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Pui Him Ip

Pui Him Ip

Patristic Trinitarian theology

Reception and retrieval of Patristic thought in modern theology

Genesis and development of Christian doctrine

The role of philosophy in doctrine formation



MA Philosophy (with 50% Christian Theology), Heythrop College, University of London, dissertation: 'Basil of Caesarea, Eunomius of Cyzicus and Christian Apophatic Theology in the 4th Century', 2012-2014. Distinction. 

MSci Physics with Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London, 2007-2011. 1st Class.

Subject area and speciality

Christian Theology specialists:

Simplicity and Trinity: a study on the genesis and development of divine simplicity in early Patristic theology


Magdalene College:
PhD student

Research Interests

Dissertation synopsis:

The aim of my PhD is to address the following question: how did the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS) fit within Patristic Trinitarian theology? This question is important because DDS has become a controversial issue in systematic and philosophical theology. On the one hand, historical theologians recognised the centrality of DDS in Patristic Trinitarian thought. On the other hand, many modern critics of DDS cast doubt on the internal coherence of the doctrine and its compatibility with the Trinitarian doctrine of God. However, much of the debate is based on a restricted understanding of DDS, which is the version traditionally attributed to Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas. It is my contention to argue that a richer understanding of DDS contextualised within the late antique metaphysical context is required to move the debate forward. The primary outcome of my PhD is therefore an assessment of DDS and its compatibility with Patristic Trinitarian theology that is grounded on a firmer historical foundation and a wider intellectual context. My aim is to provide a critical reconstruction of the different senses of divine simplicity understood by various Patristic writers and to trace how the context of application of this idea evolves from pre-Nicene to post-Nicene theology.

General areas of research

  • Early Christian theology (esp. Origen)
  • Systematic and philosophical theology

Area of specialisation

  • Development of Patristic Trinitarian theology from the apologists up to the 4th century
  • Reception and appropriation of Patristic thought in modern theology (esp. in the 19th century)

Wider research interests

  • The historical genesis and development of Christian doctrines 
  • The role of philosophy in doctrine formation
  • The nature of theological retrieval and ressourcement (esp. M. Blondel, H. de Lubac, and J. Webster)


I have supervised undergraduates in the following papers:

  • First year: The Question of God (A5)
  • Second year: Ethics and Faith (B11)

I am also the academic co-ordinator and lecturer for Experience Cambridge: Theology and Philosophy, a two-day summer course at the Faculty of Divinity for sixth-form students. My responsibilities include: 

  • Designing academic materials for the course
  • Delivering teaching materials (lecture/presentation)
  • Supervising a group of students 

Other Professional Activities


1. '‘To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant’? John Webster, ‘retrieval’, and two critical questions for future protestant theologies', Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference, University of Nottingham, 24-26 April 2017.
2. 'Divine Simplicity in Athenagoras' Legatio pro Christianis', The Sixth British Patristics Conference, University of Birmingham, 5-7 September 2016.
3. 'Simply Hellenistic metaphysics? Divine simplicity in Origen's Peri Archon', Senior Patristics Seminar, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, 13 March 2015.
4. 'The patristic grounding of Christos Yannaras’ ‘prosopo-centric ontology’: a philosophical argument', Orthodox Theological Research Forum, University of Oxford, 2-5 September 2013.
5.'What is one to do in philosophy' (On the relationship between 
Wittgenstein's Viennese cultural background and his attitude towards philosophy), Masterclass on Wittgenstein and ContemporarIssues in Philosophy, University of Southampton, 1 December 2012.

Key Publications


1. 'Divine Simplicity in Athenagoras' Legatio pro Christianis', Studia Patristica (accepted for publication)

2. 'Re-imagining Divine Simplicity in Trinitarian Theology' in International Journal of Systematic Theology, 18:3 (2016), 274-89.

Chapters in edited volumes:

1. 'Identifying the “Apophatic Impulse” in Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy: The Lecture on Ethics as an Interpretative Key' in Ludwig Wittgenstein between Analytic Philosophy and Apophaticism, ed. by Sotiris Mitralexis (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), 81-106.

2. ‘On the Patristic grounding of Christos Yannaras’ prosopo-centric ontology: a methodological exploration’ in Christos Yannaras: Philosophy, Theology, Culture, ed. by Andreas Andreopoulos (Ashgate, forthcoming).

Other Publications


1. Review article: 'Back to the Fathers: The Nature of Historical Understanding in 20th Century Patristic Ressourcement', Reviews in Religion and Theology 23:1 (2016), 4-13. (reviews Jason Robert Radcliff, Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition (Cambridge: James Clark & Co., 2015) and Paul Gavrilyuk, Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013))
2. Review: Doru Costache and Philip Kariatlis (eds.), Cappadocian Legacy: A Critical Appraisal (St. Andrew’s Orthodox Press, 2013), Reviews in Religion and Theology 22:4 (2015), 322-5. 


1. ‘Putting on Humanity: St. Ephrem the Syrian on Theological Language,’ Noesis Review, 2 (2015), 56-65.


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