Katherine Gwyther

Katherine Gwyther


I joined the University of Leeds in 2019 to start my PhD which is fully funded by a School of PRHS scholarship. Previously, I completed my BA (Hons) and MRes degrees at the University of Sheffield. While at the University of Sheffield, I was awarded the Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship for my MRes degree.

Research interests

Since the late 1990s there has been an interest in the value of Utopian Studies to the study of the Hebrew Bible. However, while this interest and its resulting research has demonstrated the potential of a utopian reading lens, it has been narrowly focused on the historical and prophetic texts. This limited focus has allowed other potential utopian images to be overlooked. My thesis addresses this gap in the literature by focusing on Exodus 20–23, a text from the Pentateuch. The central question of my thesis is: can Exodus 20–23 be interpreted as utopian? This question is addressed through a reading method developed from the work of Fredric Jameson. The three key ideas of Jameson’s that are focused on with respect to Exodus 20–23 are: (1) utopias of construction; (2) the relationship between utopia and dystopia; and (3) utopia as incomplete and unfulfilled. After exploring these ideas in conversation with Exodus 20–23, arguing that Exodus 20–23 can be understood as utopian through a Jamesonian utopian lens, I move to discuss the potential connections of my reading to political theology.

Outside of my research project, I am interested in spatial and postcolonial interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, particularly in how they intersect with utopian readings. 


  • MRes Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies
  • BA (Hons) Philosophy and Religion