Andrew Shamel


Graham Ward

Research Overview:

My thesis aims to give a theological account of mythopoeisis, a theological anthropology of the human as myth-maker. This question touches on myth(ology), theological anthropology, the doctrine of creation, narratology, and epistemology. In Terry Pratchett’s novel Hogfather, the bloviating Arch-Chancellor of Unseen University, Mustrum Ridcully bursts out with the observation that ‘Man is a naturally mythopoeic creature!’ Though not generally as materially apparent as the manifold creatures and minor deities who appear in the course of the novel wreaking havoc on the populace, the results of our mythopeosis are no less impactful on the ways in which we perceive, understand, reason, and act in the world. An understanding of the dynamics of this myth-making will help in understanding what is meant by Christian language of faith and experience of the Divine. 

Research Area/s: 

Historical and Systematic Theology, Philosophical Theology, Study of Religions

About Me:

I graduated from Dartmouth College in 2005 with an honours degree in English Literature, where I wrote a thesis on the fictional religions in the science fiction and fantasy novels of Ursula K. Le Guin. I completed my Master of Divinity in 2010 at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and my Master of Arts in homiletics at the Graduate Theological Union in 2011. My Master’s thesis explored the theological and homiletical character of the weekly monologues delivered by American radio presenter Garrison Keillor in his “News from Lake Wobegon”. In 2010 I was ordained in the Episcopal Church and served a curacy in Indianapolis and four years as the Episcopal chaplain at Stanford University before crossing the sea with a fat cat and a skinny cat to make a home in Oxford.


Select Publications:

Response paper to “Grace, Apocalyptic and the Kingdom of God’” Delivered by N. T. Wright, Society for the Study of Theology. Warwick, UK 2019.

“As Above, So Below?: Divine Revelation and Human Creativity in Narratives of Identity”, Theology from Below Conference. Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2019.

“Mythic Sensibility and Mythopoeic Literature,” Theological Tropes in Popular Culture. Oxford, UK 2018.

“A Plan for Action: Magic as Religion in Earthsea and the Discworld,” American Comparative Literature Association. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2016.

Academic Interests: 

Theological anthropology, theologies of formation, narrative and theology, mythopoeic and fantasy fiction, theologies of participation.

Academic Related Activities

Graduate Joint Consultative Committee (GJCC) representative 2018-2019

Graduate Theological Society (GTS) Social Secretary 2018-2019

Areas of Teaching Competence and Experience:

Modern theology, systematic theology, liturgics