Gerald McKenny

Gerald  McKenny

Endowed Professor
Walter Professor of Theology
Moral Theology/Christian Ethics


B.A., Wheaton College [Illinois] 1979;

M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary, 1982;

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1989

Research and Teaching Interests

McKenny teaches and writes on Christian ethics and the ethics of biotechnology. He is the author of To Relieve the Human Condition (SUNY Press, 1997), a Choice Outstanding Book, The Analogy of Grace: Karl Barth’s Moral Theology (Oxford University Press, 2010), and about thirty-five articles and book chapters in Christian ethics, biomedical ethics, the ethics of biotechnology, religious ethics, and the philosophy of medicine. He is co-editor of three books, including The Ethical (Blackwell, 2003) and Altering Nature (two volumes) (Springer, 2008). He is nearing the completion of a book on Christian ethics and biotechnology and has begun work on another book on eschatological political theology. Prior to coming to Notre Dame in 2001 McKenny taught at Rice University, where he served as chair of the Department of Religious Studies and as co-director of a PhD program in health care ethics linking Rice with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. At Notre Dame he served as director of the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values for eight years.

Recent Publications


Ed. With Phillip R. Sloan and Kathleen K. Eggleson. 2015. Darwin in the Twenty-first Century: Nature, Humanity, and God. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

2010. The Analogy of Grace: Karl Barth’s Moral Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ed. with Baruch A. Brody and B. Andrew Lustig. 2008. Alterin Nature, vol. 1: Convepts of 'Nature' and the 'Natural' in Biotechnology Debates, and vol. 2: Religion, Biotechnology, and Public Policy. New York: Springer Science Press.

Ed. with Edith Wyschogrod. 2003. The Ethical. New York: Blackwell Publishers.

1997. To Relieve the Human Condition: Bioethics, Technology, and the Body. New York: State University of New York Press.

Ed. with Jonathan R. Sande. 1994. Theological Analyses of the Clinical Encounter. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Press.

Book Chapters:

2016. “Karl Barth and the Plight of Protestant Ethics,” in Freedom of a Christian Ethicist, edited by Brian Brock and Michael Mawson, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2016, pp. 17-38

2015. “Freed by God for God: Human Agency in Karl Barth’s Evangelical Theology and other Late Writings,” in Karl Barth in America: The 50th Anniversary of Barth’s Evangelical Theology, edited by Bruce McCormack and Clifford Anderson, pp. 119-38. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

2014. “Karl Barth’s Concept of Responsibility,” in 'Kein Mensch, der der Verantwortungentgehen könnte'. Verantwortungsethik in theologischer, philosophischer und religionswissenschaftlicher Perspektive, edited by Jürgen Boomgaarden and Martin Leiner, pp. 67-93. Herder-Verlag.

2011. “Transcendence, Technological Enhancement, and Christian Theology,” inTranshumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement, edited by Ronald Cole-Turner, pp. 177-92 Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

2011. “Transcendence, Technological Enhancement, and Christian Theology,” in Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement, edited by Ronald Cole-Turner, 177-92. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press.

2009. “Nature as Given, Nature as Guide, Nature as Natural Kinds: Return to Nature in the Ethics of Human Biotechnology,” in Without Nature? A New Condition for Theology, edited by David Albertson & Cabell King,152-77. New York: Fordham University Press.

2009. “Moral Disagreement and the Limits of Reason: Reflections on MacIntyre and Ratzinger,” in Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alasdair MacIntyre and Critics, edited by Lawrence Cunningham, 195-226. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.



2013. “Biotechnology and the Normative Significance of Human Nature: A Contribution from Theological Anthropology,” Studies in Christian Ethics 26 (2013): 18-36.

2012. “Disability and the Christian Ethics of Solidarity,” Fu Jen International Religious Studies 6 (2012): 1-20




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