The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester is a community of scholars addressing cutting edge questions concerning theology and the nature and place of religions in the world from a wide range of perspectives. We are dedicated to excellence, both in our student-centred teaching and learning and in our research.

Recent Submissions

  • Don Cupitt: prophet, public intellectual and pioneer Prophet without honour: the marginalization of Don Cupitt

    Graham, Elaine; Smith, Graeme (SAGE Publications, 2023-01-05)
    This article is the first of three that will evaluate the work and legacy of the Cambridge non-realist theologian and philosopher of religion, Don Cupitt. We begin by suggesting that Cupitt might be depicted as a ‘prophet without honour’ in both his ecclesiastical home of the Church of England and at the University of Cambridge, where he spent most of his professional life. This is based on the observation that, after a promising early career, Cupitt never received the ecclesiastical preferment or academic promotion that many argued he deserved. This arguably represents a missed opportunity for both Church and academy, because Cupitt is more accurately understood not as an enemy of religion but as essentially an ecclesiastical insider whose chief motivation was to uphold the contemporary relevance and credibility of Christianity.
  • Early Christianity and War

    Middleton, Paul; University of Chester
    This essay examines the role of war in the New Testament and Early Christianity.
  • Martyrdom and Persecution in the New Testament

    Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Wiley Blackwell, 2020-01-30)
    Examines the phenomena of martyrdom and persecution as reflected in the New Testament
  • Creating and Contesting Christian Martyrdom

    Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Wiley Blackwell, 2020-01-30)
    This essay examines the way in which martyrdom narratives are not primarily accounts of a death, but literature that reflects a wider conflict in which the martyr represents a community against their real or perceived enemies. It examines the process of martyr making.
  • Understanding “flow”: A multimodal reading of political economy and capitalist erotics in hip hop

    Maxwell, Kate; Greenaway, Jonathan; UiT The Arctic University of Norway; University of Chester (SAGE Publications, 2022-11-10)
    One of the essential elements of a rapper’s art is “flow”: the delivery of text against beat. Hip hop, with its linguistic dominance and street origins, is traditionally male-orientated, with women often depicted in terms of (sexual) subordination. However, when considered through a female gaze, the discourses conjured by “flow” take on different meanings. From the flow of desire to monthly visits from Aunt Flo, “flow” is integral to female sexuality. As a commercial art form in a capitalist society, the flow of capital is another meaning that has been largely overlooked in hip hop studies. In this article we broaden the understanding of “flow” to include that of the libido, menstruation, capital, and social media. We analyse five hip hop songs (with videos) using a methodology that builds on Van Leeuwen’s (1999) multimodal analysis of sound, together with a tripartite division of “mode” into cultural practices, semiotic resources, and elements (Maxwell, 2015), underpinned by close readings of the Marxist philosophers Deleuze and Guattari. We show that the dominant flow in hip hop is inevitably that of capital – the Deleuzian great flow – and that even this self-consciously subversive music style is governed by the insatiable drive of the market.
  • When My Work is Found Wanting: Power, intersectionality, postcolonialism, and the reflexive feminist researcher

    Llewellyn, Dawn; University of Chester (Routledge, 2021-12-31)
    Feminist research emerges out of a struggle with power. Ingrained in feminist studies of religion is the identification and dismantling of religious hierarchies and structures that disempower. Feminist scholarship has contended with the essentialist categories of ‘woman’ and ‘women’s experience’ without questioning that its rendering of ‘religion’ and ‘gender’ was premised on and benefited from its own modes of dominance and suppression, conditioned by Western colonialism. Taking up feminist research is a reflexive position that can assist in upsetting the established hierarchies of power and the binary oppositions of researcher and researched, knower and known, political and personal. However, feminist thinking in religion and gender, like the author own, has not always been reflexively attentive to its almost exclusive focus on the relationships between religion and gender and its own power as the product of Western, colonial, secular discourses.
  • Hans Frei, 1922-1988

    Fulford, Ben; University of Chester
    An overview of the life and theology of Hans W. Frei.
  • Temple, Sex, Gender and Society

    Graham, Elaine; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-07-04)
    This article gives an overview of the main economic, legal and cultural changes around the role of women, debates about gender identity and patterns of marriage and the family that have taken place over the past 80 years since Christianity and Social Order was first published.
  • Giants, Gods and Goods: Toward a 'new Beveridge'

    Graham, Elaine; University of Chester (Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2022-06-29)
    Eighty years ago, on December 1 1942, the Beveridge Report, widely seen as the founding document of the post-1945 welfare state in the UK, was published. In grandiloquent terms, the report called for an attack on ‘Five Giant Evils’ – Disease, Idleness, Ignorance, Squalor and Want -- that needed to be combatted as Britain prepared for peace and post-war reconstruction. Beveridge’s recommendations captured the public mood perfectly. Having made so many sacrifices for a common cause of defeating Nazism, armed forces and civilians alike shared a determination that the peace which followed should be built for the benefit of all. That mood found expression in the post-war Labour government’s pledges to achieve full employment, universal education and a welfare state, free of the privations and anxieties of poverty, low pay or old age. Like the 1939-45 war, the global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental inadequacies in the economy, the National Health Service and social care provision. As society moves out of the worst of the pandemic, it may be time to contemplate, as did Beveridge and his contemporaries (including William Temple), what kind of future provision may be required for the future: both in redressing the longer-term stresses and shortcomings of the existing system and in ‘building back better’. Certainly, the political historian Peter Hennessey believes the ‘never again’ impulse that sprung from the 1939-45 conflict has resurfaced today, and may be harnessed to build consensus around new priorities (Hennessey). Even so, this will entail more than simple reform of the existing welfare system, for two key reasons. First, the political, economic, cultural and demographic landscape of the twenty-first century has changed. Second, any revision of welfare requires a rethinking not only of its fiscal and operational dimensions, but of the very values that underpin a ‘welfare society’ that is fit for purpose. What principles might inform any kind of reform? And in the midst of that, what is the role of faith-based social action? In this article I will approach this question by beginning with the ‘Five Giants’ of Beveridge’s report, before asking what might form the basis of a ‘new Beveridge’ for the twenty-first century. Sam Wells’ recent survey of church-related provision argues that reforms of welfare should proceed not from a ‘deficit’ model but from one of ‘assets’ and social goods. It is in their ability to articulate and embody social capital, motivated by religious and moral values, that faith-based organisations demonstrate a distinctive and decisive contribution to civil society. This calls for a renewed focus on the significance of the voluntary sector in a revitalised ‘welfare society’, alongside the State and the market, and a consideration of five new social ‘goods’ to inform policy and inspire change.
  • Pentecostalism: A democratizing, liberating force for black women?

    McDonald, Patrice (Informa UK Limited, 2022-08-08)
  • The Independent Schools Religious Studies Association Report Religion and Worldviews (Weltanschauung) June 2022 - A Personal Response

    Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Reforming RE, 2022-07-02)
    A personal reponse to the 2022 ISRSA statement on the 2018 proposals of the Commission for Religious Education.
  • ‘‘Turning the Wheel of the Dharma’: A translation of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita Canto 15 from a recently rediscovered Sanskrit manuscript

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Cardiff University Press, 2021-12-15)
    This article offers a first translation into English of the re-discovered Sanskrit text of Canto 15 of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita. While Cantos 1–14 of Aśvaghoṣa’s kāvya, or long poem on the life of the Buddha, have survived in Sanskrit, it had been thought that Cantos 15–24 only survived in Tibetan and Chinese translations. But the Japanese scholar Kazunobu Matsuda, working with Jens-Üwe Hartmann, has recently identified the whole of Canto 15 embedded in a Sanskrit manuscript of the Tridaṇḍamālā, attributed to Aśvaghoṣa. While Matsuda has made a translation into Japanese, I offer a translation of the Sanskrit text of Buddhacarita Canto 15 into English. A distinctive feature of this translation is that I present a prose translation, conveying the Sanskrit syntax and vocabulary in an accurate form, alongside a verse translation, suggesting some of the poetic qualities of Ásvaghoṣa’s Sanskrit in the form of English blank verse and unrhymed ballad metre.
  • What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?

    Jones, Dhivan Jones; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What Kinds of Meditation Are There in Buddhism?
  • What Is non-attachment in Buddhism?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What Is Non-Attachment in Buddhism?
  • What do we know about the historical Buddha?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox Publishing, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, What do we know about the historical Buddha?
  • Are Buddhists Vegetarian?

    Jones, Dhivan Thomas; University of Chester (Equinox, 2021-10-25)
    Answer to the question, Are Buddhists vegetarian?
  • Peggy the Tutor, Mentor, Colleague and Friend.

    Dossett, Wendy; Burns, Andrew; Schmidt, Bettina; University of Chester; Alister Hardy Society; Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity St David (Religious Experience Research Centre, 2021-08-03)
    Introduction to the Festschrift - Essays in Honour of Peggy Morgan

View more