Professor Brian Stanley (MA PhD)

Professor Emeritus of World Christianity


Brian Stanley read history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and stayed on in Cambridge for his PhD on the place of missionary enthusiasm in Victorian religion.  He has taught in theological colleges and universities in London, Bristol, and Cambridge, and from 1996 to 2001 was Director of the Currents in World Christianity Project in the University of Cambridge.  He was a Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, from 1996 to 2008, and joined the University of Edinburgh in January 2009.

Professor Stanley has written or edited nine published books and numerous articles, mostly in the field of the history of Christian missions and world Christianity.  His most recent book is Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A World History (Princeton University Press, 2018). He is currently working on two edited volumes: a collection of lectures by the late Professor Andrew F. Walls on the history of the missionary movement from the West (Wm. B. Eerdmans), and a multi-disciplinary collection on Christianity and Empire Revisited (Brill).


MA, PhD (Cantab.)

Responsibilities & affiliations

External appointments

Member of editorial board and former Editor, Studies in World Christianity (Edinburgh University Press).

Joint series editor, Studies in the History of Christian Missions (Wm. B. Eerdmans).

Member of editorial board, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University Press.

Undergraduate teaching

I no longer teach undergraduate courses

Postgraduate teaching

I no longer teach at Masters level.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

As I will be retiring fully from the University in August 2023, I am no longer accepting new PhD students.



Current PhD students supervised

Christina Li, 'The varying responses of Protestant churches to social and political changes in Hong Kong, 1967-1997'

Dongjun Seo, 'Beyond Denominational Boundaries: An Investigation into the Nature, Extent, Characteristics, and Limitations of Commitment to Christian Unity among Evangelicals in South Korea, 1961-1994'

Victoria Turner, 'The Iona Community and the Council for World Mission'

Research summary

More information about research projects by Professor Stanley are available on his Edinburgh Research Explorer profile.

Current research interests

I continue to work on the history of Western Protestant missions and their reception by indigenous peoples. I have particular interests in the complex relationships between Christian missions, race, and imperialism.

Affiliated research centres

View all 125 publications on Research Explorer