Professor Andrew Davies BD (Hons) (London) MA, PhD (Sheffield) FRSA PFHEA MInstLM MCMI

Professor Andrew Davies

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Public Religion
Director, Edward Cadbury Centre

Contact details

Address
ERI Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Although my interests are varied, I am fundamentally a biblical scholar and literary critic who works on the reception and impact of the Bible, particularly in the contexts of its influence on society, its handling by Pentecostals and Evangelicals globally and its interpretation in music and the arts. My PhD, in the field of biblical ethics, provoked my interest in the role of the Bible as a resource for moral thinking and led me to a lifelong fascination in why people think religion and sacred texts are so important to them in making lifestyle choices and how faith commitments impact our interactions with and contributions to society and the public and political spheres. Recently this has resulted in many opportunities to reflect on the distinctive contribution that faith brings to leadership both in organisations and in civic life. I led the UK government’s pilot project for the professional development of religious leaders from 2019-20 and continue to work with UK government departments including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to promote the understanding of religion in policy-related contexts. At the same time I have advised and supported a variety of faith communities (particularly in the UK, India and Australia) on their political and social engagement strategies.

As an experienced academic project manager, I have led a variety of educational research and development projects for the University of Birmingham, including initiating what has since become our flagship interdisciplinary education activity, ‘The Birmingham Project’, where I was responsible for developing and sustaining the University’s relationships with major international businesses such as IBM, Jaguar LandRover, PwC and KPMG. I have managed funded research and engagement projects worth well over £2.5m, including a major, three-year AHRC-supported project, ‘Megachurches and Social Engagement in London’ (2013-16), which investigated the social engagement activities of some of the UK’s largest and most prominent churches. I now combine leadership of the Cadbury Centre and public engagement work with directing the University of Birmingham’s Master of Public Administration in Faith-Based Leadership and MA in Religion, Politics and Society programmes, whilst continuing to write and teach on cultural-critical approaches to the Bible, contemporary forms of Christian worship and expression (most notably including Pentecostalism) and more recently on faith-based (especially but not only Evangelical Christian) engagement in the fields of culture and social and public policy.

Feedback and office hours

I am available each week for feedback and tutorial meetings with students by appointment, in person or via Zoom/Skype/Teams or telephone.

Qualifications

  • BD(Hons) in Divinity, University of London (1992)
  • MA in Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield (1994)
  • PhD in Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield (1998)

Biography

I am fundamentally a biblical scholar who works on the reception history of the Bible, particularly its handling by Pentecostals and Evangelicals throughout the world today and its interpretation in the arts, particularly music. My PhD, in the field of biblical ethics, provoked my interest in literary-critical approaches to the Hebrew Bible (particularly in the use of a resistant reader-response methodology for reading biblical texts), and in the use of the Bible as a moral resource. However, both these concerns have encouraged my broader fascination with the role and function of the Bible and religion in general in today’s world, their relevance for people of all faiths and none, and their cultural, social and political significance.

I'm really interested at the moment in why people think religion and sacred texts are so important to them in making lifestyle choices and how faith commitments impact our interactions with and contributions to society and the public and political spheres. 

I joined the University of Birmingham in January 2010, after ten years of working in the theological college sector, the last five of them as Vice Principal. I now serve as Head of Education for the School of Philosophy, Theology & Religion and Director of the Edward Cadbury Centre.

Teaching

My teaching at present focusses heavily on the undergraduate module, 'The Bible and Global Challenges' and the delivery of the University's new Master of Public Administration degree in Faith-Based Leadership.

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in talking to potential research students who would like to work in any of the following fields:

The use of the the Bible in the Pentecostal and Evangelical traditions
Cultural-critical approaches to the Bible
Pentecostal music and worship
Biblical ethics
Hebrew Bible generally, particularly the prophetic books
The public understanding of religion
Religion and social/public/foreign policy
Global freedom of religion or belief


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

Research

My research interests include:

  • Contemporary (especially cultural-critical and postmodern literary) approaches to biblical interpretation and hermeneutics
  • Biblical ethics and particularly the theology of social justice
  • Pentecostal and Evangelical approaches to the Bible
  • Religion and Culture, particularly the public understanding of religion and its impact upon areas of social and public policy
  • Global freedom of religion or belief and the Bible and human rights

Other activities

I was awarded a University of Birmingham Teaching Fellowship in June 2014 and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018.

In November 2011, I recorded an IdeasLab Predictor Podcast on the future of Christianity in the UK

Publications

 

Book

  • (2000) Double Standards in Isaiah: Re-evaluating Divine Justice and Prophetic Ethics (Biblical Interpretation Series, 46; Leiden: Brill).

Selected book chapters

  • (2021) ‘A Refuge from the Storm? The English Church During COVID-19’, in John R. Bryson, Lauren Andres, Aksel Ersoy and Louise Reardon (eds.), Living With Pandemics: People, Place and Policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • (2019) '"The Evangelisation of the Nation, the Revitalisation of the Church and the Transformation of Society": Megachurches and Social Engagement’, in S. Hunt (ed.), The Brill Handbook of Megachurches (Leiden: Brill).
  • (2019) 'Heritage and Hope: A Story of British Pentecostalism’, in J. Aldred (ed.) Pentecostals in Britain (London: SCM).
  • (2017) ‘Because They Can: Hillsong and Social Transformation’, in T. Riches and T. Wagner (eds.), You Call Me Out Upon The Waters: Critical Perspectives on the Hillsong Movement (London: Palgrave Macmillan).
  • (2014) ‘Jeremiah’, in T.J. Burke and K. Warrington (eds.), A Biblical Theology of the Holy Spirit (London: SPCK, 2014).
  • (2014)  ‘“My God ... Why?” Criticising the Actions and Inaction of God in the Psalms’ in L. Snow Flesher, C. J. Dempsey & M.J. Boda (eds), Why?... How Long? Studies on Voice(s) of Lamentation Rooted in Biblical Hebrew Poetry (LHBOTS, 552; London: T&T Clarke, 2014).
  • (2013) ‘What Does it Mean to Read the Bible as a Pentecostal?’, in L.R. Martin (ed.), Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Reader (Leiden: Brill, 2013).
  • (2012) ‘Tears in Jerusalem: David’s Response to the Death of Absalom in 2 Samuel and Tomkins’s '”When David Heard”’, in D.J.A. Clines and E. van Wolde (eds), A Critical Engagement: Essays in Honour of J. Cheryl Exum (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012).
  • (2007) ‘Oratorio as Exegesis: The Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel's Messiah’, in J.C. Exum (ed.), Retellings: The Bible in Literature, Music, Art and Film (Leiden: Brill).

Selected journal articles

  • (2020) ‘Covid-19, Virtual Church Services and a new Temporary Geography of Home’ in Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie (with John Bryson and Lauren Andres).
  • (2018) ‘Reading Politics Through Scripture: International Relations, the Bible and Conservative Protestant Christianity’ in Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association Special Volume 38/1, ‘Pentecostalism and Social Engagement’.
  • (2018) ‘Introduction: Pentecostals and Social Engagement’ in Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association Special Volume 38/1, ‘Pentecostalism and Social Engagement’ (as guest editor).
  • (2016) ‘Texts, Themes, and Theologies: A Response to John Goldingay’s The Theology of the Book of Isaiah’, Journal of Pentecostal Theology 25.1, pp. 16-20.
  • (2014) 'A Megachurch in a Megacity: A Study of Cyberspace Representation’, PentecoStudies 13.1 (April) (with Mark J. Cartledge).
  • (2011) ‘The Spirit of Freedom: Pentecostals, the Bible and Social Justice’, Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, 31/1.
  • (2009) ‘Reading in the Spirit: Some Brief Observations on Pentecostal Interpretation and the Ethical Difficulties of the Old Testament’, Journal of Beliefs and Values 30:3, pp. 303-11.

Selected blog posts

Selected public policy reports

  • (2016) ‘Birmingham Conversations 2016: Practical Insights for Faith Communities and Policymakers’, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion.
  • (2016) ‘Megachurches and Social Engagement in London: Policy Options and Opportunities’ (with Heather Buckingham), Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion.

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Faith and social and political engagement; faith leadership; contemporary Christian belief, culture and practice; Christian engagement with politics; global freedom of religion or belief.

Expertise

  • Faith and social and political engagement
  • Faith leadership
  • Megachurches and and wider conservative Christian traditions including Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism
  • The Bible's influence on society
  • Religion and Culture, particularly the public understanding of religion and its impact upon areas of social and public policy
  • Global freedom of religion or belief
  • Religion and humanitarian intervention

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities