margaret
Beaufort Institute of Theology of the Cambridge Theological
Federation, a Catholic college she was instrumental in founding.
Dr. Soskice has been a member of the board of the Center for
Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley. She is a director with
responsibility for fundamental theology of the international journal
Concilium and serves on the editorial panel for the SCM Press series
in Studies in Philosophical Theology, the academic advisory board of
Reviews in Religion and Theology, the editorial advisory board of Ars
Disputandi: the Online Journal for Philosophy of Religion, and the
editorial boards of Studies in Christian Ethics and Modern Theology.
In addition to more than sixty articles in scholarly journals and essays
in volumes of collected works, she is the editor or co-editor of three
books, including (with Grant Gillett and K.W.M. Fulford) Medicine
and Moral Reasoning
(1994) and, more recently, (with Diana Lipton) Feminism and Theology, which was published by Oxford
University Press in 2003, as well as four special issues of Concilium.
Her widely acclaimed Metaphor and Religious Language
(1985), a book influential on the debate in science and religion for its defense
of critical realism, has been published in three subsequent paperback
editions and translated into Japanese. Dr. Soskice’s latest book, The
Last Gospels from Sinai, weaves together the story of the discovery
of an early New Testament manuscript by two Victorian sisters and a discussion of the impact of modernity on nineteenth century
belief. It will be published next January by Chatto (London), Knopf
(New York), Edition Lattes (Paris), and Wahlstrom & Widstrand
(Stockholm). Forthcoming works include Naming the Christian God
for the University of Virginia Press and The Offices of Love
for Oxford University Press.