Frank Leslie Cross
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Frank Leslie Cross

F. L. Cross

Frank Leslie Cross

(1900-01-22)22 January 1900
Honiton, England
Died30 December 1968(1968-12-30) (aged 68)
Oxford, England
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Anglican)
ChurchChurch of England
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisThe Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and His School[1] (1930)
Academic work
School or traditionHigh-church Anglicanism[2]
InstitutionsChrist Church, Oxford

Frank Leslie Cross FBA (1900-1968) was an English patristics scholar and Anglican priest. He was the founder of the Oxford International Conference on Patristic Studies and editor (with Elizabeth Livingstone) of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (first edition, 1957).[3] He was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1944 to 1968.


Cross was born in Honiton on 22 January 1900 to the pharmacist Herbert Francis Cross and his wife Louisa Georgina.[4] The family moved to Bournemouth whilst he was a child, where he won the Domus scholarship for natural science at Balliol College, Oxford, taking honours in chemistry and crystallography and then, in 1922, following tuition at Keble College, Oxford, first-class honours in theology. He studied in Marburg and Freiburg im Breisgau, taking a Doctor of Philosophy degree at Oxford in 1930[5] with a dissertation on Edmund Husserl. He became an ordinand of Ripon College Cuddesdon in 1923 and was ordained in 1925 as tutor and chaplain of that college.[6] In 1927 he became one of the priest-librarians of Pusey House, Oxford, of which he became Custodian in 1934. He was appointed Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1944, by which time his interest in patristics was developing, alongside the beginnings of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, which was published in 1957. At the time of his death he was working on the second edition.

Post-war he organised international conferences, initially to re-establish relations with Christians in Germany. He organized the First International Conference on Patristic Studies in 1951, the second in 1955 and served as editor of the first 11 volumes of Studia Patristica, the official publication of the conference.[7] Additionally, he also organized New Testament congresses. As well as their academic importance, the conferences were an early expression of ecumenism.

Cross was awarded an Oxford Doctor of Divinity degree in 1950; he received honorary degrees from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Bonn and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1967.[8]

Cross died on 30 December 1968 in Oxford.

Selected works

  • Cross, F. L.; Livingstone, E. A., eds. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-211655-0.


  1. ^ Cross, Frank Leslie (1930). The Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and His School, with Especial Reference to Its Bearing on the Philosophy of Religion (doctoral thesis). Oxford: University of Oxford. OCLC 1065325209.
  2. ^ Johnston, William M. (1998). Recent Reference Books in Religion: A Guide for Students, Scholars, Researchers, Buyers & Readers (2nd ed.). Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-57958-035-3.
  3. ^ Cross, F. L.; Livingstone, E. A., eds. (1997). "Frank Leslie Cross". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. xxxiv-xxxvii. ISBN 978-0-19-211655-0.
  4. ^ Livingstone, Elizabeth A. "Cross, Frank Leslie (1900-1968)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/69478.
  5. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (First Edition, 1957)
  6. ^ Chapman, M. D. (2017). Ambassadors of Christ: Commemorating 150 Years of Theological Education in Cuddesdon, 1854-2004. Taylor & Francis. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-351-95941-4. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Studia Patristica, vol. XIX: Historica, theologica, gnostica, biblica et apocrypha: Studia patristica. Peeters Publishers. 1989. pp. Preface. ISBN 978-90-6831-231-7.
  8. ^ University of Aberdeen; Aberdeen University Alumnus Association (1960). Aberdeen University Review. 38. Aberdeen University Press. p. 173. Retrieved 2018.
Academic offices
Preceded by
N. P. Williams
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity
Succeeded by
John Macquarrie

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