Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Centre of Theology and Philosophy

CoTP mission

The Centre of Theology and Philosophy (CoTP) is a research-led institution organised at the interstices of theology and philosophy.

It is founded on the conviction that these two disciplines can't be fully understood, or further developed, without reference to each other. This is true in historical terms, as we can't understand our Western cultural legacy unless we acknowledge the interaction of the Hebraic and Hellenic traditions. It's also true conceptually, since reasoning can't be completely separated from faith and hope.

A bird perches on the edge of a building underneath a dark cloud.


Key aims and expertise

Every doctrine which does not reach the one thing necessary, every separated philosophy, will remain deceived by false appearances. It will be a doctrine, it will not be Philosophy.  

Maurice Blondel, 1861-1949

The Centre is concerned with:

  • The historical interaction between theology and philosophy
  • The current relation between the two disciplines
  • Attempts to overcome the Analytic/Continental divide in philosophy
  • The question of the status of ‘metaphysics’: Is the term used ambiguously? Is it at an end? Or have 20th-century attempts to have a post-metaphysical philosophy ended?
  • The construction of a rich Catholic humanism

Significant results

Significant results so far include Radical Orthodoxy, a movement founded by Centre President, Professor John Milbank. This theological and philosophical school of thought has influenced numerous texts, articles and publications.


I am very glad to be associated with the endeavours of this extremely important Centre that helps to further work of enormous importance. Among its concerns is the question whether modernity is more an interim than a completion – an interim between a pre-modernity in which the porosity between theology and philosophy was granted, perhaps taken for granted, and a post-modernity where their porosity must be unclogged and enacted anew. Through the work of leading theologians of international stature and philosophers whose writings bear on this porosity, the Centre offers an exciting forum to advance in diverse ways this challenging and entirely needful, and cutting-edge work.


Professor William Desmond
(University of Leuven)


I am absolutely delighted to participate in the activities of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy. The Centre offers new insights on patristic and medieval thought: rather than limiting itself to historical research, it explores the contemporary relevance of these traditions. As such, the Centre dedicates itself to the real functions of both philosophy and theology: a work of extension and reasoning, as well as a reflection in dialogue with the history of the Western tradition as a whole. This combination of historical inquiry and speculative thought is a unique opportunity in contemporary research.


Professor Olivier Boulnois
(Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, University of Paris Sorbonne)


The amazing amount of activities – conferences, books, seminars, lectures – organised by the Centre of Theology and Philosophy is testament to its creativity, adventurousness, and proves the vitality of its theological paradigm of thought in addressing the major challenges of both our modern and post-modern culture. There is no other Centre quite like it.


Professor Rudi te Velde
(University of Tilburg)


The Centre provides the most exciting and deep engagement of contemporary European theory, philosophy of religion and theology in the UK and Europe today. Its work combines careful and critical examination of modern theory alongside some of the most far reaching, sensitive and thoughtful positions in contemporary religion.


Professor James Williams
(University of Dundee)


The separation between theology, philosophy and science that has come to mark modern thought has led to all sorts of fundamentalisms: fundamentalism in science that has become anti-humanistic and anti-religious; fundamentalism in religion that has become anti-scientific and anti-philosophical; and fundamentalism in philosophy in a retrenchment into linguistic analysis or phenomenology that has become exclusive of both science and religion. By bringing these three disciplines back together, to interface with one another in dealing with problems we face in our post-modern world of globalization, the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, is not only restoring the ancient orthodox view that once saw them as complementing one another, but also performing an important, crucial service for these three intellectual disciplines themselves in need of rejoining with one another for the good of humanity, which is at once scientific, philosophical and theological. I am happy to be associated with this work as a philosopher mediating between science and religion through metaphysics.


Professor Oliva Blanchette
(Boston College)


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Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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