Professor Philip Ziegler
Professor Philip Ziegler

Professor Philip Ziegler

BA (Hons.), MA, STL, MDiv, ThD; SFHEA

Personal Chair


Rev'd Professor Philip G. Ziegler

Chair of Christian Dogmatics

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History

University of Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen, AB24 3UB


Room KCF 17, King's College



Previously educated at the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Toronto, I earned a doctorate from the University of Toronto / Victoria University, where I studied systematic and historical theology, ecumenics, and the philosophy of religion at several member colleges of the Toronto School of Theology; during my final year I was also a Junior Fellow of Massey College. After holding a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Princeton University's Center for the Study of Religion, I taught for several years at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Canada as Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology. I joined the faculty of the University of Aberdeen as Lecturer in Systematic Theology in January 2006. In 2016 I was appointed to a personal chair as Professor in Christian Dogmatics. 

Ordained to the Order of Ministry of the United Church of Canada since 1996, I am an elder of the cathedral Church of St Machar, in Old Aberdeen.

I am a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Undergraduate Admissions Selector for Divinity (2006-8, 2018-)
  • Member of the Hay of Seaton Lectureship Committee (2014-)
  • Acting Master of Christ's College (2019-20)
  • Chair of the Gifford Lecture Committee of the University (2009-2020) 
  • Previously, Director of Undergraduate Programmes (Divinity) (2009-10), Deputy Head of School (2007-09), Head of the School (2009-12), School Director of Research (2014-17) and most recently School Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes (2018-19; 2020) as well as an elected member of the University Senate (2014-18).
External Memberships
  • Society for the Study of Theology (UK)
    • Member of the Executive Committee (2012-15)
  • Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK)
  • American Academy of Religion
    • Steering Committee, Bonhoeffer, Theology and Social Analysis Group (2013-18)
    • Steering Committee, Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic (Additional Meeting)
  • Karl Barth Society of North America
    • General Secretary (2001-)
  • International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society
    • Member of the Board of Directors, English Language Section (2013-)
  • Assembly Trustee, Church of Scotland
  • Council of Christians and Jews (UK)

Research Overview

My research interests include Christian dogmatics with particular interest in Christology; the doctrines of justification, election and revelation; the Christian life and the theological bases of Christian ethics and politics; as well as the history of modern Protestant theology generally, and within it particularly the theologies of Søren Kierkegaard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. I am also active in exploring the significance of recent work on New Testament apocalyptic for contemporary Christian theology. 


Research Areas

Current Research

I am currently writing on topics including: the construal of the Christian life within an apocalyptic theological vision; the relation of the doctrine of scripture and the practice of Sachkritik; the motif of the 'victory of Christ' in the history of soteriology; trajectories in theology in Western Europe in the latter half of the 20th century; the contemporary significance of Bonhoeffer's Ethics; and, continuing to think together with colleagues about a project on the fate of the devil in modern theology, both Protestant and Catholic.

At the moment I am also editing the volume of the Edinburgh Critical History of Christian Theology treating the 20th century; working with R. David Nelson to oversee a substantive new Handbook of Modern Theology for T&T Clark, and editing, together with Kait Dugan, a volume of papers exploring eschatological aspects of Karl Barth's Theology under the title The Finality of the Gospel .

Past Research

For a list of my research publications to date see here:




Together with Pieter Vos, I am Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Reformed Theology .

I am Editor-in-Chief of Brill's Companions to Modern Theology series.

Together with Ian MacFarland and Ivor Davidson, I edit the T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology series.

Together with Jenny McBride and Michael Mawson, I edit the new T&T Clark New Studies in Bonhoeffer's Theology and Ethics series.

I collaborate with Douglas Harink in the leadership of a working group, 'Explorations in Theology and Apocalyptic' investigating the contemporary relevance of New Testament apocalyptic modes of discourse for the work of Christian dogmatics and ethics.


I welcome enquires from potential PhD research students, particularly those looking to pursue their studies on-campus here in Aberdeen. We have a limited number of places each year for new research students in the Systematic Theology area and admission is necessarily selective.

For general information about PhD study with us in Divinity here at the Unviersity of Aberdeen follow this link here..

Funding and Grants

In the autumn of 2018 I was 'Research in Residence' in the Theology Department of the Free University of Amsterdam.

In 2016/17 I held the Alan Richardson Fellowship at Durham University which I used to advance work on a project exploring modern philosophical critiques of Christian faith and theology.

From 2013-2017 I was lead academic on an interdisciplinary research project entitled 'Normativity: Nature, Narrative and Nihilism' supported by the College of Arts and Social Sciences and involving colleagues from theology, theological ethics, philosophy and law exploring the sources and nature of 'Normativity' in our respective fields of study.

From 2014-2106 I was Principal Investigator on a collaborative project entitled 'Eternal God, Eternal Life: Theological Explorations into the Concept of Immortality'  funded by the Templeton Foundation as part of their larger Immortality Project led by John Martin Fischer from the University of California, Riverside.  We hosted a series of workshops and a final conference in Aberdeen on the theme during 2014/15 and have together authored a book on the theme (T&T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2016), details of which can be found here.


Teaching Responsibilities

I regularly teach, contribute to, and/or co-ordinate the following courses:

  • Topics in Systematic Theology I: God, Christ, Salvation
  • Introduction to Christian Theology 
  • Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
  • Theology and the Practice of Preaching
  • Classic Texts in Philosophy of Religion
  • Reformation, Reason and Revolt: Church and Theology in the 16th century
  • Major Themes in Christian Theology

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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals