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Prof Jacob Phillips

Interim Dean of ​Faculty of Education, Theology, and the Arts (FETTA)

Prof Jacob Phillips

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 2325


Jacob Phillips is the interim dean of ​Faculty of Education, Theology, and the Arts (FETTA). He joined St Mary’s as a lecturer in Theology in 2016, and has headed-up the School of Theology (then Institute of Theology) since its inception in August 2018. He oversaw the merger of Theology with the Humanities to create the Institute of Theology and Liberal Arts in September 2020, and the incorporation of the Department of Drama and Film in 2022.

Jacob holds a first-class degree in Theology from Heythrop College, where he was awarded the Marcus Ward Prize for New Testament studies, and a distinction in his MA from King’s College London, where he was awarded the Relton Prize for Christian Doctrine. He completed his PhD at King’s College on Human Subjectivity in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and has published numerous works on John Henry Newman, Joseph Ratzinger, and others. His previous employment includes teaching at King’s College London, Roehampton University, Winchester University, and working as the Faith Centre Coordinator for the LSE.


Areas of research supervision

  • Systematic/Dogmatic Theology
  • 20th Century German Theology
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Joseph Ratzinger
  • John Henry Newman
  • Theology and Culture

Research profile

Jacob works across a diverse range of sub-disciplinary areas, mostly within systematic and philosophical theology. He is particularly concerned with issues of human self-understanding, subjectivity, conscience and obedience, with particular reference to the work of Erich Pryzwara, Joseph Ratzinger, John Henry Newman, and others.

Selected Publications

Articles and Chapters
  • ‘Influences’ in The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Ratzinger, edited by Uwe Michael Lang and Daniel Cardó (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024).
  • ‘Lumen Gentium: The Church as Mystical Body and Communion of the Faithful’, in Oxford Handbook to Joseph Ratzinger, edited by Francesca Aran Murphy and Tracey Rowland (Oxford: Oxford University Press forthcoming 2024).
  • ‘The Human Person in Christian Theology: Revelation and Historicity’ in Human Dignity Across the Islamic and Christian Traditions, edited by Afifi al-Akiti and Maria Power, forthcoming. 
  • ‘Synodality and Incompleteness: Some Reflections on the Instrumentum Laboris for the Synod on Synodality’ in Synodality and the Recovery of Vatican II: A new way for Catholics, edited by Stephen McKinney, Beata Toth, and Thomas O'Loughlin (Dublin: Messenger Publications 2024).
  • ‘Approaching Ratzinger’s Interculturality through Newman’s Power of Assimilation’, in John Henry Newman and Joseph Ratzinger, edited by Matthew Levering, Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, forthcoming 2024.
  • ‘Immanuel Kant; Distinguishing verum and ens’ in Joseph Ratzinger in Dialogue with Philosophical Traditions: From Plato to Vattimo, edited by Alejandro Sada, Rudy Albino de Assunção, & Tracey Rowland, London: T&T Clark, 2023.
  • ‘Reflections on the Emerging Theology of Synodality’ in New Blackfriars, Early view available on
  • 'Bonhoeffer’s  Understanding of Chalcedon in Dialogue  with Contemporary  Catholic Christology’ in Bonhoeffer and Christology: Revisiting Chalcedon, edited by Matthias Grebe, Nadine Hamilton, & Christian Schlenker, London: T&T Clark, 2023.
  • ‘After Etsi Veluti si Deus Daretur: Joseph Ratzinger and Robert Cardinal Sarah’ in Joseph Ratzinger and the Future of African Theology, edited by Maurice Ashley Agbaw-Ebai and Matthew Levering, Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2022.
  • ‘Service in Perfect Freedom: The Precious Gift of the Caroline Divines’ in The Anglican Patrimony in Catholic Communion: The Gift of the Ordinariates, edited by Tracey Rowland, London: Bloomsbury, 2021.
  • ‘John Henry Newman and the English Sensibility’ in Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp. 108-129.
  • ‘Raymond Williams' Reading of Newman's The Idea of a University’, New Blackfriars 102: pp. 108-122, 2021,
  • ‘Theology and Culture in Newman’s Defense of the Immaculate Conception: An Essay in Commemoration of the Canonization of Saint John Henry Newman’, Nova et Vetera Fall 2019 (Vol. 17, No. 4).
  • ‘Heteronomy and Conscience in the Third Reich in Joseph Ratzinger and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’ in Joseph Ratzinger and the Healing of the Reformation-Era Divisions, edited by Matthew Levering and Emery de Gaal, Steubenville:Emmaus Academic, forthcoming 2019.
  • ‘Theological Dynamics for Understanding the Roman Catholic Episcopate in Britain’ in Episkope: the theory and practice of translocal leadership, edited by Roger Standing and Paul Goodliff, London: SCM Press, forthcoming 2020.
  • ‘Confirmation in the Spirit by Con-formation to Mary: The Gifts of the Spirit in Marian Perspective’ in Marian Studies 2017 issue, forthcoming.
  • ‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Londoner: A Discussion of the London Period 1933-1935’, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Jahrbuch Volume 6, forthcoming 2019.
  • ‘Having to be thus: On Bonhoeffer’s Reading of Goethe’s Iphegenia in TaurisOxford Journal of Literature and Theology, Volume 32, Issue 3, 1 September 2018, Pages 357–370. 
  • ‘My Enemy’s Enemy is my Friend: Martin Luther and Joseph Ratzinger on the Bi-Dimensionality of Conscience’, Heythrop Journal, 2017.
  • ‘A Bride Bedecked with her Jewels: Inculturation and Popular Piety as a “locus theologicus” in Evangelii Gaudium’ in Pope Francis and the Renewal of the Church, edited by Alana Harris and Duncan DormorMahwah:Paulist Press, 2017.
  • ‘Interreligious Reading After Vatican II with John Henry Newman’s Two Habits of Mind’, Journal of Scriptural Reasoning: SR and Vatican II issue, November 2016.
  • The Cup of Suffering: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship and German Expressionism’ in Christianity, Modernism and Apocalypse, (Studies in Religion and the Arts Series), edited by: Erik Tonning, Brill Publications, 2014.
  • ‘Pierced Side Hermeneutics: Reading the Scriptures in the Spirit of Luther' in The Bible: Culture, Community and Society, edited by: Angus Paddison and Neil Messer, T&T Clark, 2013. 
  • ‘Dispossessed Science, Dispossessed Self: Wilhelm Dilthey and Bonhoeffer’s Christology Lectures of 1933’ in Ontology and Ethics: Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Contemporary Scholarship edited by: Mike Mawson and Adam Clark, Pickwick Publications, 2013.
  • Being Scorned by One’s Own is Perfect Joy: the Strange Case of Dorothy Day’, Journal of Religious History, Issue 37: 528–540, December 2013.

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