There are four main areas in which I specialise. Here is a brief summary of my research interests and my work so far. I am available to give lectures and to peer review journal articles.
I specialise in Greek Early Christian and Eastern Roman theology. In particular I work on Maximus the Confessor, but I have also worked on Athanasius of Alexandria, the Cappadocian Fathers, John of Damascus and Gregory Palamas and the seven eccumenical councils. My main theological interests are in metaphysics, asceticism, doctrine, and ethics. I have taught a number of undergraduate courses and delivered papers on the relevance of Early Christian thought to contemporary ethics, and published on both theological and philosophical Early Christian topics. In the Summer 2019 semester at LMU Munich I ran the course ‘Neoplatonism in Late Antique Christianity’.
Bioethics & Gender & Body Studies
I have an interest in bioethics, especially transhumanist/posthumanist topics, and its intersection with theological studies related to the body, sex and gender. My work is trans-inclusive and I have written on the importance of exploring identity, including gender and sex identity, as a vital part of growth towards becoming human in theology. I am the recipient of an LMU research fellowship with a project called ‘The Absence of Sex and Gender in Early Byzantine Theology’ which delves into the theology of Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor, looking at the concept of ‘holy genderlessness’. This project also includes an anthropological aspect – looking at Early Christian monastics who chose to live without gender or as a gender other than that they were assigned at birth. I will be finishing this project by considering the relevance of these findings for contemporary theology of sex and gender. To date I have a publication considering transhumanism and gender in the theology of Macrina and Gregory of Nyssa, an an article exploring Maximus the Confessor’s understanding of the absence of sexual difference in original and eschatological humans, and another exploring Maximus’s understanding of tropos as continual transformative human growth towards Christ.
I teach and give lectures on contemporary environmental Christian ethics. I have designed and run twice a course on Environmental Theology accredited by Durham University. The course covers the basics of climate science, the history of environmental philosophy and theology, practical sustainability and permaculture, the relevance of patristic theology, and scriptual exegesis as tools for developing an environmental theology. I am part of an ongoing project with Bewcastle House of Prayer that seeks to revitalise the relationship between Christian communal spiritual life and the land.
My work interacts heavily with the practical writings of a number of anarchist writers, especially Peter Kropotkin and Colin Ward. I have been involved for a long time in setting up dialogue between anarchist and Christian groups, facilitating lectures, giving talks and helping to found research networks. My own research draws on Early Christian sources to lend a theological dimension to critiques of oppression, the centralisation of power, and the commitment to poverty and debt found in states and capitalist ideology. I have delivered papers critiquing immigration control and borders, centralised hierarchy, violence and the state, capitalism, debt and environmental exploitation. I have a chapter considering similarities between concepts of mutual aid in Kropotkin and love in Maximus, and a forthcoming chapter on the relevance of anarchist thought to outworkings of Christian ethics derived from Maximus. I made a podcast essay summarising some of these latter thoughts for the Anarchism Research Group.