Denys Turner works mainly in two distinct fields: that of the medieval traditions of Christian theology and in the philosophy of religion, and, in both connections, on issues of theological epistemology. He began an academic career as a philosophy major in University College, Dublin, took his D.Phil in Oxford University in moral theory and taught successively in University College, Dublin, Bristol University, Birmingham University where he was HG Wood Professor of Theology, Cambridge University where he was elected Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, and finally as Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology at Yale, from which position he has this year finally and fully retired.
Moral, political and social theory preoccupying him in the first half of his academic career, he published Marxism and Christianity in 1983; in the second and longer part of his publishing career, his attention turned to issues of medieval biblical hermeneutics (Eros and Allegory, 1995), mystical theology (Darkness of God, 1995), the philosophy of religion (Faith, Reason and the Existence of God, 2004) and two monographs of intellectual history, Julian of Norwich, Theologian (2011) and Thomas Aquinas, A Portrait (2013). Currently in semi-retirement he is Senior Investigator in a collaborative research project of the Catholic University of Australia on Atheism, and is working on a book on the connections and disconnects between modern and contemporary forms of denial of God and negative theologies in the classical traditions. Publishing books is fine, he believes, but teaching is best and is properly the principal business of university academics.