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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


Dr Philip McCosker, FRSA, is a Research Fellow in Religion and Theology at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University, and a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. Until 2020 he was Director of the Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry and Vice-Master of St Edmund’s College in the University of Cambridge, as well as Director of Studies in Theology, Religion and the Philosophy of Religion at Magdalene, Murray Edwards and St Edmund’s Colleges. Prior to that he was Departmental Lecturer in Modern Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religion in the University of Oxford, Deputy Master of St Benet’s Hall, and Lecturer in Theology at Trinity and Jesus Colleges in Oxford. He took a First in Theology at Oxford. After working as a lay-chaplain at the University of Rouen in France he was awarded a MTS in Systematic Theology from Harvard Divinity School. He went on to do his PhD on models of paradoxicality in mystical christologies in Cambridge under Denys Turner, completing the research while a Visiting Assistant in Research at the Department of Religious Studies at Yale University.

Philip is co-editor of the international review journal Reviews in Religion and Theology published by Wiley-Blackwell in association with the Von Hügel Institute at Edmund’s College.


Philip’s areas of expertise are systematic and historical theologies especially christologies; Catholic theologies; theological epistemologies; apophaticisms; ressourcement theologies; mystical theologies; paradox; sacrifice; desire; prayer; sexuality; queer theologies.

Having edited books on the interpretation and reception of scripture, and on the theology of Thomas Aquinas, McCosker’s first monograph creatively extends the paradoxical christologies of the early twentieth century ressourcement theologians by using pre-modern mystical theologies to provide a comprehensive treatment of forms of paradox in theology. Central to this work is close attention to different kinds of difference or opposition and their role in theological contexts. His next monograph will provide a taxonomy of understandings of catholicity, again focussing on the work of the ressourcement theologians. It will argue that these theologians quietly but surely turned the tables on centuries of Roman Catholic thinking about catholicity by turning to qualitative rather than solely quantitative understandings and explore the significant implications of this move.


Key publications: 


  • Christ the Paradox: Expanding Ressourcement Christologies (forthcoming; Cambridge University Press, 2022)
  • Co-editor (with Denys Turner), Cambridge Companion to the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)
  • Editor, What is it that the Scripture says? Essays in Biblical Interpretation, Translation, and Reception in Honour of Henry Wansbrough OSB (London: T&T Clark, 2006)


  • 'From the Joy of the Gospel to the Joy of Christ: Situating and Expanding the Christology of Pope Francis', in Duncan Dormor and Alana Harris (eds), Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, and the Renewal of the Church (New York: Paulist Press, 2018)
  • 'Grace', in Philip McCosker and Denys Turner (eds), The Cambridge Companion to the Summa Theologiaeof Thomas Aquinas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 205-21
  • Sitit Sitiri:Apophatic Christologics of Desire’, in Eric Bugyis and David Newheiser (eds), Desire, Faith, and the Darkness of God (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2015), 391-413
  • ‘Sacrifice in Recent Catholic Theology: From Paradox to Polarity, and Back Again?’, in Johannes Zachhuber and Julia Meszaros (eds), Sacrifice and Modern Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 132-46
  • Enhypostasia Mystica: Insights from Mystical Theology for an Old Debate’, in Louise Nelstrop and Simon Podmore (eds), Immanence and Transcendence: Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), 69-92
  • ‘Ephrem the Syrian (c. (c.306–73)’, in Ian Markham (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Theologians (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 97-115
  • ‘Bonaventure (c.1217–74)’, in Ian Markham (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Theologians (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 268-83
  • ‘The Christology of Pierre de Bérulle’, Downside Review, 124/435 (2006), 111-34
  • ‘“Blessed Tension”: Barth and von Balthasar on the Music of Mozart’, The Way, 44/4 (2005), 81-95.
  • ‘On Emptying Kenosis’, a review article of C. Stephen Evans (ed.), Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God (Oxford: OUP, 2006), Reviews in Religion and Theology, 14/3 (2007), 380-8
  • ‘Middle Muddle?’, review article of John Milbank, The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Debate concerning the Supernatural (London: SCM, 2005), Reviews in Religion and Theology, 13 (2006), 362-70
  • ‘Joined-up Thomism and the ‘Second Quest’ for Trinitarian Renewal’, review article of Matthew Levering, Scripture and Metaphysics: Aquinas and the Renewal of Trinitarian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), Reviews in Religion and Theology, 12 (2005), 331-7
Chair of VHI Board
Research Fellow in Religion and Theology, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University
Co-Editor, Reviews in Religion & Theology
Dr Philip  McCosker

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