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'.

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

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.


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