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Professor Frances Young FBA

Frances Young profile picture

About this Fellow

A graduate in Classics from Bedford College, University of London, Frances Young achieved a second 1st class Honours degree in Theology at the University of Cambridge, where she undertook research for a PhD in early Christian studies, for part of which she studied at the University of Chicago Divinity School. A brief period as a Research Fellow at Clare Hall preceded a lifelong career at the University of Birmingham (1971-2005), as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Professor, Dean of the Faculty and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Her teaching career principally focused on New Testament studies, but her research interests spanned a wider area. The history and interpretation of doctrine and early Christian exegesis of scripture, along with questions concerning the hermeneutics of classic texts in modern theology, have largely claimed her attention. She was also a pioneer in thinking about theology and disability: her eldest son, born in 1968, has profound learning disabilities which demand total care. The importance of academic study of theology for church life and Christian belief lay at the heart of her ordination as a Methodist minister in 1984 alongside her continuing university career. In retirement she remains in demand for public lectures, preaching and leading worship.


Current post

  • Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham

Past Appointments

  • Lecturer, University of Birmingham, 1971 - 1982
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham, 1982 - 1986
  • Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Birmingham, 1995 - 1997
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Birmingham, 1997 - 2002
  • Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology and Head of Department of Theology, University of Birmingham, 1986 - 2005
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham, 2006 - 1970
  • Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology, University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham, 1986 - 1970
  • Research Fellow, Clare Hall University of Cambridge, 1967 - 1969
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham, 2006 - 1970

British Academy Appointments

  • Member of Council, 2005 - 2008


Theology and Exegesis 2012


God's Presence 2013


Theology of the Pastoral Letters 1994


From Nicaea to Chalcedon 1983; 2nd edition 2010


Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture 1997


The Cambridge History of Christianity: Origins to Constantine 2006


Other Theology and Religious Studies Fellows

Professor Carole Hillenbrand

Islamic history 1050-1250, especially Iran and Syria; Muslim perspectives of the crusades, the scholar al-Ghazali and the caliphate.

Professor Julius Lipner

Sanskritic Hindu thought, including classical Vedanta, and 19th-century Bengal; comparative study, with special reference to Hinduism and Indian Christianity

Professor Hugh McLeod

Social history of Christianity in western Europe and the USA in the 19th and 20th century, including urban and working class history, secularisation and international comparison

Professor Mark Williams

Psychological models and treatment of recurrent depression; experimental cognitive psychology of the processes that increase risk of suicidality; prevention of suicidal depression through mindfulness-based treatments