Sarah Coakley

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Sarah Coakley

Born
Sarah Anne Furber

(1951-09-10) 10 September 1951 (age 68)
London, England
Spouse(s)
J. F. Coakley (m. 1975)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisThe Limits and Scope of the Christology of Ernst Troeltsch (1982)
InfluencesJohn Robinson[1]
Academic work
DisciplineTheology
Sub-discipline
School or tradition
Institutions
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Anglican)
ChurchChurch of England
Ordained
  • 2000 (deacon)
  • 2001 (priest)

Sarah Anne Coakley[4] FBA (born 1951) is an English Anglican systematic theologian and philosopher of religion with interdisciplinary interests.[5] She is an honorary professor at the Logos Institute, the University of St Andrews, after she stepped down as Norris–Hulse Professor of Divinity (2007–2018) at the University of Cambridge. She is also Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, both in Melbourne and in Rome.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Born Sarah Anne Furber on 10 September 1951 into a wealthy family of lawyers in Blackheath, London, Coakley attended Blackheath High School.[7][8][9] Following this, she spent a gap year teaching English and Latin in Lesotho.[10] Her education continued at New Hall (now Murray Edwards College), University of Cambridge (BA, first-class honours, 1973) and at Harvard Divinity School (ThM, 1975), to which she went as a Harkness Fellow. Her PhD on Ernst Troeltsch is also from the University of Cambridge (1983).

Career[edit]

Academic career[edit]

Coakley has taught at Lancaster University (1976–1991), at Oriel College, Oxford (1991–1993), and at Harvard University in the divinity school (1993–2007; as Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity, 1995[11]–2007). She was a visiting professor of religion at Princeton University (2003–2004). In 2006, she was elected[citation needed] the Norris–Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge (the first woman appointed to this chair) and took up the position in 2007.[12] In 2011, she became Deputy Chair of the School of Arts and Humanities with a four-year appointment on the General Board of the university. She stepped down as Norris–Hulse Professor in 2018 and was made professor emeritus. She has been an honorary professor of the University of St Andrews since 2018, and a visiting professorial fellow at the Australian Catholic University since 2019.[13]

Coakley's teaching and research interests cover a number of disciplines cognate to systematic theology, including the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of science, patristics, feminist theory, and the intersections of law and medicine with religion. Her contributions to these areas have generally been by way of co-ordinating research projects and editing or co-editing collections of papers. It was through these collaborative projects that her profile gained a level of international prominence. Indeed, at the time of her appointment to the Norris–Hulse chair in Cambridge, Coakley had not published a monograph subsequent to the 1988 publication of her doctoral thesis. She has been working on a four-volume systematic theology, the first volume of which was published in 2013 as God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay 'On the Trinity.

From 2005 to 2008, Coakley co-directed, with Martin A. Nowak, the "Evolution and Theology of Cooperation" project at Harvard University, sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, out of which has come a co-edited volume, Evolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation. An earlier interdisciplinary project on "Pain and Its Transformations", undertaken with Arthur Kleinman at Harvard (as part of the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative), produced Pain and Its Transformations: The Interface of Biology and Culture (co-ed. with Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Harvard UP, 2007).

Coakley delivered the Gifford Lectures in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2012.[14]

She holds honorary degrees from Lund University, St Andrews, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, and Heythrop College, University of London.[6] In July 2019, she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[15]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Coakley was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 2000 and as a priest in 2001.[8] She has assisted in parishes in Waban, Massachusetts, and at the Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Littlemore, Oxford, England (where she served her title). Her training for the priesthood included periods working in a hospital and a prison. In 2011 she was appointed an honorary canon of Ely Cathedral where she assists with the morning office and Eucharist. (Note: as at June 2019, Ely Cathedral no longer lists Coakley as an honorary canon.[16])

In 2012, she was involved in an unsuccessful attempt to change Church of England rules to allow women to become bishops.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In 1975, Coakley married J. F. Coakley,[6] a Syriac scholar and fine printer.[18][failed verification] They have two daughters, Edith Coakley Stowe and Agnes Coakley Cox,[6] who attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[19][failed verification] Her brother is a legal adviser to Prince Charles.[20] Her father, a wealthy lawyer and bon viveur, died in September 2016.[21]

Styles[edit]

  • Sarah Furber (1951–1975)
  • Sarah Coakley (1975–1983)
  • Doctor Sarah Coakley (1983–1995)
  • Professor Sarah Coakley (1993–2000)
  • The Reverend Professor Sarah Coakley (2000–present)

Published works[edit]

Books authored[edit]

  • Christ Without Absolutes: A Study of the Christology of Ernst Troeltsch. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1988. ISBN 978-0-19-826670-9.
  • Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. 2002. doi:10.1002/9780470693407. ISBN 978-0-631-20735-1.
  • Sacrifice Regained: Reconsidering the Rationality of Religious Belief. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1-107-40224-9.
  • God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay 'On the Trinity'. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge Press. 2013. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139048958. ISBN 978-1-139-04895-8.
  • The New Asceticism: Sexuality, Gender and the Quest for God. London: Bloomsbury Continuum. 2015. ISBN 978-1-4411-0322-2.

Books edited[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Tonstad 2013, pp. 547–548.
  2. ^ Mohall 2013, p. iii; Ogilvy 2014, pp. 121, 123.
  3. ^ "The Woman Before the Cross". Times Higher Education. London. 16 May 1996. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ Harvard Magazine. Vol. 95. 1992.
  5. ^ Burns 2016; Koh 2013, p. 32; McRandal 2016, pp. viii–ix.
  6. ^ a b c d "Sarah Coakley". Oxford: Jericho Press. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  7. ^ Tonstad 2013, p. 547.
  8. ^ a b "Sarah Anne COAKLEY (née FURBER)". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Sarah Coakley Reconstructs Feminism". Religion-online.org. 28 June 2003. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Faith, Rationality, and the Passions - Chair". Humbleapproach.templeton.org. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  11. ^ Evans 2006, p. ix.
  12. ^ Ogilvy 2014, p. 121.
  13. ^ "Professor Sarah Coakley". Faculty of Divinity. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Gifford Lecture Series 2012/". University of Aberdeen. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  15. ^ "New Fellows 2019" (pdf). The British Academy. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  16. ^ https://www.elycathedral.org/who-we-are/whos-who
  17. ^ "Has the Church of England finally lost its reason? Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  18. ^ "The Jericho Press". www.jericho-press.com.
  19. ^ "America's Most Expensive Prep Schools". Forbes. 11 December 2006. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  20. ^ "James Furber". Farrer. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Bobby Furber, lawyer, collector, sportsman and bon viveur – obituary". The Telegraph. 9 September 2016 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.

Bibliography[edit]

Burns, Stephen (2016). "From Evelyn Underhill to Sarah Coakley: Women Teaching Theology and the English Context". In McRandal, Janice (ed.). Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. pp. 203–225. ISBN 978-1-5064-1072-2.
Evans, C. Stephen, ed. (2006). Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-928322-4.
Koh, SueJeanne (2013). "Prayer as Divine Propulsion: An Interview with Sarah Coakley". The Other Journal: 32–42. ISBN 978-1-62032-984-9. ISSN 1933-7957. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
McRandal, Janice (2016). "Being George Eliot: An Impossible Standpoint?". In McRandal, Janice (ed.). Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press. pp. vii–xi. ISBN 978-1-5064-1072-2.
Mohall, Susan (2013). Embodied Spirits: Comparing Sarah Coakley and John Paul II on Issues of Gender (MA thesis). Dayton, Ohio: University of Dayton. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
Ogilvy, Julia (2014). Women in Waiting: Prejudice at the Heart of the Church. London: Bloomsbury Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4729-0179-8.
Tonstad, Linn Marie (2013). "Sarah Coakley". In Kristiansen, Staale Johannes; Rise, Svein (eds.). Key Theological Thinkers: From Modern to Postmodern. Abingdon, England: Routledge (published 2016). pp. 547–557. doi:10.4324/9781315591025. ISBN 978-1-315-59102-5.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
John Barton
Hulsean Lecturer
1991–1992
Succeeded by
Oliver O'Donovan
Preceded by
Gordon D. Kaufman
Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity
1995–2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Denys Turner
Norris–Hulse Professor of Divinity
2007–2018
Succeeded by
Catherine Pickstock
Preceded by
Alister McGrath
Gifford Lecturer at the
University of Aberdeen

2012
Succeeded by
David N. Livingstone
Preceded by
Cornelis van der Kooi [nl]
Warfield Lecturer
2015
Succeeded by
James N. Anderson
Other offices
Preceded by
Russell Re Manning
Boyle Lecturer
2016
Succeeded by
Robert John Russell