Kathryn Tanner began her career at Yale University. She later moved to the University of Chicago where she served as the Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Theology. Tanner does constructive Christian theology in the Protestant tradition. Her works addresses contemporary challenges to the Christian faith through the creative use of both the history of Christian thought and interdisciplinary methods, such as critical, social, and feminist theory. Her first book, God and Creation in Christian Theology developed an account of the non-competitive relations between God and creatures. Her next book The Politics of God applies non-competitive relations to the political sphere. Her book Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology explores the relevance of cultural studies for rethinking theological method. She has also written a short systematic text on the Incarnation (Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity) and a text on the economic relevance of Christian beliefs about God (Economy of Grace). Her most recent book, Christ the Key, argues for the centrality of Christ in all theological questions.
She is a past president of the American Theological Society, and is active in the Episcopal Church, as a member of the Theology Committee that advises the House of Bishops.