Senior Research Fellows

 

Professor Douglas Campbell’s main research interest is the life and theology of the apostle Paul, with particular reference to an understanding of salvation informed by apocalyptic as against justification or salvation-history. However, he is interested in methodological contributions to Paul’s analysis from any disciplinary angle, ancient or modern, whether Greco-Roman epistolary and rhetorical theory, or insights into human networking and conflict-resolution discovered by sociologists. His recent book-length publications include Paul: An Apostle’s Journey (Eerdmans, 2018), Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography (Eerdmans, 2014), The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul (Eerdmans, 2009), and The Quest for Paul’s Gospel: A Suggested Strategy (T & T Clark, 2005). A book of essays has been published analyzing his critical approach to justification: Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell (ed. Chris Tilling, Wipf & Stock, 2014).

He is currently a Professor of New Testament at the Divinity School at Duke University (2003- ), having taught previously in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s College London (1996-2003); and in the Department of Religious Studies at his alma mater, the University of Otago (1989-2003). He received a BA (Hons) in Political Philosophy from the University of Otago, and an MA and PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Toronto.
Professor Campbell’s teaching interests centre on the apostle Paul, and on others aspects of the New Testament, but include an ongoing concern to research alternatives to the current prison system, and to foster practical concrete engagements with people currently caught within that system.

 

Dr Bruce Ellis Benson has taught and engaged in research at Loyola Marymount University, Wheaton College (IL), the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and Union Theological Seminary (NYC).

He is the author of five books: Liturgy as a Way of Life: Embodying the Arts in Christian Worship (Baker Academic, 2014), (with J. Aaron Simmons) The New Phenomenology: A Philosophical Introduction (Bloomsbury, 2014), the award-winning Pious Nietzsche: Decadence and Dionysian Faith (Indiana, 2008), The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music (Cambridge, 2003), and Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida and Marion on Modern Idolatry (IVP, 2002).

His eight co-edited books are: Evil, Fallenness, and Finitude (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Being-In-Creation: Human Responsibility in an Endangered World (Fordham, 2015), Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Eerdmans, 2012), Words of Life: New Theological Turns in French Phenomenology, Evangelicals and Empire: Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo (Brazos, 2008), Transforming Philosophy and Religion: Love’s Wisdom (Indiana, 2008); Hermeneutics at the Crossroads (Indiana, 2006), and The Phenomenology of Prayer (Fordham, 2005).

His primary areas of interest are the following:

  • Apology and Forgiveness: What makes for a good apology and what should be the conditions (if any) for forgiveness? Benson is currently working on a popular book tentatively titled Fake Apology: Why Most Apologies Sound Like Bullshit. That will be followed by Keeping Score: Forgiveness and Recompense (tentative title). The concern in these books is certainly influenced by Christianity, but it is also connected to both discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and the proliferation of ‘apologies’ from companies, political bodies, sexual harassers, and many others.
  • Improvisational Virtue: What kinds of virtues does one need to improvise (musically or otherwise) with others? The concern already arises in The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue and is continued in such publications as: “Creatio ex improvisatione: Chétien on the Call” in Music and Transcendence (2014); “In the Beginning, There Was Improvisation” in The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2016); and “Improvisation” in The Oxford Handbook of Western Music and Philosophy (forthcoming 2020). The goal is to develop a dialogue between artists, sociologists, and virtue theorists.
  • Liturgy and Religion: What exactly is ‘liturgy’? What is ‘religion’? Liturgy as a Way of Life reconceives of Christianity as being primarily a way of life. That concept of Christianity is further developed in “The Primacy of Liturgy in Christianity,” Religious Studies (forthcoming 2020). Benson’s work on liturgy has led to the realization that the category of ‘philosophy of religion’ has been fundamentally shaped by Christian assumptions and is inherently problematic. In response, we need to ask some truly basic questions: Is the term ‘religion’ meaningful? Is there really a dichotomy between being ‘spiritual’ and being ‘religious’? Recent work on these questions by Benson is in “Where is the Philosophical/Theological Rubicon? Toward a Radical Rethinking of “Religion’” in The Theological Turn in Phenomenology (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2020) and “Is There Such a Thing as Religious Experience? Eine Rückfrage nach dem Ursprung der Spiritualität,” in Open Theology (forthcoming 2020).

Benson has published over 100 book chapters, articles, and reviews. He serves as the Executive Director of the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology and Philosophy of Religion editor for Syndicate Journal. He is an editor of the Prophetic Christianity series (Eerdmans) that has published texts such as Dear White Christians, I Bring the Voices of My People, and Shalom and the Community of Creation.