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Ruby Guyatt


I am a third year PhD student, working on a dissertation provisionally titled 'The Art of Beginning: Anxiety, Silence and Love in Kierkegaard'. On my reading, to be properly anxious, essentially silent, or committed to the perpetual task of loving, is to recover our capacity for the Good, which Kierkegaard understands as our capacity to become fully human.

My PhD builds on my MPhil work on Kierkegaard and anxiety, for which the Divinity Faculty awarded me the Gregg Bury Prize for a distinguished dissertation in the philosophy of religion. I am funded by a Levy-Plumb PhD Studentship, administered by Christ's College.

Before coming to Cambridge I read Theology at King's College London (2011-14), and interned and worked at the Cultural Institute at King's College London, White Cube, and the National Theatre (2014-15). During my MPhil (2015-16), I produced a series of podcasts to accompany 'Stations of the Cross: Art and Passion', an exhibition co-organised by the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme. My interest in the arts informs my approach to philosophical theology. I am especially interested in the relationship between literary form and theological/philosophical content, and in the complexities of re-presenting.

Subject area and speciality

Philosophy of Religion specialists:

Research Interests

Søren Kierkegaard, particularly the way in which his works poetically perform or enact the kenotic imperative that characterises his Christian anthropology or philosophy of becoming

Aesthetics, philosophical theology, the arts

Kenosis, nothingness, self-emptying


  • Kierkegaard's Teleological Suspension of the Ethical - Access workshop for Year 12 students, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, January 2018
  • Supervisor, A8:Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, 2017 - 2018
  • 'How good is it to be good? Søren Kierkegaard and the teleological suspension of the ethical' - a Philosophy of Religion Masterclass, delivered as part of a Year 12 Study Day at Christ's College, Cambridge, April 2017

Other Professional Activities

Conference Papers and Talks

  • 'Love’s Work and Works of Love: Gillian Rose’s Kierkegaardian literary praxis', at the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, Georgetown University, Washington DC, March 2019
  • (with Dr Hjördis Becker-Lindenthal) 'Kierkegaard on existential kenosis and the power of the image: Fear and Trembling and Practice in Christianity', at the D Society Seminar, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, November 2018
  • 'Silence, Nothingness, and Kierkegaard's Second Aesthetics', at the Eighth International Kierkegaard Conference, St Olaf College, Minnesota, June 2018
  • '"God in heaven, let me really feel my nothingness": Desire and kenosis in Kierkegaard', at Desire: A Philosophy and Theology Graduate Study Day, University of Nottingham, May 2018
  • 'Kierkegaard’s maieutic suffering: Anxiety as education in love', at Suffering Diminishment and the Christian Life, University of Durham, January 2018
  • 'The Art of Silence: Reading Kierkegaard's Discourse on on the Birds of the Air and the Lily of the Field', at Silence(s): Analyses & Articulations, Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge, November 2017
  • 'Kierkegaard and the Ambiguity of Anxiety', Emerging Research Seminar Series, Christ's College, Cambridge, May 2017
  • 'Rowan Williams and the possibilities of literature: self-knowledge and God-knowledge', at Lines in Sand: Conference of the International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture, University of Glasgow, September 2016


  • Summer Research Fellow, Hong Kierkegaard Library at St Olaf College, Minnesota, June 2018
  • Co-Editor, Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics, Vol. 5, 2018
  • Organiser, Graduate Symposium: Silence(s): Analyses & Articulations, Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge, November 2017
  • Participant, 'The Good Life and the Good Society', a Learning Together course held at HMP Whitemoor, Cambridgeshire, January - March 2017
  • Co-organiser, Søren Kierkegaard reading group, Divinity Faculty, University of Cambridge, 2016-2017

Key Publications


  • (Forthcoming) Hjördis Becker-Lindenthal and Ruby Guyatt, ‘Kierkegaard on Existential Kenosis and the Power of the Image: “Fear and Trembling” and “Practice in Christianity”’, Modern Theology, October 2019


  • (Not peer-reviewed) Ruby Guyatt, 'The Gift of Recognition: Learning Together at HMP Whitemoor', Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics, Vol. 4, 2017, pp. 112-119


  • (Forthcoming) Ruby Guyatt, 'Clare Carlisle, Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard' (London: Allen Lane, 2019) 288pp.', Review 31, May 2019
  • (Not peer-reviewed) Ruby Guyatt, 'Lexi Eikelboom, Rhythm: A Theological Category (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 272 pp.', Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics, Vol. 5, 2018, pp. 33-35


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