Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Carmichael


My first career was in medicine, training at Oxford and St Thomas’s, working for a year on the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and then for seven years,1975-81 at Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, South Africa. During this time I was also active in multi-racial encounter and reconciliation projects. After a second BA and a DPhil in Theology on the use of the language of friendship to describe agape, I worked in spirituality, theological education, peacebuilding and community development in the Diocese of Johannesburg 1991-96, serving on peace committees and training peace monitors under the National Peace Accord 1992-94. I was Chaplain, Fellow and Tutor in Theology at St John's College, 1996-2011, teaching New Testament (Gospels), systematic theology, ethics, and spirituality. I led regular theological Study tours to Israel/Palestine. Since 2011 I have been an Emeritus Research Fellow at St John's College. I am External Examiner for the MA in Reconciliation and MA in Reconciliation and Peacebuilding, at the University of Winchester.

Research Area(s):

Biblical Studies: New Testament

Christian and Religious Ethics

Historical and Systematic Theology

Research Interests:

My research interests are in practical theology and in particular in peacemaking and peacebuilding, and in Christian spirituality. In 2004 I published Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love, a history of the interpretation of 'agape' as friendship-love in the western Christian tradition. I have given conference papers on topics relating to friendship, peacemaking and spirituality. 
I have spent the past few years doing extensive research on the South African National Peace Accord and the work of its peace committees in the transition period 1991-1994, in which the churches were significant partners and on which a book is in process of publication.

Research Centres & Projects:

I am a founder member and Convener of the multi-disciplinary Oxford Network of Peace Studies (OxPeace), attached to the Centre for International Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations, which promotes the study of peace, peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping in Oxford and beyond, through an annual conference, training workshops and research seminars. Many resulting papers are available online.
I am the Christian team leader for the ‘Three Faiths Encounter’ which brings together members of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths to learn about each other and experience the worship and ceremonies of each faith. 
I am the Director of the St Theosevia Centre for Christian Spirituality, which normally holds regular Study Days promoting understanding between Christians of Eastern and Western traditions.



Publications & Research Outputs:

Various papers, talks, dictionary articles and reviews on friendship, peacebuilding, Christian spirituality and ecumenical and inter-faith encounter.

Friendship: Interpreting Christian Love (London: T&T Clark/Continuum, now Bloomsbury, 2004).
Book in process of publication: Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in South Africa: the National Peace Accord, 1991-1994. (Woodbridge: James Currey, Boydell and Brewer, expected publication May 2022).
My research will now focus on the life and work of the Anglican priest and spiritual director Reginald Somerset Ward (1881-1962), with the aim of producing a book.

Select Publications