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Irving Hexham, BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Pronouns: he/him

Contact information

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-3280

For media enquiries, contact

Email: hexham@ucalgary,ca


Educational Background

B.A. (Hons) Religious Studies, University of Lancaster, 1970

M.A. with commendation Religious Studies and Theology , University of Bristol, 1972

Doctor of Philosophy History, University of Bristol, 1976


Irving left school at fifteen to serve a six year apprentice gas fitter with the North Western Gas Board in Stockport, England. After completing his apprenticeship, he moved into management before becaming a lecturer in Gas Technology at what is now Trafford College in Stretford. An evangelical conversion at the age of eighteen triggered a series of events that dramatically changed his life and wrenched him out of his working class environment. Subsequently he studied for university admission by correspondence and eventually obtained his BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of Lancaster where he worked with Ninian Smart and Edward Conze.

From Lancaster he moved to the University of Bristol where he was supervised by Fred (F. B.) Welbourn for and MA in Religious Studies and Theology. This was awarded "with commendation." He then worked for a PhD in African history with Kenneth Ingham and Welbourn. His MA thesis was the first British study of the New Age Movement while his PhD dealt with the origins of apartheid as an ideology.

He has published thirty books and monographs, and worked as a general editor on another ten, in addition to publishing over one hundred and fifty-nine academic articles and chapters in books. His books include including The Irony of Apartheid (1981), A Concise Dictionary of Religion (1993), New Religions as Global Cultures (1997), The Scriptures of the amaNazaretha of Ekuphakameni (1994), The Story of Isaiah Shembe (1996), Understanding World Religions (2011), and Encountering World Religions (2019), He has published numerous academic articles and book reviews as well as a series of more popular travel books dealing with Christian Europe.

Currently, he is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary in Canada and an elected Fellow of both the Royal Anthropological Institute and Royal Historical Society of Britain. He is listed in Who's Who in Canada.


Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
RELS 200 LEC 01 01 Religious Myths & Worldviews 2021
RELS 349 LEC 01 01 Religion and Politics 2021
RELS 200 LEC 01 01 Religious Myths & Worldviews 2020


  • Keynote Speaker for the Korean Association of Religious Studies, 2015
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Liverpool Hope University. 2010
  • Fellow Royal Historical Society, 2010
  • Listed in "Who's Who in Canada", 2010
  • Fellow, 2008
  • Festschrift: Border Crossings. Exprorations of an Interdisciplinary Historian. , Edited by Ulrich van der Heyden and Andreas Feldkeller, Humboldt University zu Berlin. . 2008
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Liverpool Hope University. 2005
  • Listed in "Who's Who in Canada", 2005
  • "Christinaity Today" Book Award, 2005
  • Listed in "Who's Who in Canada", 2004
  • Fellow of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, 2000
  • Who's Who in Canada, 1996
  • Fellow Royal Anthropological Institute, 1976
  • M.A. awarded "with commendation", University of Bristol. 1972


  • “Creating community in a time of crisis: Mission and development among members of the Reformed Church in South Africa.” . Irving Hexham. In Michael Eckardt ed. "Mission Afrika: Geschichtsschreibung über Grenzen hinweg. "Franz Steiner Verlag. 73-86. (2019)
  • “Groups, Grids, and Gardens: Reflections on the importance of structure in higher education. A tribute to the vision of Professor Gerald Pillay.” . Irving Hexham. Hoffie Hofmeyer and John Stenhouse, eds., "Internationalising Higher Education," Highveld Press. 177-86. (2018)
  • A Historian's Pilgrimage: Frank Eyeck's Memoirs and Reflections. Editors Rosemarie Eyck and Irving Hexham. Vogelstein Press. 500. (2013)
  • The Evangelical Dictionary of World Religions. Editors: Wayne House with Irving Hexham. Baker Books. 597. (2018)
  • Encountering World Religions. Irving Hexham. Zondervan (Harper & Row). 223. (2019)
  • Understanding World Religions. Grand Rapids, Zondervan. 512. (2011)
  • The Irony of Apartheid. Irving Hexham. Lewistion: Edwin Mellen Press. 237. (1981)
  • The Scriptures of the Amanazaretha of Ekuphakameni. Editor Irving Hexham with Londa Shembe translator Hans Jürgen-Becken. Calgary: Calgary University Press. 144. (1994)
  • The Story of Isaiah Shembe. Irving Hexham with Hans Jürgen-Becken and G. C. Oosthuissen. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. 258. (1996)