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Faculty of Divinity




I took up my current appointment in 2018, having previously been Professor of Metaphysics and Poetics (2015-2018). Before that, I was variously a Research Fellow, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University Lecturer and University Reader at the Faculty of Divinity and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

In 1999, I co-founded a critical international theological movement, Radical Orthodoxy (with John Milbank and Graham Ward), recently dubbed ‘the Cambridge School’. This movement began as an essay collection Radical Orthodoxy: A new theology (London: Routledge 1998), 2 book series (Radical Orthodoxy, Routledge, and Illuminations, Blackwell), several series of workshops and conferences, an online journal, a research centre; there have been countless published and online responses (see for example and, conference responses etc.).

I am also engaged in collaborations with researchers from a range of disciplines, including English, modern and medieval Languages, International Relations, architectural theory, comparative literature, history and philosophy of science, as well as projects with composers, stone letter-carvers and liturgists.



My research is concerned with the relationship between theology and philosophy, and of both to language, poetics and the history of ideas. In After Writing (1998) and later articles, I apply modern linguistics to theories of religious language, analogy and liturgy, and consider the implications of this for the relation of language to reality.

Since 2001, through 67 peer-reviewed articles, two further monographs, Thomas d’Aquin et la Quête Eucharistique (2001) and Repetition and Identity (2013) (see recent online symposium, a co-authored (with John Milbank) monograph, Truth in Aquinas (2001) and a collection of unpublished essays, Povijest Osjetilnog Viška [The Surplus of Matter] (2011), my work has developed a number of lines initiated in After Writing. In particular, these works develop critical consideration of postmodern philosophy in relation to the re-interpretation of pre-modern theology and metaphysics; reconsideration of the Platonic tradition (especially with Neoplatonic notions of ‘theurgy’ as the ritual performance of truth), and traditional understandings of the soul in relation to current debates about mind. Repetition and Identity engages with literature and aesthetic theory to problematize the distinction between hermeneutics and metaphysics, arguing that the aporias arising from the necessity of repetition to constitute identity can be resolved theologically. 


Other publications: 

'Beauty and the Beast': Inferno XXXI, Purgatorio XXXI, Paradiso XXXI

Interview on CBC Radio.

The Confidence of Theology: Frontiers of Christianity in Britain Today.


Teaching and Supervisions


Undergraduate Teaching

Lecturing and supervising in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics (Tripos Paper A8), Meta-ethics, on “the Good” (B11), Metaphysics (2001-2007, 2018-) (C11); the Messiaen Paper (Music Tripos)


Graduate Teaching

MPhil teaching: modules in Philosophical Theology (themes ‘emergence’, ‘the given’, ‘truth’, ‘repetition’, ‘event’), and cross-Faculty MPhil module (with Dr Heather Webb in Modern and Medieval Languages) ‘Gesture, Perception, Event’.


PhD supervision

I supervise graduates across a wide range of areas in philosophical theology, ancient and mediaeval philosophy (especially Plato, Aquinas and Duns Scotus), postmodern and critical theory (from Kierkegaard to Deleuze). 


Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity
Professor Catherine  Pickstock

Contact Details

Email address: 
01223 763002
Not available for consultancy