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Nigel John Biggar (born March 1955) is an Anglo-Scottish[4] Anglican theologian and priest. Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford since 2007,[5][6] he is a member of faculty at Christ Church, Oxford, and he is additionally canon of Christ Church Cathedral.

Nigel Biggar
Nigel John Biggar

March 1955 (age 64)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Anglican)
ChurchChurch of England
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work

Early lifeEdit

Nigel Biggar was born in March 1955 and educated at Monkton Combe School, near Bath, Somerset. After reading Modern History at Worcester College, Oxford, Biggar studied religion, theology and ethics at Regent College in Vancouver and the University of Chicago.


On his return to Oxford in 1985, he became Librarian and Research Fellow at Latimer House, and then for most of the 1990s, he was Chaplain and Fellow of Oriel College. In 1999, he took the Chair of Theology at the University of Leeds, and in 2004 he moved to the Chair of Theology and Ethics at Trinity College, Dublin.[5]


Biggar is the leader of a five-year project at Oxford University entitled "Ethics and Empire".[7] In 2017, Biggar addressed the ethics of colonialism in an op-ed for The Times. Writing about the work of Bruce Gilley, a political scientist at Portland State University in the United States, he defended Gilley's "courageous call for a balanced reappraisal of the colonial past" and called for the recognition "that the history of the British Empire was morally mixed".[8] Cambridge University's Reader of Post-colonial Literature Priyamvada Gopal said his article contained opinions which amount to "outright racist imperial apologetics".[9] One of Biggar's Oxford colleagues, James McDougall wrote an open letter disagreeing with Biggar signed by around 170 international academics.[10][11] Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equalities Commission, defended Biggar against his critics in a letter to The Times: "Students’ misreading of history is entirely understandable if they are instructed by the academics who criticise Nigel Biggar for asking ‘the wrong questions, using the wrong terms'".[12]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • In Defence of War
  • Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics
  • Burying the Past: Making Peace and Doing Justice After Civil Conflict
  • Aiming to Kill
  • The Hastening that Waits: Karl Barth's Ethics
  • Good Life: Reflections on What We Value Today
  • Biggar, Nigel; Hogan, Linda, eds. (2009). Religious Voices in Public Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199566624.


  1. ^ Biggar, Nigel (2014). "Review of Honey from the Lion: Christianity and the Ethics of Nationalism, by Doug Gay". Scottish Journal of Theology. 67 (3): 365. doi:10.1017/S0036930614000167. ISSN 1475-3065.
  2. ^ Biggar, Nigel (2010). "Karl Barth's Ethics Revisited". In Migliore, Daniel L. (ed.). Commanding Grace: Studies in Karl Barth's Ethics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-8028-6570-0.
  3. ^ Jensen, David (17 August 2018). "Oxford's Nigel Biggar: Anglicanism Sustains Democracy & Religious Freedom". Juicy Ecumenism. Washington: Institute on Religion and Democracy. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  4. ^ Biggar, Nigel (2 August 2018). "Obsession with Gender Identity Goes Too Far". The Times. London. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Professor Nigel Biggar - Christ Church, Oxford University".
  6. ^ "Professor Nigel Biggar - Faculty of Theology and Religion".
  7. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (28 December 2017). "Academics accused of 'stirring up mob' against Nigel Biggar in free speech row". The Times. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  8. ^ Biggar, Nigel (30 November 2017). "Don't Feel Guilty About Our Colonial History". The Times. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Lodhia, Devarshi (12 April 2018). "Cambridge Lecturer Condemns Daily Mail over 'Racist and Sexist Hatchet Job'". Varsity. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  10. ^ McDougall, James (3 January 2018). "The History of Empire Isn't About Pride – or Guilt". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Adams, Richard. "Oxford University accused of backing apologists of British colonialism". The FGuardian. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  12. ^ Bennett, Rosemary (27 December 2017). "Colonialism not all bad, says equality campaigner Trevor Phillips". Retrieved 13 April 2019. (subscription required)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Oliver O'Donovan
Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology