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Dr Silvianne Aspray


Silvianne Aspray (née Bürki) is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, working on Nicholas of Cusa, Pico della Mirandola and their theology of artefacts.

She was awarded her doctorate in Philosophical Theology at the Divinity Faculty in Cambridge in 2018. Her doctoral dissertation, Metaphysics in the Reformation: A Case Study of Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) traced the metaphysical underpinnings of the Protestant Reformation through a close reading of the work of the humanist and reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli. She held a Cambridge International Trust doctoral scholarship, and a "Doc.Mobility" Fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. During Michaelmas term 2015 she conducted research at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where she had been awarded an exchange studentship.

Being a Swiss native, Silvianne took a BA and MA in Theology from Bern University (Faculty prize), and studied for a year in Durham. Before moving to Cambridge in 2013, she was a research assistant at the University of Zurich and the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.

Subject area and speciality

Philosophy of Religion specialists:

Human Creations: Artefacts in the Theology of Nicholas of Cusa and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola


Supervising paper A8 "Philosophy of Religion and Ethics"

Supervising paper B11 "Ethics and Faith"


Widening participation

2017: Tutor and Lecturer for “An Introduction to Christian Doctrine”, 20 hours, St. Alban’s Certificate in Theology, Bedford


Other Professional Activities

Co-organiser of the Cusa reading group.

Organiser of the Graduate study day in April 2016 on "How to think about being"

Coordinator of the Aquinas Reading Group (2014-2018)

Co-editor of the NOESIS Review vol. 2 (2015). NOESIS is the annual review of the Graduate Society for the Study of Philosophical Theology and Systematics, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.



Refereed Journal Articles

Aspray S. (2018) “An Augustinian Response to Jean-Louis Chrétien’s Phenomenology of Prayer”, International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 79/3, 311-322

Aspray, S. (2018) “A Complex Legacy: Louis Bouyer and the Metaphysics of the Reformation”, Modern Theology 34/1, 3-22

Aspray, S. (2017) “Peter Martyr Vermigli's Preces Sacrae (1564) and the Problem of Prayers as Historical Sources”, Reformation and Renaissance Review 19/2, 87-103

Bürki, S. (2014) “Innere und äussere Angelegenheiten im Berner Staatskirchenrecht in historisch-theologischer Sicht”, Schweizerisches Jahrbuch für Kirchenrecht 19, 81-103

Chapters in Books

Bürki, S. and Peter Opitz (2014) “Der Heidelberger Katechismus im Kontext zeitgenössischer reformierter Katechismen”, in Handbuch Heidelberger Katechismus, Arnold Huijgen et al. (eds.), Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 184–192

Review Articles and Reviews

Aspray, S. (2018) Review: Christian Ströbele, Performanz und Diskurs bei Cusanus, Reviews in Religion and Theology25.3, 570-572

Bürki, S. (2016) Review: Johannes Hoff, The Analogical Turn, 2013, Reviews in Religion and Theology 23.1 (2016), 52-55

Bürki, S. (2016) Review: Christopher Baker et al, A Philosophy of Christian Materialism, 2015, Theology 119.3 (2016), 222-223

Bürki, S. (2015) “The (Missing) Praxis of Radical Hermeneutics”, Review: Thomas Pfau, Minding the Modern, 2015, Syndicate: A New Forum for Theology 2, 89–94 (online)

Bürki, S. (2012) Review: Amy Nelson Burnett, Karlstadt and the Origins of the Eucharistic Controversy, 2011, Zwingliana (39/2012), 157–161


Bürki S. (2016) “’There Can Be No Truth Without a Conversion’: Knowledge of God and the Transformation of the Self”, Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics 3, 26-31

Bürki S. (2014) “Abundance and Simplicity: Participation in Babette's Feast”, Noesis: Theology, Philosophy, Poetics 1, 16–21


Papers Presented

* Aspray, S. (2019): “Vielsagende Objekte: Cusanus im Gespräch mit Bernard Stiegler”, Lecture at Cusanus Hochschule, Bernkastel-Kues

* Aspray, S. (2018): “Matter and Meaning: Divine and Human ‘Making’ in Nicholas of Cusa”, Journée d’étudessur Nicholas de Cues, Institut Catholique, Paris

* Aspray, S. (2018): “The Quest for the Metaphysics of the Reformation”, Philosophy of Religion Senior Seminar (‘D society’), Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

* Aspray, S. (2017) “Augustine, Anselm and the Paradox of Prayer”, International Conference of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, University of Zurich

* Aspray, S. (2017) “How (Not) to Read Prayers as Historical Sources: The Case of Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Preces Sacrae”, Philosophy and Theology Study Day, Cambridge

* Aspray, S. (2016) “The Metaphysical Ambiguity of the Reformation“, Noesis Seminar, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge

* Bürki, S. (2015) “Peter Martyr Vermigli and the Metaphysics of the Reformation”, Radical Orthodoxy and Protestantism, University of Nottingham

Bürki, S. (2015) “Vermigli at Prayer: Genre and Performativity in his Preces Sacrae“, Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Vancouver

Bürki, S. (2015) “Hierarchical Mediation vs. Spiritual Immediacy. Perspectives on Peter Martyr Vermigli's Political Theology”, The Protestant Spirit. The Holy Spirit in Protestant Thought 1500-1900, University of Oxford

Bürki, S. (2015) “‘Liturgical’ Ontology in the Reformation? The Case of Peter Martyr Vermigli”, History and Ontology Conference, Delphi

Bürki, S. (2015) “Peter Martyr Vermigli's Metaphysics: Continuity or Discontinuity?” Society for Reformation Studies’ Annual Conference, Cambridge

Bürki, S. (2015) “Complex Causality in Peter Martyr Vermigli”, Early Modern History Workshop, University Cambridge

* invited speaker


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