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Professor John Hinnells (BD, FSA, FRAS)

Professor John HinnellsJob Title: Professor of Theology

Location: AJB002

Phone No: 0151 291 3090

Faculty: Arts and Humanities




Professor John R. Hinnells joined Liverpool Hope in August 2002 after holding professorial appointments at the University of Manchester, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and the University of Derby. Professor Hinnells is a scholar of great distinction and has published widely in the area of South Asian religion, in particular the Parsis, and the comparative study of religions more widely.

In addition to his post at Hope, Professor Hinnells is a senior member of Robinson College, Cambridge and life member of Clare Hall. He continues to travel widely to pursue research, and makes an annual trip to India. Professor Hinnells was a member of the Research Assessment Exercise panel for theology and religious studies in both 1996 and 2000.

Leisure interests include, drawing, painting, photography, (classical) music, cricket, football and 'revelling in the Derbyshire countryside'.

Professor Hinnells welcomes enquiries regarding research in the area of South Asian Religions, but enquiries from suitably qualified persons wishing to pursue research in any area Zoroastrian studies are particularly welcome.


Research Interests

Research visits undertaken

In connection with Parsi studies:

Bombay, Gujarat and Delhi (2002-3, 2001-2, 1998, 1985, 1982, 1980, 1976, 1974, 1973); Pakistan (1985 and 1976); Hong Kong (1998, 1986, 1985); communities in America (2001, 2000, 1997, 1994, 1988, 1985) and Canada (2002, 1997, 1988, 1987, 1985, 1980); Australia (1988); Paris (1997), Hamburg, Bonn, Dusseldorf (1998)

In connection with the study of Mithraism:

Archaeological sites in Rome (1990, 1989, 1974, 1972, 1971); Austria and Germany (1977, 1974, 1972); Yugoslavia (1975); Israel (Caesarea Maritima 1975); Hungary (1977).

In connection with Zoroastrian studies:

Numerous visits to Iran 1971-75

Also numerous research visits to Mithraic sites and Parsi groups in Britain over 30 years.


Consultancy/editorial work with publishers


  1. Adviser to Penguin Books on Religious Studies and to Penguin Classics (non-western texts)
  2. Religious Studies advisor to Routledge.
  3. Editor Ashgate series: ‘Contemporary Thinkers on Religion: Collected Works’
  4. Manchester, later Chicago, University Press series, Sources for the Study of Religion
  5. Continuum series of University text books on Religion and the Arts
  6. Currently on the editorial board of Asian Philosophy and Journal of Contemporary Religion and Journal of Implicit Religion, 1995-


  1. Co editor of the SOAS Sherman lecture series, Harwood Academic Press (1993-6)
  2. The Manchester University Press series of research publications, Sherman Studies on Judaism in Modern Times (1989-93)
  3. Journal editor, Religion (Founding Editor), co-editor of Journal of Mithraic Studies, 1971-79, Journal of Implicit Religion, 1995-




  1. The Zoroastrian Diaspora, to be published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2005 (c. 900 pages)
  2. Zoroastrian and Parsi Studies: selected works of John R. Hinnells, Ashgate, 2000.
  3. South Asian Religions in the West: a comparative study, Joint Ed. with H. Coward and R. B. Williams, State University of New York Press, 2000
  4. Religion Health and Suffering, Joint Ed. with Roy Porter, Kegan Paul, 1999
  5. Zoroastrians in Britain, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996
  6. A New Handbook of Living Religions, (Ed.), Blackwells/ Penguin, 1996/ 98 (a substantially revised and double the size version of (11) below)
  7. A New Dictionary of Religions, (Ed.), Blackwells/ Penguin, 1995/ 1997 (a virtual rewrite of (12) below, amounting to approximately a doubling in size, from 29 to 62 contributors)
  8. Studies in Mithraism, (Ed.), L’Erma di Bretschneider, Rome, 1994
  9. Who’s Who of World Religions, (Ed.), London (Macmillan) and New York (Simon and Shuster), 1991 (Penguin paperback, 1996)
  10. Papers in Honour of Mary Boyce, (Joint Ed. with Prof. Sir Harold Bailey, A.D.H. Bivar and J. Duchesne-Guillemin) Leiden, 1985, 2 vols
  11. Penguin Handbook of Living Religions, (Ed.), London, 1985 (translated into Hebrew and Italian)
  12. Penguin Dictionary of Religions, (Ed.), London, 1984 (translated into Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Korean)
  13. Zoroastrianism and the Parsis, London, 1981 (repr. Bombay, 1996)
  14. Parsis and the British, Bombay, 1978 (4 public lectures, constituting an issue of the Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute)
  15. Spanning East and West, Open University, 1978
  16. Mithraic Studies, (Ed.), Manchester, 1975, 2 vols
  17. Persian Mythology, London, 1974 (substantially revised edition, 1985, repr. 1993)
  18. Man and His Salvation: Studies in Memory of S.G.F. Brandon, (Joint Ed. with E. J. Sharpe), Manchester, 1973
  19. Hinduism (Joint Ed. with E. J. Sharpe), London, 1972
  20. Comparative Religion in Education (Ed.), Newcastle, 1970


Brief list of selected articles/ book chapters

On the Parsis:

  1. ‘The Zoroastrian Diaspora’ in K. A. Jacobsen & P. Pratap Kumar (eds.), South Asians in the Diaspora, Leiden, E. J. Brill, 2004, pp.313-336
  2. 'Parsi diaspora religious experience: a comparative study of the British, Canadian and US experiences' in H. Coward, J. R. Hinnells and R. B. Williams (Eds.), Asian Diaspora Religious Experiences: an international comparison, State University of New York Press (pp. 35-54)
  3. 'Health and suffering in Zoroastrianism' in J.R. Hinnells and R. Porter (Eds.), Religion, Health and Suffering,' Kegan Paul, pp. 1-22,
  4. ‘M.M. Bhownagree MP, politician and Zoroastrian’, Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute, 1999, 63, pp. 60-93
  5. ‘Medicine and war in Zoroastrianism’ the Dastur Kutar Memorial Lecture, SOAS, 1999
  6. ‘Post modernism and the study of Zoroastrianism' in Festschrift for Ninian Smart, in D.Cohn -Sherbok and C. Lamb (Eds.), Middlesex University Press, 1999, pp. 156-71
  7. 'Novel religion: the presentation of religion in modern Parsi secular literature' in A. Sharma (Ed.), The Sum of our Choices, Essays in Honour of E.J. Sharpe, Atlanta, 1996, pp. 384-407
  8. ‘Modern Zoroastrian philosophy’ in B. Carr and I. Mahalingam (Eds.), Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, Routledge, 1996 pp. 64-92
  9. ‘Zoroastrians in contemporary London’ in R. Ballard (Ed.), Desh Pardesh : the South Asian Presence in Britain, London, 1995, pp. 250-70
  10. ‘The Modern Zoroastrian diaspora’ in J. Brown and R. Foot (Eds.), Migration: the Asian Experience, Macmillan, St Antony’s Series, 1994, pp. 56-82
  11. ‘South Asian diaspora communities and their religion: some comparative Parsi experiences’, South Asia Research, Vol. 14, No 1, Spring, 1994, pp. 62-109
  12. ‘Charitable foundations among Zoroastrians in Islamic times’ (with M. Boyce and S.Shahrokh) Encyclopaedia Iranica, V.4, 1991, pp. 38-85
  13. ‘Behramshah Naoroji Shroff’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IX, fasc. 1, pp. 109f
  14. ‘Bombay Zoroastrians’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IX, fasc. 4, pp. 340-346
  15. ‘Bombay Parsi Punchayet’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IX, fasc. 4, pp. 349f
  16. ‘Parsi attitudes to religious pluralism’ in H. Coward (Ed.), Indian Attitudes to Religious Pluralism, State University of New York Press, 1987, pp. 195-233
  17. ‘The flowering of Zoroastrian Benevolence: Parsi charity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ pp. 261-326 (in 6.1.10 above)
  18. ‘Social change and religious transformations among Bombay Parsis in the early twentieth century’, in P. Slater and D. Wiebe (Eds.) Traditions in Contact and Change, 1983, Winnipeg, pp. 102-25
  19. ‘The Parsis: a bibliographical survey’, Journal of Mithraic Studies, III, 1980, pp. 100-49

On Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity:

  1. ‘Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity: further considerations’ in Studi Storico- Religiosi In Onore Di Ugo Bianchi, G. Sfameni Gasparro (Ed.), Rome, 1994, pp. 305-22
  2. ‘Zoroastrian influence on the Judaeo-Christian tradition’, Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute, xlv, 1976, pp. 1-23
  3. ‘Zoroastrian saviour imagery and its influence on the New Testament’, Numen, xvi, 1969, pp. 161-85

On Roman Mithraism:

  1. ‘Studies in Mithraism: the questions asked and to be asked’, 1995, pp. 11-17
  2. ‘The iconography of Cautes and Cautopates’, Journal of Mithraic Studies, I, 1976, pp. 36-67
  3. ‘Reflections on the lion-headed figure in Roman Mithraism’, Acta Iranica, IV, 1975, pp. 333-6
  4. ‘Reflections on the bull-slaying scene’, 1975, pp. 290-312
  5. ‘The Iranian background of Mithraic iconography’, Acta Iranica, I, 1974, pp. 271-84


  1. 'Comparative reflections on South Asian religion in international migration' in Hinnells New Handbook of Living Religions, 1996, pp. 682-89 and 819-47
  2. ‘Religion and the arts’, in U. King (Ed.), Turning Points in Religion, Edinburgh, 1990, pp. 257-74
  3. ‘The Zoroastrian doctrine of salvation in the Roman world: a study of the Oracle of Hystaspes’, in Hinnells and Sharpe, Man and His Salvation, 1973, pp. 125-48
  4. Some 90 more popular articles, on Zoroastrianism and the Parsis e.g. in The Penguin Dictionary of Religions; J. Bowker’s Oxford Dictionary of Religions; Penguin Who’s Who of Religions, Encyclopaedias, and Parsi publications

Substantial books/articles in active preparation or in-press

Bombay Parsis: their history and religion in British India (1662-1947) written jointly with a Bombay high priest, Dastur [=Very Revd.] Dr. Kaikhusroo JamaspAsa. Expected completion date, December 2005.


Edited books

  1. Companion to the Study of Religion, Routledge, 300,000 word edited work on theoretical approaches to the study of religion. Easter 2005, (writing 2 chapters) [In press]
  2. Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Religion, Cambridge University Press and Penguin Books, 250,000 words, ms handed over to publisher December 2001, publication 2005 [In press]
  3. Islamic Mysticism in the West with Jamal Malik, Curzon. [In press]
  4. Religion and Violence in South Asia with Richard King, Routledge [handover November 2004]
  5. From Generation to Generation: a comparative study of South Asian patterns of settlement in the West, Macmillan, handover May 2005 (based on a SOAS workshop I organised).


  1. ‘Iranian myths and legends’ (16,000 words) Encyclopaedia Iranica, Columbia University [in press]
  2. ‘Religion and the Arts’ in Hinnells, Companion to the Study of Religions [in press]
  3. ‘Why study religions?’ in Hinnells, Companion to the Study of Religions [in press]
  4. ‘The Parsis in India’ and ‘Parsi Diaspora’ (16,000 words) in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Columbia University [in preparation]

Appointments held

  • Liverpool Hope University College, Professor of Comparative Religion
  • Research Professor, University of Derby, 1998- 2002
  • Professor of Comparative Religion in the University of London and founding Head of the Department for the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies 1993 - 1998
  • Manchester, 1970 - 93. Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Manchester, Jan. 1, 1987 - Dec. 31,1988; Professor 1984 - 93; Senior Lecturer, 1981- 84; Lecturer, 1970 - 81
  • Visiting Senior Lecturer in the History of Religions, the Open University, 1975 - 77
  • Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1967-70


Honours/ non stipendiary appointments

  1. Visiting Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1998-2008
  2. Bye-Fellow, Robinson College, Cambridge, 1999-2000, elected Senior Member, 2000 -
  3. Honorary Professor, University of Stirling, 1998 -
  4. Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1997-98, Life Member 1998-
  5. Visiting Professor, University of Derby, 1997-98
  6. Ratanbai Katrak Lecturer, the Oriental Institute, Oxford, seven public lectures, 1986
  7. Shann Lecturer, The University of Hong Kong, four public lectures, Autumn, 1986
  8. Visiting Lecturer, History of Religions Department, Uppsala University, 1976
  9. Government Research Fellowship Lecturer, Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay, 1975
  10. K.R. Cama Memorial Lecturer, Bombay, 1972


External Research responsibilities

  1. Member of the British Academy/ AHRB Research Awards Panel, 1997-2000
  2. Member of the Research Assessment Panel for Theology and Religious Studies, 1996 & 2001
  3. Member of the British Academy’s Society of South Asian Studies Research and publications panel, 1998-2001


In Societies/ Associations

  1. President of the Association of University Departments of Theology and Religious Studies (AUDTRS) Jan. 1st, 1997 - 2000
  2. Co-Chair (With Prof. F. Young, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Birmingham) of the Benchmarking Panel for Theology and Religious Studies, 2000
  3. Member of Council for the British Academy’s Society of South Asian Studies, 1997 - 2000
  4. Member of Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1997 - 99
  5. Member of the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies, 1985 - 91
  6. Secretary General of the Society for Mithraic Studies, 1971-79
  7. Founding Secretary of the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education, 1968- 75


Workshops/ conferences convened

  1. Convenor of 2 Research workshops at SOAS and 2 at Derby listed under edited publications
  2. Convenor of the Religion Section of the Annual Anglo-American Historical Association conference, Senate House, London, 1996
  3. Convenor (with Prof. U. Bianchi) of the fourth International Conference of Mithraic Studies, Rome, 1990
  4. Chairman of UNESCO and International Sociological Association, workshop on ‘Religion and Human Rights,’ Dubrovnik, 1985
  5. Convenor of the Second International Congress of Mithraic Studies, Tehran, 1975 (Brill, 1980)
  6. Convenor of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies, Manchester, 1971 (Manchester University Press, 1975)