I joined Liverpool John Moores as Professor of Sociology and Head of Department/Subject Head of Sociology on September 1st, 2014. In 2022, my role was extended to be Head of People, Politics and Communication which brings together into one department, Sociology, Media, Culture and Communication, and International Relations and Politics.
Prior to coming to LJMU I held the Chair of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield (2011-14) before which I was Professor of Classical Sociology at the University of Derby (2002-2011), having previously served as Head of Department of Sociology at Derby (1996-2002). During my time at Derby I spear-headed the formation of the Society, Religion and Belief Research Group which is now a fully –fledged Research Centre at the university. I began my research and teaching career at Oxford Brookes University (1990-1996), which I joined whilst completing my graduate studies in the Faculty of Social Studies (I began in the Faculty of Theology) at Oxford University (Hertford College, 1985-1992). For my Master of Letters at Oxford I was supervised by Dr Bryan Wilson of All Souls. My first degree was in Biblical Studies from the University of Sheffield where I also received the Epworth Prize for Greek and Hebrew Translation and Exegesis.
I had the good fortune to be an undergraduate during one of the most exciting periods of the Biblical Studies department at the University of Sheffield: my teachers included David J. A. Clines, Philip R. Davies, David Gunn, David Hill, John W Rogerson, Bruce Chilton and Anthony Thiselton, and contemporary students in the graduate school included for example Mark Brett, Stephen Fowl , Stanley E Porter, and Gerald West. The interest in interdisciplinary work with the social sciences and literary studies, with global hermeneutics, and academic publishing, was a major influence on my future work.
Throughout my career I have researched in the interface between sociology and the humanities, particularly between biblical studies and the social sciences, and the history of sociology. I have held Chairs in both Biblical Studies and in Sociology during my career. My PhD (Derby) was entitled: ‘Reading Max Weber and Developing Neo-Weberian Sociology with specific reference to ancient biblical social worlds’. It was examined by Philip R Davies and John Scott.
Put simply, within sociology I make use of hermeneutics and close textual study in my analysis of the life and work of classical sociologists (especially Max Weber, Herbert Spencer, W.E.B. Dubois), combining an interest in their biographies, cultural settings, travels, and written output when researching their sociological ideas in context. I am interested in the relation between sociological, theological and literary imaginations, and the sociology of the text, both its materiality and the socio-cultural context of writers and readers.
Within biblical studies I use sociological concepts, methods and theories to reconstruct the ancient biblical social worlds and, more significantly, to sociologically examine the role of the Bible in contemporary society and culture (in the UK, in India, China and in the Pacific Islands). In the latter area I promote the development of sophisticated research methods for working in the field, including ethnography, life story capture, and visual documentation and interpretation. More recently, I have turned my attention to re-writing the history of the development and reception of the higher criticism in England and India in the light of contextual and decolonial approaches, with a particular focus on the life and work of Thomas Kelly Cheyne (1841-1915), and the works of European missionaries and Indian scholars, and educationalists like Charlotte Mason.
Most of my current projects are related to the history of sociology, and much of my current research is archive based, making full use of original manuscripts, diaries, maps, and letters to reconstruct detailed and embodied accounts of the sociological imagination. I am also a private collector of materials relating to the history of sociology. My most recent publications in this area include a study of Herbert Spencer’s travels in Egypt 1879-1880 (see publications). I have also recently published work on the educationalist Charlotte Mason and her attitudes to religious education.
I was the founder of the Max Weber Study Group of the BSA in 1989. From the networks established I was co-founder of the international journal Max Weber Studies, and co-edited the first 3 volumes before moving to the editorial board to concentrate on the editing of the monograph series, Rethinking Classical Sociology, and the International Library of Classical Sociology (edited with Alan Sica) for Ashgate (now discontinued after some 14 volumes). I also have served on the editorial board of The Journal of Tribal Studies, the only non-Indian to do so. I also am the series founder and editor of the Phoenix Press monograph series, The Bible and Social Science (now discontinued)
Some of the published output relating to these projects include: D.J. Chalcraft and Austin Harrington (eds.) The Protestant Ethic Debate: Max Weber’s Replies to Critics, 1907-1910, (Liverpool University Press, 2001); D.J. Chalcraft (ed.), Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances (London: Equinox, 2007); D.J. Chalcraft et al (eds.), Max Weber Matters (Ashgate, 2009), and Chalcraft, Uhlenbruch and Watson (eds.), Methods, Theories, Imagination: Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies (Sheffield Phoenix 2014).
I was PI on the British Academy project (2013-2016) Developing Ethnographic Methods for Biblical Studies In India (The International Mobility and Partner scheme). The findings are now published in Chalcraft and Angami eds. Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies (Routledge, 2023)- an earlier version was published in India by Christian World Imprints, New Delhi in 2021. Both volumes carry over 30 photographs taken in the field, a somewhat new departure for biblical studies, with the Indian edition printing colour photographs and the English edition black and white.
International Perspectives and Comparative Work
I have always been interested in promoting international perspectives in my work and pursuing comparative work, often working with colleagues from overseas. Global hermeneutics in biblical studies is a major concern.
I have held a Leverhulme Advanced Studentship to be visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg (improving my German language skills and researching the novels of Max Weber’s maternal uncle and Professor of Church History at Heidelberg, Adolf Hausrath), have been a guest of the Collegium for Advanced Studies at University of Helsinki, held a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Zhejiang University, China and been Visiting Professor at United Theological College in Bangalore, India. I have delivered invited lectures in New York at New School for Social Research, and in India, including at UTC, Bangalore, the University of Madras, Chennai, and Eastern Theological College, Assam. In China I have given invited lectures at Nanjing University, at Shanghai University, and given a keynote address to the Oceania Biblical Studies Association Conference in Samoa.
I have supervised doctoral students, and examined a number of doctorates (at Oxford, Glasgow, Sheffield), in a range of areas related to my research interests and welcome applications to work with me in the following areas in particular:
-the history of sociology
-life, work and legacy of classical sociology
-classical sociologists and death
-death, dying and bereavement
- sociology of religion
- ethnography of reading sacred scriptures
- researching the personal
- social scientific biblical criticism
2010, University of Derby, United Kingdom, PhD
1992, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Master of Letters
1985, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, BA (Hons) Biblical Studies
Chalcraft DJ, Elton-Chalcraft S, Ackroyd R, Jones H. 2023. Reading Charlotte Mason’s The Saviour of the World in Past and Present Contexts: Biblical Studies in the Home and in the Classroom Smidgen Press. Creek Ferry Landing, Mckinney TX 75101.
Chalcraft DJ, Uhlenbruch F, Watson RS. 2014. Methods, Theories, Imagination Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies 9781909697362
Menendez ML, Howell MF, Vera MH, Chalcraft PD. 2012. Max Weber Matters Interweaving Past and Present Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 9781409491484
Chalcraft DJ. 2004. Sectarianism in early Judaism: Sociological advances :1-267 9781845530839
Chalcraft DJ, Harrington A. 2001. The Protestant Ethic Debate Max Weber's Replies to His Critics, 1907-1910 Liverpool University Press 9780853239765
Chalcraft DJ. 1997. Social-scientific Old Testament Criticism A&C Black 9781850758136
Chalcraft D. 2023. Death of Society and Self on the Nile: Herbert Spencer in Egypt 1879-1880 kennedy V. Discourses of Travel, Exploration, and European Power in Egypt from 1750 To 1956 :179-200 Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Newcastle 9781527590540
Ravela JK, Chalcraft DJ. 2023. Encountering the Bible: Listening to the Voices of Madiga Christians Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies: A Biblical Masala :190-211 9781032383491 DOI Publisher Url
Chalcraft DJ. 2023. English and Indian Readings of Naboth’s Vineyard: The Role of Identity and Context in the Sociological Meaning and Use of Biblical Texts1 Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies: A Biblical Masala :77-123 9781032383491 DOI Publisher Url
Chalcraft D, Elton-Chalcraft S. 2022. Decolonizing Christian Education in India? Navigating the complexities of Hindu Nationalism and BJP Education Policy The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religious Education in the Global South Bloomsbury. London 9781350105829
Chalcraft D. 2021. Strategies past, present and future: The Context and Variety of Biblical Studies in Indian Culture and Society Chalcraft DJ, Angami Z. A Biblical Masala: Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies :31-77 Christian World Imprints. New Delhi DOI Publisher Url
Chalcraft D. 2021. English and Indian Readings of Naboth's Vineyard: The Role of Identity and Context in the Sociological Meaning and Use of Biblical Text Chalcraft DJ, Angami Z. A Biblical Masala: Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies :78-125 Christian World Imprints. New Delhi
Chalcraft D, Ravela JK. 2021. Encountering the Bible; Listening to the Voices of Madiga Christians Chalcraft DJ, Angami Z. A Biblical Masala: Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies :195-217 Christian World Imprints. New Delhi
Chalcraft D. 2021. A Biblical Masala: An Orientation to our Book Chalcraft DJ, Angami Z. A Biblical Masala: Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies :1-30 Christian World Imprints. New Delhi DOI Publisher Url
Chalcraft D. 2019. Matthew Henry’s Exposition of Joshua 7 in Socio-legal and Sociological Perspective. Mathew Henry: The Bible. Prayer and Piety: A Tercentenary Celebration. 1 Bloomsbury 9780567670212 Publisher Url Public Url
Chalcraft DJ. 2014. THE DEVELOPMENT OF WEBER'S SOCIOLOGY OF SECTS: ENCOURAGING A NEW FASCINATION Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :26-51 9781845530839 DOI
Chalcraft DJ. 2014. SECTARIANISM IN EARLY JUDAISM: SOCIOLOGICAL ADVANCES? SOME CRITICAL SOCIOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :2-23 9781845530839 DOI
Chalcraft DJ. 2014. TOWARDS A WEBERIAN SOCIOLOGY OF THE QUMRAN SECTS Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :74-112 9781845530839 DOI
Chalcraft DJ. 2012. Jane Addams, The Devil Baby of Chicago and the Gendered Study of Memory in Biblical Studies Carstens P, Hasselbalch T, Lemche NP. Cultural Memory and Biblical Exegesis :201-225 Gorgias Press. Piscataway, New Jersey
Chalcraft DJ. 2011. Is a Comparative Sociology of (Ancient) Jewish Sects Possible? Stern S. Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History :235-286 Brill. Leiden
Chalcraft DJ. 2011. Sociology and the Book of Chronicles: Risk. Ontological Security, Moral Panics and Types of Narrative Edelman D, Zvi B. What is Authoritative for Chronicles? :197-223 Eisenbrauns. Winona Lake, Indiana
Chalcraft DJ. 2010. Herbert Spencer's Dangerous Pilgrimage: In America 1882 Shrecker S. Transatlantic Voyages: Exchange and Influence. Transatlantic travel and the development of Sociological Ideas :129-46 Ashgate
Chalcraft DJ. 2010. Is Sociology Also Among the Social Sciences? Some Personal Reflections on Sociological Approaches in Biblical Studies Pfoh E. Anthropology and the Bible: Critical Perspectives :35-71 Gorgias Press. Piscataway, New Jersey
Chalcraft DJ. 2009. Towards a Sociology of Bible Promise Box Use Evans C, Zacharias D. Jewish and Christian Scripture as Artifact and Canon T&T Clark and Continuum
Chalcraft DJ. 2008. Why hermeneutics, the text(s) and the biography of the work matter in max weber studies Max Weber Matters: Interweaving Past and Present :17-40 9780754673408
Chalcraft DJ, Howell FJ, Menendez ML, Vera H. 2008. Series editors' preface 9780754673408
Chalcraft DJ. 2008. Introduction: Interweaving past and present :1-14 9780754673408
Chalcraft DJ. 2007. Max Weber Key Sociologists: The Formative Theorists :203-208 Routledge. London
Chalcraft DJ. 2007. Towards a Weberian Sociology of the Qumran Sects Chalcraft DJ. Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :74-105 Equinox. London
Chalcraft DJ. 2007. Weber's treatment of Sects in Ancient Judaismn: The Pharisees and the Essenes Chalcraft DJ. Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :52-73 Equionx. London
Chalcraft DJ. 2007. The Development of Weber's Sociology of Sects: Encouraging a new fascination Chalcraft D. Sectarianism in Early Judaism: Sociological Advances :26-51 Equinox. London
Chalcraft DJ. 2004. Comparative Sociology on Israel: Herbert Spencer's Contribution Lawrence L. Anthropology and Biblical Studies: Avenues of Research Deo
Chalcraft DJ. 2002. Max Weber on the Watchtower: On the prophetic Use of Shakespeare's Sonnet 102 in 'Politics as a Vocation' Rowland C, Barton J. Apocalyptic in History and Tradition :253-270 Continuum. Sheffield Publisher Url
Chalcraft DJ. 1998. Love and Death: Weber, Wagner and Max Klinger Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy :196-213 Macmillan. Basingstoke
Chalcraft DJ. 1994. Bringing the Text Back In: On Ways of Reading the Iron Cage Metaphor in the two editions of The Protestant Ethic Ray L, Reed M. Organizing Modernity: New Weberian Perspectives on Work, Organization and Society Organizing Modernity: New Weberian Perspectives on work, organization and society :16-45 Routledge. London
Chalcraft DJ. 1990. Deviance and Legitimate Action in the Book of Judges Clines DJA. The Bible in Three Dimensions :177-201 Sheffield Academic Press. Sheffield
Editorial/letter to the editor
Chalcraft DJ, Angami Z. 2023. Preface Encountering Diversity in Indian Biblical Studies: A Biblical Masala, :xiv-xv
Chalcraft D. 2021. Ehud, Stigma and the Management of Spoiled Identity: A Sociological Retelling of Judges 3:12-31 with Goffman as Conversation Partner Postscripts: the journal of sacred texts and contemporary worlds, 11 :201-236 DOI Publisher Url Public Url
Chalcraft DJ. 2005. Reading Weber's patterns of response to critics of the protestant ethic: Some 'affinities' in and between replies to Felix Rachfabl and Werner Sombart Journal of Classical Sociology, 5 :31-51 DOI Publisher Url
Chalcraft DJ. 2001. The Lamentable Chain of Misunderstanding: Weber's Debate with H.Karl Fischer Max Weber Studies, 2 :65-80