Luke Bretherton

Professor of Theological Ethics and Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics

(919) 660-3497
0023 Westbrook

Duke Divinity School
Duke University
407 Chapel Drive
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708-0968


Professor Bretherton’s primary teaching interests are theological ethics, Christian political thought, missiology and practices of social, political and economic witness. Before joining the Duke faculty, he was reader in Theology & Politics and convener of the Faith & Public Policy Forum at King's College London. Prior to that he was director of Studies of the South East Institute for Theological Education (University of Kent), which prepared Methodist, Reformed, and Anglican ministers for ordination. He has worked with a variety of faith-based NGOs, mission agencies, and churches around the world, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. His first book, Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral Diversity (Ashgate, 2006) explores the church’s response to moral pluralism in critical dialogue with Alasdair MacIntyre’s moral philosophy, and develops a constructive, theological response to the issues identified using euthanasia and the hospice movement as a case study. As well as academic articles published in journals such as Modern Theology, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and Studies in Christian Ethics, he writes in the media (including The Guardian, The Times and The Huffington Post) on topics related to religion and politics. His recent work has focused on faith-based organizations, the church’s involvement in social welfare provision, community organizing, the treatment of refugees, and fair trade. That work is drawn together in Christianity & Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilities of Faithful Witness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), winner of the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. When living in the United Kingdom, he was actively involved in politics as part of London Citizens, a broad-based community organization. His current areas of research draws on that experience, and focuses on the intersections between Christianity, grassroots democracy, globalization, responses to poverty, and patterns of inter-faith relations. His forthcoming book, with the working title of Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship and the Politics of a Common Life (Cambridge University Press) grows out of a three-year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project for which he was principal investigator (2008-2011).

View an interview with Luke Bretherton from Duke's Office Hours show »