Peter Vardy (theologian)
|Occupation||Theologian, author, conference organizer|
Peter Christian Vardy (born July 1945) is a British theologian. The author or co-author of 18 books about religion and ethics, Vardy was vice-principal of Heythrop College, a Jesuit college in London, from 1999 to 2011. He is known for the religious-studies conferences he runs in the UK for schools.
Early life and education
Vardy was born to Mark Vardy and Christa Lund Vardy; his mother was Danish. He attended Charterhouse, an independent school in Godalming, Surrey, then trained as a chartered accountant, becoming a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (FCA) in 1967. He ran management-training sessions for the National Westminster Bank and Swiss Bank Corporation, and was the chairman of H. Young Holdings plc from 1979–1983. In 1974 he married his first wife, Anne Vardy, née Moore; the couple had two sons and four daughters before divorcing in 2004.
At the age of 30, Vardy began to study theology, receiving a BA from the University of Southampton in 1979 and a PGCE (a teaching qualification) from the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education in 1980. He was awarded a master's degree in theology from King's College London in 1982, and a PhD in theology in 1984, also from King's, for a thesis entitled The concept of eternity.
Vardy taught philosophy of religion at King's College London and the Institute of Education. He began lecturing at Heythrop College in 1986 and in 1999 became the vice-principal, a position he held until his retirement in 2011. While at Heythrop, he served on the University of London's Board of Theology (1990–1993). Vardy's primary academic interest is in the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, whose work he taught at Heythrop for 25 years. From 1987 he organized annual dinners in London on the anniversary of Kierkegaard's death, and in 1996 his book Kierkegaard was published, later published as The SPCK Introduction to Kierkegaard.
Work with schools
Vardy served as chair of the governors of Shebbear College, a Methodist school in Devon. He has also worked as a member of the Methodist Schools Committee, and has been a keynote speaker at conferences in the field of education, including for UNESCO and UNHRC. While at Heythrop, Vardy served as an editorial adviser for Dialogue, a journal of religion and philosophy aimed at sixth-form students, and made a series of teaching videos through Dialogue Education. He began running day conferences for sixth-form students in the mid 1990s and set up Wombat Education Ltd in 1998. In 2002 he and Julie Arliss of Richard Huish College, Taunton, organized a conference there and several others around the UK. In 2008 Vardy and his second wife, Charlotte Vardy, set up Candle Conferences Ltd, and in 2012 Candle Education Ltd, through which they run day conferences for schools.
Since 2010 Vardy has campaigned against the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, which he argues has led to a decline in numbers taking religion studies. He views philosophy of religion as an exercise in exploring the terms left undefined by theology (such as "God" and "soul") and encouraging humility. Education is a way to help young people become fully human, in his view, or good in the Aristotelian sense. He described the approach in his books "What is Truth?" (2001) and "Being Human" (2003), and in a paper, "Becoming Fully Human", for Dialogue Australasia in 2007.
Dialogue Australasia Network
In 1999 Vardy worked as a consultant for an Australian school, Geelong Grammar School, in Geelong, Victoria. Later he became involved in the Dialogue Australasia Network, promoting a "five strands" approach to religious studies in schools: a textual strand (Bible studies); world religions strand; philosophy of religion strand; values and ethics strand; and an affective strand, devoted to "silence and stillness". He also served as an editor and occasional author for the journal Dialogue Australasia.
Vardy has served as an editorial adviser for BBC and Channel 4 documentaries,[better source needed] has been interviwed by ABC Radio in Australia, and has written for several publications, including Times Higher Education, Eureka Street, and The Age. Vardy's Introduction to Kierkegaard was recommended in 2003 by the BBC Radio 4 Open Book's Reading Clinic.
- (1987). God of Our Fathers? Do We Know What We Believe? London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
- (1988). And if it's True? London: Marshall Pickering.
- (1989). Business Morality, People and Profit. London: Marshall Pickering.
- (1990). The Puzzle of God. London: M. E. Sharpe.
- (1992). The Puzzle of Evil. London: M. E. Sharpe.
- (1994, with Paul Grosch). The Puzzle of Ethics. London: Fount Paperbacks.
- (1995, with Mary Mills). The Puzzle of the Gospels. London: M. E. Sharpe.
- (1996). Kierkegaard (later The SPCK Introduction to Kierkegaard). London: Fount Paperbacks.
- (1997). The Puzzle of Sex. London: M. E. Sharpe.
- (1999). What is Truth? Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
- (2003, with Julie Arliss). The Thinker's Guide to God. Alresford: John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
- (2003, with Julie Arliss). The Thinker's Guide to Evil. Alresford: John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
- (2003). Being Human. London: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd.
- (2010). Good & Bad Religion. London: SCM Press.
- (2012, with Charlotte Vardy). Ethics Matters. London: SCM Press.
- (2013, with Charlotte Vardy). God Matters. London: SCM Press.
- (2016, with Charlotte Vardy). Bible Matters. London: SCM Press.
- (2016). The Puzzle of Christianity. London: William Collins.
Articles and chapters
- (1987). "Review of Kierkegaard's Dialect of Inwardness by Stephen N. Dunning", in Religious Studies. 23 (3):427–428.
- (1993). "Technology in the Age of Automata", in Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal. 16(1): 209–226.
- (1995). "A Christian Approach to Eternal Life", in D. Cohn-Sherbok and C. Lewis (eds.). Beyond Death. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- (1997). "Theology and Sharing the Economic Cake", in P. Askonas and S. F. Frowen (eds.). Welfare and Values. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- (2002). "Is Religious Education and ethical and moral debate a contradiction?", in Lynne Broadbent and Alan Brown (eds.). Issues in Religious Education. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
- (2005). "The Philosophy of Religion", in John R. Hinnells (ed). The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. London: Routledge.
- (2014). "Theologians should face Peter Singer's challenge". Eureka Street. 24(14), July 2014.
- "Vardy, Peter". Who's Who 2018. 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2018.
- "Peter Vardy". HarperCollins. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- Day, Malcolm (10 December 2002). "Divine inspiration fills sixth-form pews". The Guardian.
- Evans, Jules and Vardy, Peter (28 November 2014). ‘Take ethics out of the classroom and you just make robots for the production line', Philosophy for Life, 28 November 2014.
- Vardy, Peter (1996). The SPCK Introduction to Kierkegaard. London: Fount Paperbacks, p. ix.
- Who's Who 2011. London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd. 2011. p. 2357. ISBN 978-1408128565.
- "The concept of eternity / Peter Vardy", University of London.
- "Dr. Peter Vardy". Heythrop College. Archived from the original on 9 February 2006.
- Ward, Rodney A. (1995). "The Reception of Søren Kierkegaard into English". The Expository Times. 107/2: 43–47.
- Pattison, George (2009). "Great Britain: From 'Prophet of the Now' to Postmodern Ironist (and after)". In Stewart, Jon. Kierkegaard's International Reception, Volume 1. Farnham: Ashgate. p. 263.
- "Newsletter" (PDF). Shebbear College. 23 September 2016.
- Wilson, Zack (3 August 2011). "A biography of Peter Vardy (Philosophy Lecturer, Author)". Overblog.
- "Is God? Who God? The Existence and Nature of God". Diocese of Westminster. Autumn 2012.
- "'Arguments for the existence of God' by Peter Vardy". National Library of Australia.
- "Wombat Education Limited". London: Companies House.
- "Candle Conferences Limited". London: Companies House.
- "Candle Education Limited". London: Companies House.
- "Leading philosopher leads regional religious conference". The Northern Echo. 28 January 2013.
- "English Baccalaureate". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-25.
- Baggini, Julian; Stangroom, Jeremy (2003). What Philosophers Think. London: Continuum. pp. (114–122), 121.
- "Dr Peter Vardy on religion and values in education". Radio National. 8 August 2004.
- Vardy, Peter (2007). "Becoming Fully Human" (PDF). Dialogue Australasia.
- Vardy, Peter (28 May 1999). "Denying Catholic minds the quest for truth". The Age. p. 15.
- Rutledge, David (2 May 2002). "RAVE: about religious and values education". ABC Radio National.
- "Five Strands". Dialogue Australasia Network. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- "Experts help North Tyneside add spirit to learning". North Tyneside Council. 24 May 2007.
- "Feature Interview: Dr Peter Vardy". ABC Radio. 21 August 2015.
- Vardy, Peter (18 August 2011). "Dead reckoning". Times Higher Education.
- Vardy, Peter (31 July 2014). "Theologians should face Peter Singer's challenge". Eureka Street.
- "The Reading Clinic". BBC Radio 4. 20 July 2003.