Peter Vardy (theologian)

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For other people of the same name, see Peter Vardy (disambiguation).

Peter Vardy (born 1945) is a British academic, philosopher, theologian and author. He held the post of vice principal at Heythrop College, London, from 1999 to 2011.

Vardy was originally a chartered accountant before becoming an academic. He was a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Marketing and chair or director of a number of listed and unlisted companies as well as being a partner in a firm of chartered accountants and management consultants.[1] He holds a masters degree in theology and a PhD (on "The Concept of Eternity") from King's College London. He lectured in philosophy of religion at King's and also at the Institute of Education, London, on their masters degree in education programme. He served on the academic board of Leo Baeck College (which trains rabbis in the Jewish Reformed Tradition in Britain) and has worked closely with The Coexist Foundation since 2007.

Vardy is well known as a charismatic lecturer, running popular day conferences for 14- to 18-year-old students in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong related to issues in philosophy, religion, ethics and the theory of knowledge. He has made a number of appearances on BBC and ABC radio, discussing related issues and is the author or subject of a number of articles in, for example, Times Higher Education, the Times Educational Supplement and The Age.

Vardy also runs teacher training conferences, having previously run management training for NatWest and Swiss Bank.[2] Vardy delivered the MA module in the philosophy of religion at Heythrop College until 2011. He was the keynote lecturer at a number of conferences in the field of education run by the International Baccalalaureate Organisation, HMC, AHISA, GSA and UNHRC and gave the St Wilfrid Lecture at Ripon Cathedral in November 2012.[3]

Vardy was inspired to champion the "less easily measured" aspects of education by his experience as chair of governors of Shebbear College in Devon, Britain’s second oldest Methodist school. He has also worked as a member of the Methodist schools committee, a body which co-ordinates the work of Methodist schools in the United Kingdom[4] and has run training for other educational bodies such as the Woodard Corporation and North Tyneside LEA.

Vardy developed the "Five Strands Approach" to Religious and Values Education in the mid 1990s, which is currently in widespread use across Australasia. He was a founder of the Dialogue Australasian Network (DAN) and was a keynote lecturer at its annual, then biannual conferences between 1999 and 2010, when membership and conference attendance peaked with some 450 schools participating. His student and teacher conferences in Australasia have always been organised and run independently of DAN, however, and were operating for several years before the inception of that organisation.

Vardy is a member and previous secretary of the London Society for the Study of Religion.

Principal academic interests[edit]

  • Ethics and values education
  • The nature of God
  • The relationship between science and religion
  • Truth claims in different religions
  • The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard
  • Globalisation and the impact on what it means to live a fulfilled human life
  • Providing a spiritual perspective in a secular world
  • Islam
  • What it means to be human
  • Ethics in business


  • And if it's True? (1987)
  • God of Our Fathers?: Do We Know What We Believe? (1987)
  • Business Morality, People and Profit (1989)
  • The Puzzle of God (1990)
  • The Puzzle of Evil (1992)
  • The Puzzle of Ethics (1997)
  • The Puzzle of Sex (1997 and an all new edition for SCM Press 2009)
  • Kierkegaard (1996 and an all new edition for SPCK 2008)
  • What is Truth? (2003)
  • Being Human (2003)
  • Good & Bad Religion (2010)

With other authors[edit]

  • The Puzzle of Ethics (1994, with philosopher Paul Grosch)
  • The Puzzle of the Gospels (1995, (with theologian Mary Mills)
  • The Thinker's Guide to God (2003, with Julie Arliss and Robert Van de Weyer)
  • The Thinker's Guide to Evil (2003, with Julie Arliss)
  • Ethics Matters (2012, with Charlotte Vardy)
  • God Matters (Forthcoming, 2013, with Charlotte Vardy)

As editor[edit]

  • Fount Christian Thinkers (series editor, 1997)
  • Great Christian Thinkers: The Spiritual Heritage of Six Key Theologians (1999)