Seton Hall University
Commencement 2013

Father Ian Ker 001Father Ian Ker

Father Ian Ker was born in India in 1942. His maternal grandfather was a first cousin to Ronald Knox, the brilliant English classicist, author, and broadcaster who converted to Catholicism and was ordained a priest. Ker was received into the Catholic Church in 1965 while studying at Oxford. He received a BA in classics and philosophy from Oxford and a Ph.D. in English literature from Cambridge. He also has honorary doctorates from Leicester and Toronto Universities.

Between 1969 and 1974 Ker taught English literature at York University. He was ordained a priest for the Portsmouth diocese in 1979. He worked as an assistant priest for two years in an inner city parish in Southampton. In 1982 he was appointed Catholic Chaplain to Southampton University. Between 1987 and 1989 he held the Endowed Chair in Philosophy and Theology at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. In 1989 he was appointed Senior Catholic Chaplain to the University of Oxford. In 1993 he was appointed the Dean of Graduate Studies at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham. At the same time, he became the pastor of a small parish 20 miles from Oxford. In 1995 he became a member of the Oxford theology faculty and a tutor at Campion Hall. In 2007 he was appointed a senior research fellow at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford. In 2011 he moved to Blackfriars, Oxford, as a senior research fellow. He remains the pastor of Burford parish in the Cotswolds.

Father Ker is the author and editor of 27 books. The majority of these are works about John Henry Newman or critical editions of Newman’s works. Ker is generally considered the world’s leading authority on John Henry Newman. He is the editor of the Oxford critical editions of The Idea of a University (1976) and An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (1985), as well as co-editor of The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, vols. 1-4 (1978-80). In 1989 Oxford University published his John Henry Newman: A Biography. Generally considered the standard biography, it has been re-issued in three different paperback formats. On Newman, Ker also authored The Achievement of John Henry Newman (1990), Newman on Being a Christian (1990), Newman and the Fullness of Christianity (1993), and Healing the Wound of Humanity: The Spirituality of John Henry Newman (1993).

Ker is also the author of The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845-1961 (2003) and Mere Catholicism (2006). In 2011 Oxford University Press published his massive G. K. Chesterton: A Biography, which was re-issued in paperback in 2012. Ker is also the editor of the Penguin selection of Chesterton’s Father Brown stories (2001), as well as the Everyman Library selection of Chesterton’s works (2011).

Ker has long been interested in the significance of the rise of the new ecclesial movements and communities in the Church, and in 2001 published The New Movements: A Theological Introduction.

Presently, Ker is working on a book entitled Newman on the Second Vatican Council and the Post-conciliar Church, which will be published in 2015, the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Council.

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