Gerald McKenny

Gerald  McKenny

Endowed Professor
Walter Professor of Theology and Director of Doctoral Program
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 Biotechnology, Human Nature and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) along with many 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 four books, including The Ethical (Blackwell, 2003), Altering Nature (two volumes) (Springer, 2008), and Darwin in the Twenty-first Century (Notre Dame, 2015). He is currently finishing a second book on Karl Barth's ethics and has begun work on a one-volume Christian ethics. 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 Ph.D. 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


Forthcoming. Biotechnology, Human Nature and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2015. Ed. With Phillip R. Sloan and Kathleen K. Eggleson. 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.

2008. Ed. with Baruch A. Brody and B. Andrew Lustig. Altering 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.

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.


2017. “Finitude, Freedom, and Biomedicine: An Engagement with Gilbert Meilaender’s Bioethics,” Studies in Christian Ethics

2016. “The Strength to Be Patient” (co-authored with Stanley Hauerwas), Christian Bioethics 22: 5-20

2015. “Creation, Evolution, and Biotechnology: Can Christian Conceptions of Created Order Rule Out Biotechnological Alteration of Human Nature?” Toronto Journal of Theology 31: 15-26

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


443 Malloy Hall