Research and Teaching
In the study of religion my work falls under the three interrelated areas of philosophy, aesthetics and nature. My current research examines how changes in metaphysics and traditional ecological knowledge have shaped how human beings understand and interact with nature, and how aesthetics has formed a language for expressing nature spirituality both inside and outside of traditions. I work with materials from antiquity to the present, with the belief that understanding the history of the human-nature relationship can help is to address the environmental crisis.
I teach courses on the philosophy of religion, spirituality and nature, sacred and secular understandings of nature, spirituality and traditional ecological knowledge, and mysticism and literature. . In these courses my students and I examine how meaning is made through philosophy, how spiritual affect is expressed in aesthetics, and how both are shaped in religion.
Philosophy of religion: I focus upon the complex and creative relationship between Christianity and Platonism. This is the subject of Christian Platonism: A History (Cambridge, 2021). My work has also examined the German Sattelzeit, the tempestuous and fecund period of transition from the early modern to the modern period in numerous articles and the volume Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi and the Ends of Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2023).
Religion and aesthetics: I concentrate upon the interaction between poetics, metaphysics and spirituality. This is the subject of my work on nature writing, mystical poetics, and Romanticism, including Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion (Cambridge, 2019).
Religion and the environment: Encompassing both philosophy and aesthetics, my current work examines the entanglements between religion, nature and culture, as explored in the Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment (Cambridge, 2023) and Pandemic, Ecology and Theology (Routledge, 2020). I am currently writing an examination of post-secular nature, and a consideration of metaphysics and nature. These two books form a diptych, the former examining the challenges of our present-day conceptualisation of nature, and the latter exploring the creative recovery of realist metaphysics to reconceptualise the human-nature relationship.
I gained my PhD from the Divinity Faculty at Cambridge University in 2015, and then taught for two years at Barrett Honours College (Arizona State University), before moving to Toronto in 2017. I hold an MPhil from Oxford in Philosophical Theology, an MA in Religious Studies from Stanford, and a BA in Literary Studies and Philosophy from the University of Toronto.