Professor Mark Wynn

Professor Mark Wynn

Professor of Philosophy and Religion

Summary: Philosophy of religion; philosophical study of religious practice; philosophy, religion and place; religion and emotion; philosophy and the spiritual life; medieval philosophy and theology

Mark Wynn joined the School in 2013, having previously held appointments at the University of Exeter, the Australian Catholic University, the University of Glasgow (where he was the Gifford Research Fellow), and King’s College, London. He completed his BA (Philosophy and Theology) and DPhil at the University of Oxford.

His research aims to bring together a fine-grained account of religious traditions and philosophical reflection on themes such as: the relationship between worldview and conceptions of the human good; the behavioural, emotional and perceptual, as well as creedal, practices which define particular forms of spiritual life; the role of the arts in the transmission of religious traditions; the importance of place-relative practices in sustaining religious and spiritual identities.

In general, his research rests on the thought that religious traditions constitute extended experiments in human possibilities – and the belief that in some cases, the careful retrieval of those traditions can throw new light on contemporary questions about how to live well.

Mark is the Assistant Editor of Religious Studies, and serves on the board of the Blackwell Philosophy Compass. He is also a member the editorial board of the Continuum series in Philosophy of Religion. In Hilary Term of 2015, he will be the Wilde Lecturer in Natural Theology at the University of Oxford.

Research interests

Philosophy and theology of the spiritual life

Contemporary issues in philosophical theology and philosophy of religion

The philosophical study of religious practices, and the material context of those practices, including the philosophy and theology of place, and the philosophy and theology of the emotions

Medieval philosophy and theology

For an overview of some of Mark's interests, see:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology-religion/

http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.co.uk/pdf/0-19-956038-2.pdf

Research supervision

Mark has acted as first supervisor for a wide range of PhD topics. Some recent examples include: existential feelings as a source for religious belief; John Paul II’s theological anthropology, with particular reference to the question of suffering; the viability of naturalistic accounts of 'spirituality' (with Stephen Lea); a comparison of Islamic and Christian perspectives on euthanasia (with Ian Netton and Michael Hauskeller).

He is currently supervising PhD projects on a Christological reading of Dante's Divine Comedy (with Matthew Treherne) and on Quaker spiritual experience and the York Retreat (with Rachel Muers).

He would be pleased to supervise research students with an interest in: contemporary issues in philosophy of religion and philosophical theology; philosophical and theological perspectives on religion in its material context; and the ‘spiritual life’ broadly conceived, including practices of spiritual formation.


Some recent publications

Books

Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Faith and Place: An Essay in Embodied Religious Epistemology (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Emotional Experience and Religious Understanding: Integrating Perception, Conception and Feeling (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Papers

Renewing the Senses: Conversion Experience and the Phenomenology of the Spiritual Life, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 72, 2012, 211-226.

Mystery, Humility and Religious Practice in the Thought of St John of the Cross, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, vol. 4, 2012, 89-108.

Taking the Appearances Seriously: Architectural Experience and the Phenomenological Case for Religious Belief, Religious Studies, vol. 47, 2011, 331-344.

Towards a Broadening of the Concept of Religious Experience: Some Phenomenological Considerations, Religious Studies, vol. 45, Cambridge University Press, 2009, 147-166.

The Moral Philosophy of Raimond Gaita and Some Questions of Method in the Philosophy of Religion, New Blackfriars, vol. 90, 2009, 639-651.

Contributions to collections

Tradition, in Aquino, F, Abraham, W (eds) Oxford Handbook of the Epistemology of Theology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Religious Faith, in Oppy G (ed) Handbook of Philosophy of Religion, London: Routledge, forthcoming.

Religious Thought and the Sensory World: Some Thoughts Drawn from Roger Scruton's Aesthetics of Architecture, in Bryson J (ed) Thinking the Sacred with Roger Scruton, London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

Religious Experience and Natural Theology, in Re Manning R (ed) Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 325-39.

Religion and Mental Health: The Case of Conversion Experience with Particular Reference to William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, in Cook C (ed) Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, London: SCM Press, 2013, 124-40.

Theism and Aesthetics, in Taliaferro C, Harrison V, Goetz S (eds) The Routledge Companion to Theism, London: Routledge, 2012, 564-76.

Re-enchanting the World: The Possibility of Materially Mediated Religious Experience, in MacSwain R, Worley T (eds) Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture: Conversations with the Work of David Brown, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 115-127.

Naturalism, Supernaturalism and Some Meanings of Pilgrimage, in Brace C, Bailey, A , Carter S, Harvey D, Thomas N (eds) Emerging Geographies of Belief, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2011, 154-167.

Charity and Human Flourishing: Some Reflections Drawn from Thomas Aquinas, in Higton, M, Law J, Rowland C (eds) Theology and Human Flourishing: Essays in Honour of Timothy J. Gorringe, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011, 224-237.

Religion in its Material Context: Some Considerations Drawn From Contemporary Philosophies of Place, in Carlisle J, Carter J, Whistler D (eds) Moral Powers, Fragile Beliefs, London: Continuum, 2011, 221-242.

Imaging Religious Thoughts in the Appearances of Sensory Things, in Evans J, Taliaferro C (eds) Turning Images in Philosophy, Science and Religion: A New Book of Nature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 207-225.

Thomas Aquinas: Reading the Idea of Dominion in the Light of the Doctrine of Creation, in Horrell D, Hunt C, Southgate C, Stavrakopoulou F (eds) Towards an Ecological Hermeneutic: Biblical, Historical and Theological Perspectives, London: T&T Clark, 2010, 154-165.

William Paley and the Argument from Design, in Jordan J (eds) Philosophy of Religion: Key Thinkers, London: Continuum, 2010, 54-75.