Douglas Davies

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For other people named Doug Davies, see Doug Davies (disambiguation).
Douglas Davies at St Chad's College, Durham

Douglas James Davies (born 1947) is Professor in the Study of Religion in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham. He is an authority in the history, theology and sociology of death. His fields of expertise also include anthropology, the study of religion, the rituals and beliefs surrounding funerary rites and cremation around the globe, and Mormonism. His research interests cover identity and belief, and Anglican leadership.

Born in Wales, he read two Bachelor of Arts degrees at St John's College, University of Durham, before doing his PhD at the University of Nottingham. He then achieved both Master and Doctor of Letters at Oxford University and has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Theology from Uppsala University, Sweden. One book, Reusing Old Graves: A Report on Popular British Attitudes, which he co-wrote with Alastair Shaw won the 1995 Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.[1]

His current projects include writings on 'The Encyclopedia of Cremation', 'The Clergy and British Society: 1940-2000', 'A Brief History of Death', 'Inner-speech and prayer' and 'Ritual purity'.

He has also published a large number of articles on death, and contemporary Christianity.

Professor Davies has been involved with various editorial boards and conferences, including the 'Editorial Board of Mortality' and the 'British Sociological; Association Religion Group' (Chairman: 2000-2003). He was also guest speaker at both the Scandinavian Sociological Society Conference in 2004 and the International Cremation Federation Conference in Barcelona, 2003.

Within the University of Durham he teaches three undergraduate modules: 'Study of Religion', 'Death, Ritual and Belief' and 'Theology and Anthropology'. He also teaches 'Ritual, Symbolism and Belief' to those studying a taught Masters degree in Theology.

He is a member of the Senior Common Room of St Chad's College Durham.


His list of books include:

  • A Brief History of Death, 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Cremation, editor, 2005
  • An Introduction to Mormonism, 2003
  • Anthropology and Theology, 2002
  • Death, Ritual and Belief, 2002, 1997
  • Modern Christianity: Reviewing its Place in Britain Today, 2000
  • The Mormon Culture of Salvation, 2000
  • Private Passions: Betraying Discipleship on the Journey to Jerusalem, 2000
  • Themes and Issues in Christianity, 1997
  • Mormon Identities in Transition, editor, 1996
  • British Crematoria in Public Profile, 1995
  • Reusing Old Graves: A Report on Popular British Attitudes, 1995
  • Church and Religion in Rural England, 1991
  • Frank Byron Jevons: An Evolutionary Realist, 1991
  • Cremation Today and Tomorrow, 1990
  • Studies in Pastoral Theology and Social Anthropology, 1990
  • A Study of the Deployment and Work of the Rural Clergy in Five English Dioceses, 1990
  • Mormon Spirituality, 1987
  • Meaning and Salvation in Religious Studies, 1984


  1. ^ Burkardt, John (2007-06-01). "The Oddest Book Titles". John Burkardt. Retrieved 2008-02-24.