David Clough was appointed to a personal Chair in Theology and Applied Sciences in 2021. He was previously Professor in Theological Ethics at the University of Chester (2007–2021); Tutor in Ethics and Systematic Theology at Cranmer Hall, St. John's College, Durham (2000–2007); and F.D. Maurice Postdoctoral Fellow in Christian Ethics, St. Chad's College, Durham (1999–2000).
David studied Natural Sciences and Theology as an undergraduate at Peterhouse, Cambridge (1986–1989) and Christian Political Thought as an M.St. student at St. Cross College. Oxford (1992–1993). He completed a PhD in Religious Ethics at Yale University (1994–1999), writing on the ethics of Karl Barth.
David is a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church. He was a member of the church's Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (2001–2015), the Methodist/URC Working Group on the Ethics of Modern Warfare (2006), and the Baptist/Methodist/URC Working Group on Theology and Climate Change (2009) which produced the report Hope in God's Future: Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change.
Vice President, Society for the Study of Theology
Visiting Professor, Centre for Animal Welfare, University of Winchester
Member, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (President 2014–2018; Hon. Secretary 2004–2007)
Member, American Academy of Religion (Co-Chair, Animals and Religion Group, 2013–2019)
Member, Society of Christian Ethics
Member, Countess of Chester Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee
Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Religious Ethics
Co-Founder and Co-President, CreatureKind
My research is driven by the question of what the implications of a Christian understanding of God and the world are for contemporary ethical challenges. My doctorate and first book considered questions of Christian ethical method in the ethics of Karl Barth (Ethics in Crisis: Interpreting Barth's Ethics, 2005). In my second co-authored book I defended Christian pacifism in debate with the just war tradition in the context of the 2003 Iraq war (Faith and Force: A Christian Debate about War, 2007). Since then my research has focussed on the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. I have published a two-volume work exploring Christian animal theology and ethics (On Animals, vol. 1 Systematic Theology, 2012; vol. 2 Theological Ethics, 2019) and am currently pursuing related research projects on the human use of animals for food, in dialogue with applied sciences. In 2015 I co-founded the organization CreatureKind as a route to engage Christian churches with farmed animals as a faith issue. I initiated the DefaultVeg campaign as a simple means of achieving reductions in consumption of animals in institutional contexts. In future projects, I'm interested in exploring connections and tensions between theology, race, and animals.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Divinity.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
I'm currently Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare (CEFAW) project. The initial three-year project (2018–2021) enabled an interdisciplinary research team to work with a wide range of partners, including major UK churches. Alongside academic outputs, the project published a downloadable illustrated 60-page Policy Framework for Churches and Christian Organizations aimed at informing policy and practice.
The AHRC has also funded a follow-on impact project, CEFAW Education, which during the 2022 calendar year will work with a new range of partners to develop educational resources for schools and theological education institutions.
In 2015 I co-founded the organization CreatureKind as a route to engage Christian churches with farmed animals as a faith issue. I initiated the DefaultVeg campaign as a simple means of achieving reductions in consumption of animals in institutional contexts. The CEFAW project is engaging churches, Christian organizations, schools, and theological education institutions with farmed animal welfare as a faith issue.
I supervise PhD projects in Christian theology and Christian ethics, with particular interests in the thought of Karl Barth, the ethics of war and peace, and theology and ethics in relation to the more-than-human world.
Funding and Grants
2021: Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare Education, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Follow-on Funding for Impact Scheme, £80K
2018: Christian Ethics of Farmed Animal Welfare, Arts and Humanities Research Council Standard Scheme, £458K