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Faculty of Divinity



University of Cambridge, Ph.D. (in progress)
- Thesis: 'A Coleridgean Genealogy of Theology and Literature'
- King's College

University of Chicago, M.A.
- FLAS Fellow (Chinese)
- Divinity School Scholar

Peking University, M.Phil.
- Yenching Scholar (燕京学堂)
- Yenching Award for Outstanding Academic Performance

University of Oxford, Visiting Student
- Notre Dame-Oxford Program (academic year)
- Oriel College

University of Notre Dame (Honors Program), B.A.
- Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar (top merit scholarship)
- Glynn Scholar
- Dean's Fellow
- Phi Beta Kappa
President, Class of 2016


John (Jake) Grefenstette's PhD thesis examines S.T. Coleridge's theological legacy in a tradition of poet-critics comprising T.S. Eliot, Owen Barfield, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hill. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Jake has studied theology, philosophy, and literature at Notre Dame, UChicago, Oxford, Cambridge, and Beijing (北大).

Outside of his thesis, Jake maintains a long-standing interest in global traditions of Roman Catholic art and literature, as well as comparative religion and literature more broadly. To this end, Jake has received research grants to Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Kyoto, Chimbote, Chicago, Notre Dame, Oxford, and Harvard. Jake has most recently been exploring Romantic inheritances in Xu Zhimo, Hai Zi, and Xi Chuan—and, conversely, Chinese influences in Blake, Hopkins, and Pound. With Steven Toussaint and Thomas Graff, he co-convenes the Religion in Contemporary Poetry group in Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity.

In tandem with work in theology and literature, Jake is interested in cinema and film photography. He holds a ‘Special Thanks’ credit on the extended cut of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2018). In his free time, Jake exposes and develops expired film stocks with Cristina, his wife. Nearly all photographic efforts spotlight their dog, Frodo Waggins.

Research Languages:
French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese. Basic knowledge of Koine Greek, Latin, Italian, Japanese.

Teaching and Supervisions


The Question of God (A5)
Great Christian Theologians (B8)
Theology and Literature (B13)

Contact Details

Email address: 
Not available for consultancy


Collaborator profiles: 


Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.