Skip to main content

Prof Michael A Barnes SJ BD MLitt PhD

Prof Michael Barnes SJ Dean of Research Students, Theology
Telephone: 020 7795 4257


Born in Brighton on the sunny south coast; school education in Wimbledon; joined the Society of Jesus 1965; studied philosophy at Heythrop in the Oxfordshire countryside from 1967 to 1970; moved with the College to its new London location in Cavendish Square in 1970; studied theology there until 1973 (BD). 
Studied classical Indology, Sanskrit and Pali, at Oxford from 1974 until 1977.  Ordained priest at Oxford in 1976. Taught Religious Studies and English Literature at Stonyhurst College, Lancs, from 1977 to 1981, concurrently teaching one semester per year as Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University from 1979 to 1981.
Began teaching at Heythrop in 1981 (courses in Buddhism and Hinduism) and spent 1982 in India completing Jesuit training.  Resumed to teaching at Heythrop full-time from 1982 to the present.  Senior Tutor in 1980s; Governing Body also 1980s.  1989 – began working part-time with Westminster Interfaith – diocesan agency; from 1991 as Director.  1995 moved to Cambridge to complete PhD, graduating 1998; during this time continuing some Heythrop teaching and editing the Way journals of Christian spirituality. 
I was responsible for setting up (with A O’Mahony) the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Heythrop in 2001.
From 2000 to 2012 I lived in Southall and was responsible for the work of an interreligious dialogue centre, De Nobili House, and for co-ordinating this work with Heythrop.  In 2007 I set up a special outreach course between Heythrop and Southall called Faiths Together that aimed to train people of faith for work in interreligious relations. 
Senior Lecturer 2007; Reader 2009; Professor 2012. 
I have enjoyed sabbaticals and research leave which have enabled me to complete various articles and six books – including two published in India where I have given sets of lectures and seminars.

Current teaching

Undergraduate: Theology of Jewish-Christian Relations (with J Gorsky) plus various contributions to other courses;
Postgraduate: Theology of religions and interreligious relations;
Research degrees; as Dean I am responsible for research skills sessions and I also convene the professional doctorate programme (DPT) and teach on the MRes degree in Pastoral Studies (with J Sweeney).

Research Interests

Additional Areas of Interest

  • Theology of religions and religious studies; Relationship between Christianity and other religions; Inter-faith spirituality; Philosophical and hermeneutical issues in the history and theology of religions; Indian philosophy and religion


Show all Publications

Conference Papers

There are no conferences to display for this user.

Other information

Away from Heythrop, Michael enjoys cricket (mainly watching these days), theatre and opera.