Dr Simon Hewitt

Dr Simon Hewitt


I am a Christian theologian who works on the intersection between theology and analytic philosophy. I stand within the broad tradition known as grammatical thomism.


  • Programme Manager -BA PER/ TRS/ RPS
  • Programme Manager - MA PRE

Research interests

I have four main areas of research at the moment:

Apophaticism: I am interested in the view, under-represented in contemporary analytic theology and philosophy of religion, but with plenty of classical precedence, that there is an interesting sense in which we do not know what God is. My book Negative Theological and Philosophical Analysis : Only the Splendour of Light (Palgrave) explores this, and locates contemporary wariness about apophaticism in certain unexamined commitments in the philosophies of language and mind. With Fillipo Casati I am writing a book drawing parallels between responses to the so-called paradox of ineffability and to paradoxes of self-reference in logic and mathematics.

Marx and Christian Theology: My research here is concerned with what Christian theology can gain from an engagement with Marx. I am currently writing a short book which critically interrogates afterlife beliefs in the light of Marx's criticism of religion. In general, my approach is to read Marx alongside orthodox Christian doctrine and to argue that much can be gained, in terms of political and theological insight, by living with the tensions between the two.

Theology of Mental Illness: Drawing on my own experience of living with a serious mental illness, I am interested in reflecting theologically on this and similar experiences in others: how does mental illness affect our understanding of the human person, of God, and of the value, or otherwise, of suffering? I am particularly concerned to combat views which sacralise mental suffering, whilst leaving open the possibility that the experience of this can be transformative.

Creation and Foundationality: There is a near consensus in contemporary Christian theology that the doctrines of the person and work of Christ are foundational for the theological enterprise. I want to challenge this and instead explore the consequences of viewing the doctrine of creation as foundational. This topic opens doors to thinking about e.g. the relationship between natural and revealed theology, the theology of inter-religious dialogue and the relationship between theology and the natural sciences. Engaging adequately with it also involves the prior philosophical task of getting clear about what is meant by ‘foundationality’ in theology.

For more details of my work, see my website.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (London), MA (London), MA (Oxford), BSc(Hons) Econ. (Brunel)

Professional memberships

  • Society for the Study of Theology
  • British Society for the Philosophy of Religion
  • Catholic Theological Association of GB

Student education

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Philosophy of Religion and Theology
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>