Staff Profile


Dr Ralph Norman

Principal Lecturer

School: School of Humanities & Educational Studies

Campus: Canterbury Main Campus

Tel: 01227 922910

Profile summary

I am Subject Lead with overall responsibility at CCCU for Theology as well as for Religion, Philosophy, and Ethics.

BA (Birmingham), MA (Birmingham), PhD (Birmingham)

I came to Canterbury Christ Church in 2001, having previously held the Stephenson Fellowship at the University of Sheffield. I have longstanding experience of the direction of degree programmes, of collaborative partnerships, and as an External Examiner. I have also had experience as acting Head of Department here in Canterbury. 

Subject expertise includes Christology, Eucharistic theology, Philosophy of Religion, and modern Anglican theology.

Research and knowledge exchange

I supervise research projects on Modern Theological Thought. Current topics pursued by postgraduate research students includes work on Christology and scientific thought. 

Experience of successful PhD supervision in the past includes (as a first supervisor) doctoral theses on 1) Slavoj Zizek and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 2) on Grace Jantzen, feminism and theological language, 3) on Russian Sophiology, and 4) on Teilhard de Chardin and Darwinism. I have also helped supervise successful PhDs on 19th as well as 20th Century Anglican theology, and on Jamaican spirituality.

I have also supervised PGR students to successful MPhil and MRes awards in topics including 18th Century Anglicanism as well as on Goddess traditions. 

Teaching and subject expertise

Current teaching areas include:

  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religion and Science
  • Christian Doctrine and Interpretation
  • Religion, Gender and Sexuality
  • British Idealism

I have taught modules on many areas of Christian theology, including Patristics, Classical Christian Mysticism, the Reformation, Victorian Religion, and Systematic Theology.

External activities

Recent conference presentations include:

  • Conference paper: ‘“Separation from Old Friends”: R.L. Nettleship and H. S. Holland at Roehampton’. Reading Hopkins 1918-2018. Roehampton University, June 2018.
  • Conference paper: ‘"Nescio qua nube": Clouds, veils, and poetic-apocalyptic reservation in Keble and Hopkins’. Landscape, Space, and Place. CCCU, May 2018.
  • Conference paper: ‘British Idealism and the Vatican’. British idealism and New liberalism: Visions of politics between UK and Italy. Department of Politics, University of Genoa, March 2018
  • Invited conference paper: ‘“Thanking God for the Humiliation”: Scott Holland and Christology’. A symposium on the life and thought of Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) to commemorate the Centenary of his death. Ripon College, Cuddesdon,March 2018
  • Conference paper: ‘Henry Scott Holland and the Law of Sacrifice’. Political Studies Association British Idealism Specialist Group Annual Conference. Gregynog Hall, University of Cardiff, December 2017.
  • Conference paper: 'Gerard Manley Hopkins and Henry Scott Holland'. North East Modern Languages Association, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, March 2017.
  • Conference paper: ‘High Church Ascensiontide Sermons’ Victorian Studies Group, Anglia Ruskin University (May 2016) 
  • Conference paper: 'The Devil and Kant’s Christology’ UK Collingwood Group, Cardiff University (December 2014)
  • Conference paper: 'Kant: Between Christ and Conscience' UK Kant Society, Heythrop College, University of London (August 2013)
  • Invited public lecture: ‘The Christologies of Kant and the British Idealists’ University of Chichester (February 2013)
  • Conference paper: ‘Lux Mundi, Pantheism and Materialism’, UK Kant Society, University of Hull (August 2012)
  • Conference paper: ‘Edward Herbert, Prayer and Interfaith’ Franciscan International Study Centre (April 2011)

Publications and research outputs

Recent publications include:

  • 'Tractarian Reserve and the Veiled Figure of Christ: Ascension, Mystery, and the Limits of Imagination', in E. Ludlow (ed), The Figure of Christ in the Long Nineteenth Century (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), pp. 117-131.
  • '"The Great Sacrifice": G. M. Hopkins, H. P. Liddon, and the Divine Victim' in The Hopkins Quarterly, vol. 45, nos. 1-2, 2018, pp. 15-48.
  • '"The Law of Sacrifice": G. M. Hopkins, H. S. Holland, and Oxford Anglicanism' in Religion and the Arts, vol. 22, no. 4, 2018, pp. 405-428.
  • '"Ascetic co-operation": Henry Scott Holland and Gerard Manley Hopkins' in Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2017, pp. 67-96.
  • 'On Academic Allegiance' in John Lea (ed), Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Open University Press, 2015), pp. 77-79.
  • 'The Christologies of Kant and the British Idealists: Ethical and Ontological Theories of Kenosis' in Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, vol. 19, no. 1, 2013, pp.113-37.
  • 'Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Religions and Prayer' in M. Diemling and T. Herbst (eds), Interpreting the "Spirit of Assisi": Challenges to Interfaith Dialogue in a Pluralistic World (Canterbury: FISC Publications, 2013), pp. 267-94.
  • 'Theological Foundations of Action Research for Learning and Teaching' in Discourse, vol. 8, no. 1, Autumn 2008, pp. 113-140.
  • 'Jouissance, Generation and the Coming of God' in Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 14, no. 2, January 2008, pp. 153-80.
  • 'Sexual Symbolism, Religious Language, and the Ambiguity of the Spirit: Associative Themes in Anglican Poetry and Philosophy' in Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 13, no. 3, May 2007, pp. 233-56.
  • 'Abelard's Legacy: Why Theology is not Faith Seeking Understanding' in Australian EJournal of Theology, Pentecost 2007, Issue 10.
  • 'Methodius and Methodologies: Ways of Reading Third-century Christian Sexual Symbolism' in Theology and Sexuality, Vol. 13, no. 1, September 2006, pp. 79-100.

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Last edited: 13/12/2018 21:16:00