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Dr Jacob Phillips

Head of ​Institute of Theology

About Research

Jacob Phillips is an affiliate of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary's and Programme Director for the university’s successful MA in Theology

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. 

Jacob taught in the last academic session on the undergraduate module Grace, Sin, and Salvation, and convened the MA Modules Themes in Contemporary Theology and Ecclesiology and Liturgy. He also teaches on Fundamental Theology at Allen Hall Seminary, and has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate modules at King’s College London, Roehampton University, and Winchester University, as well as maintaining occasional teaching commitments at Sarum College, the Maryvale Institute and St Alban’s Cathedral Ecumenical Study Centre.


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. He has recently been researching the Argentinian school of teología del pueblo, with a view to exploring the methodological implications of a hermeneutics of popular piety, and has also written on the interrelation of theology and culture, particularly poetics and literary studies. 

Selected Publications:

  • Forthcoming book: Mary, Star of Evangelisation: Tilling the Soil and Sowing the Seed, Paulist Press, scheduled for publication in Autumn 2017
  • ‘Sponsa Ornata Monilibus Suis: Inculturation and Popular Piety as a “locus theologicus” in Evangelii Gaudium’ in Making All Things New? Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenical Mission forthcoming in an edited volume to be published by Paulist Press 2016
  • ‘Interreligious Reading After Vatican II with John Henry Newman’s Two Habits of Mind’, Journal of Scriptural Reasoning: SR and Vatican II issue, forthcoming November 2016
  • ‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Belonging; The Refugee Crisis in Bonhoefferian Perspective’ forthcoming in The Pastoral Review, July/August 2016 edition
  • ‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Londoner: A Discussion of the London Period 1933-1935’, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Jahrbuch Volume 6, forthcoming 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
  • ‘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
  • ‘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