Daniel W. Hardy

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Daniel Wayne Hardy (November 9, 1930 – November 15, 2007) was an ordained Anglican theologian.

His contributions

One of his closest friends describes him as “a pastor's pastor – seeing light in the other, light as attractiveness in and with the other. He is a pastor of others within the Eucharist; within the Anglican Communion, pastor on behalf of Abrahamic communions and to human communities more generally.... all of whom he sees lit up by (the) divine attractiveness itself.... the great cosmic and ecclesial and divine communion of lights which draws him to it and to us and draws us to be near him.” (Peter Ochs)

His vocation has been primarily about the seeking of God’s wisdom. It has been prophetic insofar as it has attempted to engage more deeply with life in all its particularity. It has been priestly in tracing that prophetic wisdom to its source in the divine intensity of love and in seeking to mediate that love through the church for the whole world, concentratedly in the Eucharist: light and love together.

Secondly his vocation is a tribute to the thinker who has perhaps more than any other been his teacher and inspiration over many decades, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He recognized that Coleridge engaged deeply with God and most aspects of God’s creation – intellectually, imaginatively, practically, spiritually, emotionally and through much personal suffering. Above all Coleridge responded in all those ways to the attraction of the divine. He discerned the Word and the Spirit endlessly present, active and innovative lifting the world from within, raising it into its future - giving us a huge hope in God and God’s future, and inviting us intensively and unremittingly to participate in that, as we are drawn through divine love into levels of existence of which we can hardly begin to imagine or dare to dream.

His career

The genesis of his vocation to ordination lay in his years as a student in Haverford College and in the finding of himself before God that was encouraged and enabled by participation in its regular Quaker worship. The rhythm and pattern of worship of General Theological Seminary, then built on this and was the most formative thing during his time as a student there. It was a daily invitation to go deeper into the intensity of God, an attraction that has perhaps been the most fundamental dynamic of his life.

His title post (served in Christ Episcopal Church, Greenwich, Connecticut) added a second key dynamic. This is exemplified best through his engagement with a group of young people - beginning with what really mattered and was significant for them, and then trusting, discerning and helping them to recognise the source and energy of life (God's Spirit) already at work within their lives - (and) making the deep connections with the truth of the Gospel. They were hungry for this and the group began to thrive in just a short space of time. The curacy culminated in helping to design the new daughter church of St Barnabas, strengthening an interest in architecture that in later years has proved fruitful again and again both with actual buildings and with the architectonics of theology and institutions.

He returned to General Theological Seminary as a fellow and tutor for two years, accompanied by his wife Perrin, who, together with their growing family, grew to be the cantus firmus of his life. The experience of teaching and a sense of the crying need for theological thinking led to further study in Oxford University. Yet that was in many ways a painful disappointment, finding a theology that was too influenced by positivist philosophy and rarely confident enough to explore the depths and wonders of God and God’s ways with the world.

The twenty-one years that followed were spent teaching in the University of Birmingham. The 'golden thread' of those rich and varied years was the pursuit of a theology that might give dedicated attention both to the intensity of God and to the way the world is, especially as described, interpreted and explained by theologians, philosophers and scientists since the sixteenth century. Exploring and testing their thought was a slow and often lonely task, but for several hours each week there was intensive conversation with the colleague who became his son-in-law, David F. Ford.

Moving to the Van Mildert Professor of Divinity in Durham University and a canon in Durham Cathedral brought him back to a combination of daily worship with academic work. If he were to choose just one key element in those years it would be the fresh, multifaceted involvement in ecclesiology that this has remained at the forefront of his thinking ever since.

He recrossed the Atlantic to be Director of the Princeton Center of Theological Inquiry for five years. Much of his time there was spent in rethinking the Center (along lines now happily being pursued by the current Director) and in working closely with individual members from many disciplines and many countries. But, judged in terms of long-term results, it is probably the relationship with one member, the Jewish philosopher Peter Ochs of the University of Virginia, that was the most fruitful. Peter, David F. Ford (of University of Cambridge) and he have spent much time over many years since the early 1990s working together with others developing the practice of Scriptural Reasoning, the shared study of our scriptures by Jews, Christians and Muslims.[1]

His involvement in the 1998 Lambeth Conferences and participation in some of the Primates' meetings during the years that followed made him long for a reconciliatory imagination and practice centred on scripture and nurturing a deeper and richer sociality, touching healingly the depths of each person.

In October 2007, he received an honorary doctorate recognizing him for his life work from the General Theological Seminary.


He died from a glioblastoma.


  • Living in Praise: Worshipping and Knowing God (with David F. Ford) (Nov. 2005)
  • God's Ways With the World (Academic Paperback) (Mar. 2005)
  • Finding the Church: The Dynamic Truth of Anglicanism (Feb. 2002)
  • God's Ways With the World: Thinking and Practicing Christian Faith (Sep. 1996)
  • On Being the Church: Essays on the Christian Community (with Colin Gunton)(Feb. 1989)
  • Praising and Knowing God by Daniel W. Hardy (with David F. Ford) (May 1985)
  • Jubilate: Theology in Praise (with David F. Ford) (Paperback - Sep 1984)


  1. ^ [1] Archived 2008-12-19 at the Wayback Machine.
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