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 in recognition of my academic achievement.

Research interests

My research project focuses on Exodus 20-23 as a compelling example of a utopian text. It will examine the narrative of the text through a utopian lens, focusing on the transition from an implied dystopia (Exod. 1-19), visions of justice and restitutions (Ex. 21:28-36), laws, cartographical motifs and new order (Ex. 20-23), and the Promised Land (Ex. 23:20-33). This project builds on a growing body of literature which discusses utopia and the Hebrew Bible. This thesis will suggest that recognising the utopian elements of Exodus 20-23 can also be fruitful to current theologies of hope and religious communities. This thesis will also suggest that utopia can be built in the present through the following of the law, even if it is never fully actualised due to the material limitations of the builder’s reality and the contradictions in the text. This thesis will contend that it is the potential for the realisation of utopia that can provide hope for religious communities today.

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