John Whitty



Prof. Mark Edwards


My thesis aims to recover Basil’s understanding of unwritten tradition and its place in his wider theological epistemology. This will be achieved by considering Basil’s own work, as well as the context of Christian and non-Christian late antiquity. So far my research has been primarily based on contextualising Basil's thought with reference to Classical Philosophy and Pre-Nicene and Nicene Christian thought. I have also considered the influence of late Second Temple Judaism, particularly Pharisaism, on the development of a concept of "tradition" in the earliest church.

Research area (please select one or more): 

History of Christianity; Historical and Systematic Theology; Philosophical Theology 


Bampton Departmental Studentship

Other research interests:

My other areas of research include Hellenistic philosophy, gnosis in Christian and non-Christian traditions and Ignatius of Antioch. I have also begun to develop an interest in Byzantine Studies and the use of religious iconography in film.

About me:

I have always found myself particularly interested in the first five centuries of Christianity, particularly the development of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, tradition and the epistemological questions that these raise. In both my BA and MSt. theses I have focussed on patristic understandings of the Holy Spirit as one who reveals divine knowledge to the elite of the Church through illumination. My D.Phil thesis is a continuation of this line of enquiry, but in far greater depth and breadth. At the end of my studies, I hope to go on to teach patristics at a higher education level.

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