Research & Teaching
In the study of religion my work falls under the three interrelated areas of philosophy, aesthetics and nature. My current research examines how changes in metaphysics and traditional ecological knowledge have shaped how human beings understand and interact with nature, and how aesthetics has formed a language for expressing nature spirituality both within and without traditions. I work with materials from antiquity to the present, with the belief that understanding the history of the human-nature relationship can help us to address the environmental crisis.
Presently, I teach courses on the philosophy of religion, spirituality and nature, sacred and secular understandings of nature, spirituality and traditional ecological knowledge, and mysticism and literature. In these courses we examine how meaning is made through philosophy, how spiritual affect is expressed in aesthetics, and how both are shaped in religion.
Philosophy of religion: I focus upon the complex and creative relationship between Christianity and Platonism. This is the subject of Christian Platonism: A History (Cambridge, 2021). My work has also examined the German Sattelzeit, the tempestuous and fecund period of transition from the early modern to the modern period, for example in Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi and the Ends of Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2023).
Religion and aesthetics: I concentrate upon the interaction between poetics, metaphysics and spirituality. This is the subject of my work on nature writing, mystical poetics, and Romanticism, including Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion (Cambridge, 2019).
Religion and the environment: Encompassing both philosophy and aesthetics, my current work examines the entanglements between religion, nature and culture, as explored in the Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment (Cambridge, 2023) and Pandemic, Ecology and Theology (Routledge, 2020). I am currently developing a project on nature and metaphysics.
I gained my PhD from the Divinity Faculty at Cambridge University in 2015, and then taught for two years at Barrett Honours College (Arizona State University), before moving to Toronto in 2017. I hold an MPhil from Oxford in Philosophical Theology, an MA in Religious Studies from Stanford, and a BA in Literary Studies and Philosophy from the University of Toronto.
- Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion: The Reconciliation of German Idealism and Platonic Realism (Cambridge, 2019).
- Pandemic, Ecology and Theology: Perspectives on COVID-19, ed. Alexander J. B Hampton (Routledge, 2020).
- Christian Platonism: A History, ed. with John Peter Kenney (Cambridge, 2021).
- Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment, ed. with Douglas Hedley (Cambridge, 2022).
- Transzendenz für ein Zeitalter der Immanenz: Die romantische Neuerfindung der Religion (Metzler, 2023).
- Friedrich Jacobi and the End of the Enlightenment: Religion, Philosophy, and Reason at the Crux of Modernity (Cambridge, 2023).
Selected Articles and Chapters
- ‘Theological Poetics in Jacopone da Todi’, Iacopone da Todi: The Power of Dissent and the Originality of Franciscan Poetry, eds. Matteo Leonardi, Alessandro Vettori (Leiden: Brill, 2023).
- ‘The Role of Plotinus in the Romantic Philosophy of Novalis: Transcending Fichte and Spinoza’, International Journal of the Platonic Tradition, 2022, 1-24.
- ‘Pandemic and the Nature-Alienated Self in the Contemporary Social Imaginary’, Religions, 2022, 13(7), n. 575.
- ‘Nature and Aesthetics: Methexis, Mimēsis and Poiēsis’, Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment, eds. Alexander J.B. Hampton, Douglas Hedley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 263-85.
- ‘Jacobi and the Romantics’, Friedrich Jacobi and the End of the Enlightenment: Religion, Philosophy, and Reason at the Crux of Modernity, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), forthcoming 2023.
- ‘Platonism, Nature and Environmental Crisis’, Christian Platonism: A History, ed. Alexander J. B. Hampton, John Kenney (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 381-407.
- ‘The Poetics of Mysticism’, ed. Edward Howells and Mark McIntosh, The Oxford Handbook to Mystical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 241-64.
- ‘Romantic Religion: Dissolution and Transcendence in the Poetics of Hölderlin’, Symphilosophie 1 (2019), pp. 61-74.
- ‘Nature’s Beauty: Legitimacy, Imagination and Transcendence in Hepburn and the New Nature Writing’, Journal of Scottish Thought, 11 (2019), 113-126.
- ‘Transcendence and Immanence: Deciphering Their Relation through the Transcendentals in Aquinas and Kant’, Toronto Journal of Theology, 34 (2018), pp. 187-198.
- ‘A Post-Secular Nature and the New Nature Writing’, Christianity and Literature, 67 (2018), pp. 454-471.
- ‘An English Source of German Romanticism: Herder’s Cudworth Inspired Revision of Spinoza from “Plastik’”to “Kraft’”, The Heythrop Journal, 58 (2017), pp. 417-431.
- ‘Herder’s Concept of Being and the Influence of Kant’s Pre-Critical Consideration of the Ontological Argument’, Filozofia, 70 (2015), pp. 842-52.
- ‘Reception, Religion and the Problem of Subjectivity in Early German Romanticism’, Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte, 22 (2015), pp. 35-58.
- ‘The Aesthetic Foundations of Romantic Mythology’, Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte, 20 (2014), pp. 175-91.
- ‘Karl Philipp Moritz the Mythologist: Myth as the Romantic Idiom for the Absolute’, Papers of the Nineteenth Century Theology Group, American Academy of Religion, 39 (2013), 2-20.
Selected Grants and Awards
- Experiential Learning Faculty Fellows Program, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto, 2023-2025 (C$14,500)
- Global Classrooms Grant, ‘Global Perspectives on Religion and Ecology’, University of Toronto, 2021.
- Program for the Arts, ‘The Pleasure of the Dawn Chorus: Conserving the Pandemic Soundscape’, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, 2021.
- Connections Grant, ‘Religion, Nature and the Environment in the West’, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2020.
- Insight Development Grant, ‘Romantic Ecology’, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2020-2024.
- Netzwerk Deutsch Grant, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, ‘Jacobi: A Bicentenary Reconsideration’, 2019.
- Connections Grant, ‘Christian Platonism: Concepts, History and Contemporary Questions’, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2018.
- Insight Development Grant, ‘The Transcendence of Nature’, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2018-2022.
Media and Public Engagement
- Print interview, ‘Does religion have a role to play in addressing the current climate crisis?’, U of T Arts and Science News, October 13, 2022.
- Print interview, ‘The Dawn Chorus blends birdsong with human voice in “musical wake-up call”’, CBC, June 24, 2022.
- Radio program, ‘The Dawn Chorus: Tuning into Nature’, Tapestry, CBC Radio, June 22, 2022.
- Print interview, ‘Awareness of nature is the first step to conservation: A&S, Faculty of Music students reflect on nature, music and spirituality’, U of T Arts and Science News, May 13, 2022.
- Lecture and Recital, ‘Birds, Spirituality and Nature-Connection’, ‘The Pleasure of the Dawn Chorus: Conserving the Pandemic Soundscape’, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, April 8, 2022.
- Print interview, ‘The sovereignty of the good— new book explores Platonism's central role in Christianity’, U of T Arts and Science News, April 1, 2021.
- Print interview. ‘New book explores transformative possibilities, theological and ecological, of pandemic’, U of T Arts and Science News, November 25, 2020.