A very recent arrival on the theological scene in Australia, I hail from a land where it rains considerably more, Northern Ireland. Studying for a BD at the University of Aberdeen was my route into theology in general, and one that eventually led me to re-evaluate my earlier desire to return to N. Ireland in ministerial capacity. Instead, I undertook doctoral research at Girton College in the University of Cambridge, under the watchful eye of Professor Nicholas Lash, and thereafter spent a little over 8 years as the Meldrum Lecturer in Systematic Theology at New College in the University of Edinburgh.
- PhD, University of Cambridge - UK, 31/12/1999
What is it that we are doing when we hope? How is our conception of self and world shaped within certain understandings of hope? These two broad questions have lingered through my doctoral research and beyond, inspired as I have been by encountering the writings of the Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968). Exploring the complex theological dynamic of what it means to hope, and particularly what significance hoping has for human identity/agency, will be furthered, in one way or another, over the next few years through particular engagement with a host of diverse figures: primarily, but not exclusively, Sophocles, Euripides, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, William Shakespeare, Immanuel Kant, G.W.H. Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Donald MacKinnon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hans Frei, and Gustavo Gutierrez.
Currently I am on several projects. Most immediately, I am writing a paper for a conference on 'Trinitarian Theology After Barth', testing the theological assumptions of a particular account of petitionary prayer. Subsequent to this will be, among other things, the editing of several of Donald MacKinnon's published articles (Continuum/T&T Clark, 2010); a paper for a collection on theology and tragedy which will read Jesus' trial by Pilate in the light of Barth's 'Judge Judged in Our Place', Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Kafka's Trial; a study of important elements in Barth's theology; and an introduction to the history of eschatological perspectives (Eerdmans, 2011).
In the more distant future I intend to develop a conference paper that I delivered in 2001 ['Midnight Feastings: Hope and the Deglobalising of Theology']. This seeks to reflect on the manner of Christian praxis specifically through reflecting on the styles of hoping available in societies undergoing 'globalisation'.
Following that, I hope to explore the accounts of evil and its relation to the cross in the writings of Karl Barth, Jürgen Moltmann and Donald MacKinnon. The aim is to demonstrate that these thinkers who are critical of the 'project theological of modernity' require critical reconstructions to their approaches to the cross, but that despite their various tendencies they attempt to refigure the Christian as a hopeful subject resisting evil.
My research plans flow from various concerns: concerns to engage fruitfully with the theology of Karl Barth; to substantiate the feeling of the significance of the broadly iconoclastic philosophical and theological work of Donald MacKinnon; to develop ways of engaging literature (especially the genre of tragedy); to root theological education in the practice of engagement with non-academic environments; and to ask about the nature and manifestation of the inescapable interaction between church and 'world' (hence my book on Star Wars).
Fields of Research
|220499||Religion And Religious Studies Not Elsewhere Classified||100|
|2007||McDowell J, The Gospel according to Star Wars: faith, hope and the force, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America, 204 (2007) [A1]|
Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.
Book (3 outputs)
Chapter (7 outputs)
|2012||McDowell JC, ''Unlearn what you have learned' (Yoda): The critical study of the myth of Star Wars', Understanding Religion and Popular Culture, Routledge, London 104-117 (2012) [B1]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'Idolaters at providential prayer: Calvin's praying through the divine governance', Evangelical Calvinism: Essays Resourcing the Continuing Reformation of the Church, Pickwick Publications, Eugene, Oregon 353-403 (2012) [B1]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'Silenus' wisdom and the 'Crime of Being': The problem of hope in George Steiner's tragic vision', The Wounds of Possibility: Essays on George Steiner, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 248-264 (2012) [B1]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'From sky-walking to the dark knight of the soul: George Lucas' Star Wars turns to tragic drama', Myth, Media, and Culture in Star Wars: An Anthology, The Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Maryland 65-82 (2012) [B2]|
|2011||McDowell JC, 'Donald Mackinnon: Extraordinary theologian of the ordinary', Philosophy and the Burden of Theological Honesty: A Donald McKinnon Reader, T & T Clark International, London vii-xiv (2011) [B1]|
|2011||McDowell JC, 'Prayer, particularity, and the subject of divine personhood: who are Brummer and Barth invoking when they pray?', Trinitarian Theology after Barth, Pickwick Publications, Eugene, OR 255-284 (2011) [B1]|
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Journal article (14 outputs)
|2012||McDowell JC, 'Schooled in a lifelong education in prayer', St Mark's Review, 222 143-153 (2012) [C1]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'The unnaturalness of natural theology: The witness of Rodney Holder's Karl Barth', Colloquium, 44 243-255 (2012) [C1]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'Predestination: Biblical and theological paths [Book Review]', Colloquium, 44 256-258 (2012) [C3]|
|2012||McDowell JC, 'Karl Barth on the Filioque [Book Review]', Colloquium, 44 270-272 (2012) [C3]|
|2011||McDowell JC, 'Crossing silence: The silences of the word', St Mark's Review, - 22-38 (2011) [C1]|
|2010||McDowell JC, ''Wars not make one great': Redeeming the Star Wars mythos from redemptive violence without amusing ourselves to death', Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 22 1-60 (2010) [C1]|
|2010||McDowell JC, 'Dead dogs, Darwin and the design of the divine', St Mark's Review, 9-34 (2010) [C2]|
|2009||McDowell JC, 'What Athens has to do with Jerusalem: The wisdom of reason, the publics of theology', Pacifica: Australasian theological studies, 22 125-147 (2009) [C1]|
|2009||McDowell JC, 'Star Wars' saving return', Journal of Religion and Film, 13 7-7 (2009) [C1]|
|2009||McDowell JC, ''Openness to the world': Karl Barth's evangelical theology of Christ as the pray-er', Modern Theology, 25 253-283 (2009) [C1]|
|Show 11 more|
Other (1 outputs)
|2004||McDowell J, 'A very unnationalistic patriotism, or what the flag should not blind us to', . New York, United States: The Witness (2004) [O1]|
Review (2 outputs)
|2006||McDowell J, 'Karl Barth', New dictionary of Christian apologetics (2006) [D2]|
|2006||McDowell J, 'Rudolg Bultmann', New dictionary of Christian apologetics (2006) [D2]|
Grants and Funding
|Number of current supervisions||6|
|Total current UoN Masters EFTSL||0.45|
|Total current UoN PhD EFTSL||3.05|
For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, details are shown in italics, and the institution name is listed below the program name.
|Program||Supervisor Type||Research Title|
|2013||2010||M Philosophy (Religious)||Principal Supervisor||Is Science in Conflict with Biblical Christianity?|
|2011||2015||PhD (Theology)||Principal Supervisor||Human Rights and the Peaceableness of Hauerwas:A Feminist Perspective on Identity, Community and Sexual Violence|
|2011||2014||PhD (Religious Studies)||Principal Supervisor||Beyond Absolutism: Conversations with Karl Barth over the Reforming of Enlightenment Subjectivity in Judgement|
|2010||2014||PhD (Religious Studies)||Principal Supervisor||Interrupting Moral Technique, Transforming Biomedical Ethics: Reading Karl Barth Against the 'Sin' of the Common Morality and for the Postures of Human Flourishing|
|2010||2019||PhD (Religious Studies)||Principal Supervisor||Karl Barth's Understanding of Participatio Christi and its Significance for Church Proclamation and Practice Today|
|2009||2017||PhD (Religious Studies)||Principal Supervisor||The NT Picture of Judas Iscariot|
|Year||Program||Supervisor Type||Research Title|
|2011||M Philosophy (Religious)||Co-Supervisor||The Ghostly Experiences of Non-Indigenous Australians|
Professor John McDowell
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 8759|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6933|
|Position||Professor of Theology|
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Focus Area||Philosophy, Religion and Theology|
Callaghan NSW 2308