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From the age of 16, I thought I would be a Methodist minister. That’s what I thought I would do when I went to Duke University for my BA. But, when I encountered analytic philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary, my plans changed abruptly. I decided that that’s what I wanted do, had to do, even. So, I went to do a conversion MSc at Edinburgh University in Philosophy and then did my PhD (or DPhil as it’s called there) at Oxford University in modal logic and metaphysics.
My main research areas include: Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, Spirituality and the Spiritual Life
One of my main research activities is to run The Benedictine Society for the Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology. St Benedict established an order founded on principles of mutuality, moderation, and encouragement. We aim to embody those values in working collaboratively to produce high quality research in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. As an example of this way of working, we have recently had accepted a seven-author paper on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist at the Journal for Analytic Theology.
At the beginning of the second millennium, theology was transformed by the advent of scholasticism, a transformation which consisted, in part, in the application of the theories and methodologies of Greek philosophy, particularly Aristotelian metaphysics, to explicate and discover solutions to then longstanding philosophical problems in Christian doctrine.
Now, at the beginning of the third millennium, theology is being transformed again, but this time by the advent of a new scholasticism, a scholasticism that applies the theories and methodologies of analytic philosophy to explicate and discover solutions to now even longer-standing philosophical problems in Christian doctrine. This new scholasticism has made considerable advances in our understanding of many of the major doctrines of the Christian faith, including the doctrines of the Trinity, Creation, Providence, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting. However, similar attention has not been paid to the spiritual life by analytic philosophers, which is both unfortunate and surprising, since theology and spirituality were inseparable up until the 12th century.
My current research aims to recover that methodology, that of applying the tools and techniques of philosophy, analytic philosophy in this case, to the understanding of spirituality and the spiritual life, 'analytic spirituality', it might be termed, and then investigate the relationship between analytic theology and analytic spirituality.
With Dave Worsley, I am running a cluster group on the Beatific Vision, thanks to generous funding from the Analytic Theology Project at Innsbruck, Austria. Speakers include Simon Gaine, Simon Kittle, Eleonore Stump, Michael Rea, Oliver Crisp, Andrew Torrance, and Kevin Timpe.
MA Dissertation Preparation