Department of Theology and Religious Studies

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Erik Eklund

PhD Candidate; Teaching Affiliate,


Teaching Summary

Teaching Affiliate, University of Nottingham

THEO1009 Building the Christian Church (Autumn 2019)

College of Ministry, and College of Adult and Professional Studies, Northwest University (Kirkland, Washington)

BIBL1103 Old Testament History and Literature (online delivery)

BIBL1203 New Testament History and Literature (online delivery)

BIBL2213 Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels (online delivery)

BIBL3253 Corinthian Correspondence (online delivery)

THEO1213 Christian Thought (online delivery)

From 2015-17 he taught Bible and theology at Cascade Christian High School (Puyallup, Washington), teaching honors courses for concurrent college credit through Northwest University on Augustine's Confessions and on the biblical theology of the Gospel of Matthew, as well as more general courses on philosophy, theology and spiritual formation.

Research Summary

Erik's research interests are broadly oriented around theological aesthetics, particularly in relation to the writings of Vladimir Nabokov and how his writings embodies a metaphysical or theological… read more

Recent Publications


Dieter E. Zimmer Prize for Best Postgraduate Work on Vladimir Nabokov (2018). Value $1,500. Awarded 23 September 2019. Administered, selected and awarded by the International Vladimir Nabokov Society, and funded by the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation. For the essay, "'A Green Lane in Paradise': Eschatology and Theurgy in Humbert Humbert's Lolita."

Invited Seminars

"Where the Tall White Fountain Plays: Mirrors and the Construction of Otherworldly Meaning in Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire" (Invited by the Centre for Russian, Soviet, Central and Eastern European Studies, Postgraduate Seminar, School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews, 17 October 2019).

Conference Papers

"Transgressive Sacramentalism: Vladimir Nabokov and the Johannine Crucifixion" (Theology, Creativity and the Arts: Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology Postgraduate Study Day, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge, 31 July 2019).

"Stallions of Lizard-like Lust: C. S. Lewis, Vladimir Nabokov, and Literature as Imaginative Praxis" (Thinking As/Through Practice: Scripture, Liturgy, Spirituality; Society for the Study of Theology Graduate Conference, The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, 12-14 July 2019).

Current Research

Erik's research interests are broadly oriented around theological aesthetics, particularly in relation to the writings of Vladimir Nabokov and how his writings embodies a metaphysical or theological discourse. He is interested in the role of the imagination in metaphysical and eschatological thought, as well as how particular literary forms might effect or predetermine what can be said theologically. He is also interested in the revelatory function of the grotesque and other estranging techniques as they relate to theological aesthetics in general.

Researching under the supervision of Professors Alison Milbank and Siggy Frank (Russian and Slavonic Studies), Erik's doctoral thesis is tentatively entitled "Deus Deceptivus, Scriptor Absconditus: Vladimir Nabokov's Theological Aesthetics of the Otherworld." In an attempt to justify the writings of Vladimir Nabokov as theologically relevant, Erik seeks to interpret several core aspects of Nabokov's poetics-the conflation of metafiction and metaphysics, the role of deception and other estranging techniques as metaphysical-aesthetically revelatory-in the light of the rich though largely uninvestigated theological subtexts throughout his œuvre. He intends to show that many of the problems which scholars face in speaking about Nabokov's metaphysics can be aided by constructive engagement with theological sources.

Past Research

Before coming to Nottingham, Erik studied for the MLitt in Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. Researching under the supervision of Judith Wolfe, his dissertation examined the various metaphors C. S. Lewis put to use when thinking about eschatology, particularly theōsis. The initial question for this project originated in the painter scene in Lewis' novel, The Great Divorce, in which it is suggested that the painterly ghost's act of painting is in some sense a necessary contribution to the Beatific Vision. Two core components of this project were establishing the status and role of the imagination in Lewis' eschatological speculation, as well as a critical evaluation of his concept of dance as a metaphor for theōsis. With special attention to Tolkien's 'Ainulindalë' from The Silmarillion and Robert Jenson's theological aesthetics, Erik argued that Ransom's vision of the Great Dance at the close of Perelandra is best imagined in fugal rather than choreographic terms so as to safeguard the primacy of the individual, contributive participation and free play in Lewis' theological thought. To show how this coheres metaphysically, he examined the medieval origins of many of Lewis' favored tropes for thinking about theōsis and concluded that Lewis' eschatological imagination, exemplified in Ransom's vision of the Great Dance in Perelandra, is deeply indebted to the literary and metaphysical imagination of the medieval system as elucidated in Lewis' The Discarded Image, with particular indebtedness to the final terrace of Dante's Purgatorio and to the Areopagite's The Celestial Hierarchies.

Prior to this, Erik completed his MA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary (Portland, Oregon), graduating magna cum laude in 2012.

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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