Dr John Chesworth BEd, BA, MA, PhD

Dr John Chesworth

Department of Theology and Religion
Research Officer CMR1900

Contact details

I am co-ordinating the research project Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 1500-1900 (CMR1900), working with Professor David Thomas. CMR1900 a four year AHRC funded research aims to compile the documentary history of relations between Muslims and Christians in the period 1500-1900. It brings together all the known writings of Christians and Muslims about and against one another, together with works containing significant information about relations. It covers the entire world in the period when new means of communication enabled Christians and Muslims to meet on all continents.


  • PhD Theology, Birmingham 2008
  • MA Islamic Studies, Birmingham 1999
  • BA Theological Studies, Trinity College, Bristol (CNAA) 1988
  • BEd Geography, Hild and Bede, Durham 1978


I was a lecturer at St. Philip’s Theological College, Kongwa, Tanzania from 1989-2000, then at St. Paul’s United Theological College (now St. Paul’s University), Limuru, Kenya from 2000-2006, whilst there I developed an MA programme in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.

From 2006-2009, I was involved in Sharia Debates in Africa project an interdisciplinary research project on responses to Islamic Law in selected sub-Saharan states (Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania) in co-operation with the University of Bayreuth, funded by Volkswagen Foundation.

From 2008-2012, I was at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Oxford. From 2009 I have been an Honorary Research Fellow St. Stephen’s House and member of Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford.

During this time I taught MA modules on Christian-Muslim Relations and Islam in Africa at St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya and Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Jos, Nigeria.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Islam in Africa
  • Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa
  • Use of the Bible and the Qur’an in popular discourse

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


In addition to my work on CMR1900 I continue to research about Polemical use of scripture in popular discourse, as well as Christian-Muslim relations in Africa.

Other activities

  • Editor of Christian-Muslim News Digest, for Network for Interfaith Concerns, Anglican Communion (2009-2012)
  • On-Line Series Co-Editor with Dr Franz Kogelmann, University of Bayreuth: Muslim-Christian Relations in Africa and Muslims and Islam in Africa (2009-)
  • I supervise research students from St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya and Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Jos, Nigeria.
  • I am an Associate member of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany.


Edited books

  • Sharī‘a in Africa Today: Reactions and Responses, John Chesworth and Franz Kogelmann (eds.), (Leiden: Brillthcoming)
  • From the Cross to the Crescent, Procmura Occasional Paper 1.1, J. Mbillah and J. Chesworth (eds.), (Nairobi: Procmura, 2004).

Contributions to books

  • ‘Anglicans and Islam in East Africa: The Diocese of Zanzibar and the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (1923-1963)’, in Presence of Faith: One Hundred Years of Anglican Interfaith Involvement, eds. David Thomas, Clare Amos, and Douglas Pratt (forthcoming)
  • ‘The Qur’an in Swahili’, in Koran in Franken ed. Thomas Würtz (forthcoming)
  • ‘The African Christian and Islamic da‘wa’, in Christian Responses to Islam in Africa, eds. Lamin Sanneh and John Azumah (forthcoming)
  • ‘Kadhi’s Courts in Kenya: Reactions and Responses’, Constitutional Review in Kenya and Kadhis Courts, Abdulkader Tayob & Joseph Wandera (eds.), (Cape Town: Centre for Contemporary Islam, University of Cape Town, 2011), pp. 3-17.
  • ‘Polemical Revival: Attacking the Other’s Texts’, Interreligious Hermeneutics in Pluralistic Europe: Between Texts and People, Cheetham, David, Ulrich Winkler, Oddbjørn Leirvik and Judith Gruber (eds.), (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi 2011), pp. 355-377.
  • ‘The Church and Islam: Vyama Vingi (Multipartyism) and the Ufungamano Talks’, In Religion and Politics in Kenya, ed. B. Knighton, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), pp. 155-180.
  • ‘The Cross and ‘Outreach’ Literature in East Africa’, In Jesus and the Cross: Reflections of Christians from Islamic Contexts, ed. D. Singh, (Carlisle: Regnum, 2008), pp. 105-111.
  • ‘Challenges to the next Christendom: Islam in Africa’, In Global Christianity: Contested Claims, eds. Frans Wijsen & Robert Schreiter, (Amsterdam & New York: Editions Rodopi, 2007), pp. 117-132.
  • ‘Fundamentalism and Outreach Strategies in East Africa: Christian Evangelism and Muslim Da‘wa’, in: Muslim-Christian Encounters in Africa, ed. Benjamin F. Soares, (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2006), pp. 159-186.
  • ‘Approaches to teaching Islam in the Twenty First Century’, in Grant LeMarquand and Joseph D. Galgalo, (eds.), Theological Education in Contemporary Africa, (Eldoret: Zapf Chancery, 2004), pp. 181-210.
  • ‘Dhimmī Status in Islam from an Historical Perspective with Implications for Present day Africa’, In From the Cross to the Crescent, Procmura Occasional Paper 1.1, In eds. J. Mbillah and J. Chesworth (eds.), (Nairobi: Procmura, 2004), pp. 64-85.
  • ‘The Role of CMS in the Development of St. Paul’s’ with Richard Morgan, in For God and Humanity: 100 Years of St. Paul’s United Theological College, E. Onyango (ed.), (Eldoret: Zapf Chancery, 2003), pp. 107-132. 5

Contributions to Encylopaedias

  • ‘Ahmed Deedat (1919-2005) in Encyclopaedia of the Bible and its Reception, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2012)
  • ‘Muslim reception of the Bible in Europe after 1500’ in Encyclopaedia of the Bible and its Reception, (Berlin: de Gruyter, forthcoming)

Journal articles

  • ‘A study of selected Islamic Internet Sites in East Africa’, Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. Vol. 1, No. 2, (2007), pp. 253-262.
  • ‘Review Article on Arye Oded Islam and Politics in Kenya, and Galia Sabar Church, State and Society in Kenya: From Mediation to Opposition’, AICMAR Bulletin, 3, (2004), pp. 60-65.
  • ‘Muslims and Christians in East Africa since Independence: Shifting Fortunes and Perceptions’, Journal of African Christian Thought 7.2 (2004), pp. 39-47.
  • ‘Anglican Liturgical Reform in Kenya: Some Reflections’, Encounter, No. 2, (2002), pp. 9-18.
  • ‘Anglican Relations with Members of Other Faiths and Communities’, Encounter, 1, (2002), pp. 16-36.