Chair

Janet Martin Soskice is Professor of Philosophical Theology at Cambridge University where she is also president and a fellow of Jesus College. She has written on metaphor as integral to religious understanding, about the mysterious reality of the absolute otherness of God combined with God’s total presence in the world, and the relationship of science and religion. Her interest in religious language has led her to investigate 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 was named to her present professorship in 2009. 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 was the Woods-Gumbel Lecturer at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem in 2005. She is an honorary fellow of Blackfriars, Oxford, and a patron of the Westminster College Appeal. 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. She is a former 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 as a trustee of The Tablet as well as 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), (with Diana Lipton) Feminism and Theology (2003), and (with Carlo Cogiati, David Burrett, and William Stoeger) Creation and the God of Abraham (2010), 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 is also the author of The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language (2007), and her latest book, Sisters of the Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels, which was published in 2009 by Chatto (London), Knopf (New York), Edition Lattes (Paris), and Atlas (Amsterdam) and named to the best books of the year lists by three American publications, 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. A forthcoming work, Naming the Christian God, will be published by the University of Virginia Press.