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Dr Gavin Hyman

Senior Lecturer

County South
Lancaster University
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592423
Office hours: LENT TERM 2015: Monday 3-4pm and Wednesday 12 noon-1pm.


Continental Philosophy and Critical Theory

Continental philosophy and religious thought, especially debates in contemporary theology between 'radical orthodoxy' and 'secular theology'; the dialectical tradition in philosophy and theology (Hegel and post-Hegelian thinkers such as Gillian Rose, Charles Taylor, Rowan Williams and Slavoj Zizek); religion and psychoanalytic thought (especially in the work of Freud and Michel de Certeau); religion and political thought, particularly the origins and development of the Christian Socialist tradition; the philosophical and cultural history of atheism and secularism; contemporary debates on the nature of atheism and secularism.

PhD Supervision Interests

Gavin Hyman welcomes research proposals in the following areas, broadly conceived: Christian studies: theological, philosophical and historical approaches; Philosophy and religious thought; Postmodernism, theology and ethics; Continental philosophy; Religion and Psychoanalytic Thought.



M.A. (Exon.),  Ph.D. (Cantab.)

Personal and Career details

Gavin Hyman was born in 1974 and educated at Rougemont School, the University of Exeter and at Peterhouse, Cambridge.  Since 1999, he has taught at the University of Lancaster and is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion.  He is a specialist in continental philosophy and religious thought, and has published widely in this area. He serves on the departmental Management Committee as Deputy Head of Department and Director of Human Resources, and, beyond the department, he is the University Public Orator. He has also been a Visiting Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford.

Research Interests

Gavin Hyman's research explores the implications of contemporary continental philosophy and cultural theory for religious thought, and, conversely, explores the ways in which theology both contributes to and calls into question contemporary philosophical and cultural assumptions.His first book, The Predicament of Postmodern Theology (2001) explored the relationship between two antithetical forms of postmodern theology: 'radical orthodoxy' and 'nihilist textualism'. It also raised the scaffolding for a form of religious reflection which avoids both the absolutism of radical orthodoxy on the one hand and the relativism of nihilist textualism on the other.

More recently, he has extended these explorations into the ethical and political arenas, and has recently published a book entitled Traversing the Middle: Ethics, Politics, Religion (2013).  It engages with the work of those who have called for the “return of the metanarrative” or insisted on the necessity of the domain of the “universal” on specifically ethical and political grounds.  They have argued that the psotmodern trajectory has led to a debilitating impasse when faced with the contemporary hegemony of global capitalism.  Through detailed engagements with the work of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank—as well as discussions of the work of Simon Critchley, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri—the book argues that many contemporary thinkers merely invert the problems intrinsic to postmodernism and therefore do not effectively escape them.  It argues that the ethical and political are best preserved and perpetuated through the negotiating of an ongoing tension between the domains of the universal, the particular and the singular.  To proceed thus would be to traverse the terrain of the middle—ethically, politically and religiously.

He has also developed research interests in the cultural and philosophical history of atheism and secularism. In particular, he is interested in the epistemological shifts that created the conditions for the emergence of atheism and secularism in the early modern period. He is also interested in exposing the hidden philosophical (and often religious) presuppositions underlying contemporary manifestations of atheism. He has contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, has written A Short History of Atheism (2010) and has co-edited Confronting Secularism in Europe and India (2014).



The Predicament of Postmodern Theology: Radical Orthodoxy or Nihilist Textualism? (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001).  198pp.

(ed.), New Directions in Philosophical Theology: Essays in Honour of Don Cupitt (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004).  200pp.

A Short History of Atheism (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010).  212 pp.  Turkish translation, 2011.  208pp.

Traversing the Middle: Ethics, Politics, Religion  (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2013).  209pp.

(co-ed. with Brian Black and Graham M. Smith),  Confronting Secularism in Europe and India: Legitimacy and Disenchantment in Contemporary Times  (London: Bloomsbury, 2014).  208pp.


Articles have appeared in Theology, New Blackfriars, The Heythrop Journal, Literature and Theology, Modern Believing, The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Theology Today and Approaching Religion.  Essays have also appeared in a number of edited volumes, such as The Future of Liberal Theology, edited by Mark Chapman, The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, edited by Michael Martin and The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion, edited by Clayton Crockett, B. Keith Putt and Jeffrey W. Robbins.

Office Hours


Monday 3-4pm and Wednesday 12 noon-1pm.

No publications found

  • Confronting Secularism

    01/04/2012 →
    Can secularism continue to provide a foundation for political legitimacy? It is often claimed that one of the cultural achievements of the west has been its establishment of secular democracy, wherei ... Read more»
  • Messianic Now

    01/03/2007 →
    ... Read more»
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Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YL, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594260  Fax: +44 (0) 1524 594238 Email: ppr@lancaster.ac.uk

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