Prof Michael Barnes SJ

Picture of Prof Michael Barnes SJ

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 teaching at Heythrop full-time from 1982 . 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.
Responsible for setting up the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Heythrop in 2001. From 2000 to 2012 lived in Southall and directed the work of an interreligious dialogue centre, De Nobili House, co-ordinating this with Heythrop. In 2007 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. Publications include Religions in Conversation SPCK 1989), Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (CUP 2002), Interreligious Learning (CUP 2012), two books published in India based on seminars and lectures there (Walking the City and Traces of the Other, both 1998) and various articles on interreligious relations, theology of religions and comparative theology. Currently working on Waiting on Grace: a Theology of Dialogue, to be published by OUP in 2019.

From 2017 enjoying part-time writing, research and teaching at the University of Roehampton and a Research Associate position at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.