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Professor Lewis Ayres

Professor of Catholic & Historical Theology

Professor of Catholic & Historical Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion+44 (0) 191 33 43945
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 


Although I was born and educated in the UK, I have taught for much of my career abroad, in Ireland (at TCD) and most recently in the US at Emory University. I arrived at Durham in 2009. The core of my research has been Trinitarian theology in Augustine and in the Greek writers of the fourth century. On this theme I have published a number of articles and Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth Century Trinitarian Theology (Oxford University Press, 2004/6). In 2010 I also published Augustine and the Trinity (Cambridge University Press).

My current research concerns the development of early Christian cultures of interpretation between 100 and 250. I am currently working on a book entitled As It Is Written: Ancient Literary Criticism and the Rise of Scripture AD 100-250 (for Princeton University Press).

The same project will result in a book on modern Catholic debates about the relationship between the reading of Scripture, Tradition and the nature of theology.

I have also edited or co-edited a number of books, including (with Andrew Louth and Frances Young) the Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (2004). With two colleagues I recently published an English translation of and introduction to Didymus the Blind's On the Holy Spirit and Athanasius's Letters to Serapion (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2012). I am currently editing the Cambridge History of Early Christian Theology.

I also have a number of interests in modern Catholic fundamental and dogmatic theology — as will be evident from the last chapter of Nicaea and some of the articles I have published. I am interested in the modern reception of Patristic Trinitarian theology and in the modern use of post-idealist themes in the supposed "revivals" of Trinitarian theology that we have seen over the last two centuries. I also have a strong interest in the place of Scripture (and Tradition) in modern Catholic theology and the fundamental structure of Catholic theology. I am convinced that the ideological and professional divisions that have arisen between Scripture scholars, "systematic" and "historical" theologians have served Catholic theology ill. Ressourcement theologians have offered us many resources that can move us beyond these divisions, but much further work is necessary for their agenda to be taken forward.

With Medi Ann Volpe I also co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Catholic Theology (forthcoming March 2019). I am involved in co-editing a number of book series, including the Wiley-Blackwell series Challenges in Contemporary Theology. I also serve on the editorial boards of the Irish Theological Quartely, Augustinian Studies and Modern Theology.

Between 2009-2012 I was the inaugural holder of the Bede Chair in Catholic Theology. During 2014-15 academic year I seved as Distinguished Fellow of Notre Dame's Institute for Advanced Study.

I am also a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry of the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.


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