Timothy Stanley

Portfolio

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, Australia. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, England. My primary areas of specialization include continental philosophy of religion, modern religious thought and the history of ideas.

My research concentrates upon philosophical debates in the study of religion. Most recently, I've written about Jacques Derrida's deconstructive account of writing and religious books. As well, my publications on religious discourse in deliberative democracy are grounded in an evaluation of Paul Ricouer and Jürgen Habermas's philosophical hermeneutics. Such work arose from past research on the question of metaphysics in modern theology. In terms of teaching, I contribute to courses on great thinkers and religious thought in the Bachelor of Arts. Much more could be said about Newcastle, but in sum, there are few universities as well suited to peripatetic thinking along the beach.

Contact

Dr. Timothy Stanley
The University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia

Office: McMullin Building MC101A
Phone: +61(0)2492.17927 
Email: timothy.stanley@newcastle.edu.au
Research profiles: philpapers | google scholar | orcid | cv pdf
www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/timothy-stanley

 
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Books

Writing Faith. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 2017. This book provides a novel reevaluation of Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive account of writing. Derrida’s various essays on writing's materiality in books, scrolls, typewriters and digital displays briefly touched on the question of religion. At times he directed his attention to the mediatic nature of Christianity. However, such comments have rarely been applied to formal aspects of religious texts. In response, this book investigates the rise of the Christian codex in its second-to-fifth-century-CE Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts. By better understanding the religious nature of this technical development, it becomes possible to reframe writing's coincidence with faith. 

The idea of a book, which always refers to a natural totality, is profoundly alien to the sense of writing. It is the encyclopedic protection of theology and of logocentrism against the disruption of writing, against its aphoristic energy.
— Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology
The revolution that has begun is, above all, a revolution in the media and forms that transmit the written word. In this sense, the present revolution has only one precedent in the West: the substitution of the codex for the volumen - of the book composed of quires for the book in the form of a roll - during the first centuries of the Christian era.
— Roger Chartier, Forms and Meanings

Religion after Secularization in Australia. Edited. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015. Religion’s persistent and new visibility in political life has prompted a significant global debate. One of its key features concerns the nature and impact of secularization. This book intervenes in two ways. Firstly, it provides summative accounts of the history, culture and legal interactions that have informed Australia’s unique example. Secondly, it critically analyzes secular political theory concerning the public sphere, deliberative politics and democratic practices. The compendium aims to propel the debate in new directions and promote urgently needed public understanding. My own contribution focused on hermeneutics in deliberative democracies.

Something therein that loves a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun, And makes gaps even two can pass abreast... Before I built a wall I’d ask to know, What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense.
— Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Protestant Metaphysics after Karl Barth and Martin Heidegger. London; Eugene: SCM Press; Wipf & Stock, 2010. Karl Barth and Martin Heidegger are doubtless two of the most important and influential thinkers of the 20th century. This book investigates how the question of being developed through their respective accounts of protestant theology. Whereas Heidegger suggested a post-onto-theological pathway, Barth inverted the question of being in a thoroughgoing theological ontology. In the end, both reconfigured the relationship between philosophy and theology in ways that continue to shape contemporary debate. 

If I were yet to write a theology—to which I sometimes feel inclined—then the word ‘being’ would not be allowed to occur in it. Faith has no need of the thinking of being. If faith has recourse to it, it is already not faith. Luther understood this.
— Martin Heidegger, "The Reply to the Third Question At the Seminar in Zürich, 1951"
A free theologian does not deny, nor is he ashamed of, his indebtedness to a particular philosophy or ontology, to ways of thought and speech.
— Karl Barth, The Humanity of God
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Essays

15. "Bonhoeffer's Anti-Judaism." Political Theology vol. 17 no. 3 (2016): 297-305. Abstract.

14. "Faithful Codex: A Theological Account of Early Christian Books." Heythrop Journal. vol. 57 no. 1 (2016): 9-28. Abstract.

13. "Utopia and the Public Sphere." In Religion after Secularization in Australia, 191-210. Edited by Timothy Stanley. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015. Abstract.

12. "The Early Codex Book: Recovering its Cosmopolitan Consequences." Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches vol. 23 no. 3 (2015): 369-98. Abstract.

11. “A Serious Man.” Bible and Critical Theory. vol. 9 no. 1 (2013): 27-37. Abstract.

10. “Barth after Kant.” Modern Theology. vol. 28 no. 3 (2012): 423-445. Abstract.

9. “Before Analogy: Recovering Barth’s Ontological Development.” New Blackfriars. vol. 90 no. 1029 (2009): 577-601. Abstract.

8. “Karl Barth and Jürgen Habermas: Transcendental Aporias of Global Civil Society.” Political Theology. vol. 9 no. 4 (2008): 477-502. Abstract.

7. “Returning Barth to Anselm.” Modern Theology. vol. 24 no. 3 (2008): 413-437. Abstract.

6. "Speaking Credibly? Communicating Christian Particularism in Postmodern Contexts." International Review of Mission. vol. 97 no. 384-385 (2008): 21-30. Abstract.

5. “Heidegger on Luther on Paul.” Dialog: A Journal of Theology. vol. 46 no. 1 (2007): 41-45. Abstract.

4. “Urban Surveillance: The Hidden Costs of Disneyland." International Journal of the Humanities. vol. 3 no. 8 (2006): 117-124. Abstract.

3. “From Habermas to Barth and Back Again.” Journal of Church and State. vol. 48 no. 1 (2006): 101-126. Abstract.

2. “Punch-Drunk Masculinity.” Journal of Men’s Studies vol. 14, no. 2 (2006): 235-242. Abstract.

1. “Redeeming the Icons.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory. vol. 6. no. 2 (2005): 39-62. Abstract.

 
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Presentations

Peer Reviewed Conferences

12. "Supplementing Arendt." Paper presented at The American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, November 18-21, 2017. 

11. "Suspending the Political: Sovereignty in Scholem, Barth and Qutb." Paper presented at The American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, November 23-26, 2013.  

10. "What Is This Strange Technological Thing Called the Bible." Paper presented at the Bible and Critical Theory Conference,  Auckland, New Zealand, September 1-2, 2012.

9. “Canon after Codex." Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, October 30 - November 2, 2010. 

8. “Seinsweise in Barth’s Theology.” Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands, April 1-2, 2009.

7. “Karl Barth and Jürgen Habermas: Christianity and Global Civil Society.” Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., November 18-21, 2006.

6. “The Post-Ontological Paul?” Paper presented at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., November 18-21, 2006.

5. “Barth’s Prolegomena to Any Future Protestant Metaphysics which Can Possibly Pretend to Be a Science.” Paper presented at the Belief and Metaphysics Conference, The Centre of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Nottingham in partnership with the Instituto de Filosofia Edith Stein de Granada, Spain, September 15-18, 2006.

4. “Heidegger’s Hidden Theology: Revisiting Martin Luther’s Influence upon Martin Heidegger.” Paper presented at the 16th Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion, Tübingen, Germany, September 1-4, 2006. 

3. “Christian Particularism in Postmodern Contexts.” Paper presented at The Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference, University of Leeds, England, April 3-6, 2006.

2. “Cyber-Space of Possibles.” Paper presented at The Cyberspace Conference, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, November 7-8, 2005.

1. “Urban Surveillance: From Concentration Camps to Disneyland.” Paper presented at The Third International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, University of Cambridge, August 2-5, 2005. Re-presented at The Fourth Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities, Honolulu, Hawai’i, January 11-14, 2006.

Invited Presentations

8. "Bonhoeffer and the Judaism Question." Paper presented at the Annual Australian Bonhoeffer Conference, Kincumber, Australia, November 15-16, 2013.

7. "Religion in Public: A Theory of Metaphor." Paper presented at the Political Religion in Secular Australia, Newcastle, Australia, July 22-23, 2013.

6. “Religion in Political Life.” Public presentation at the New Institute Public Forum, Newcastle Civic Hall, May 22, 2013.

5. “Theology between Religion and Politics.” Morpeth Public Lecture, Newcastle, Australia, May 29, 2012.

4. “Canon after Codex." Paper presented at  the Group for Religious and Intellectual Traditions at the University of Newcastle, Australia, May 24, 2011.

3. “Job: A Serious Man.” Paper presented at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts Research Seminar at the University of St. Andrews, May 14, 2010.

2. “Why Protestant Metaphysics Today?” Paper presented at the Theology Research Seminar at the University of St. Andrews, April 21, 2010.

1. “The Return of the Scroll: From Codex to Google.” Paper presented at the Valuing Theological Education Conference, The University of Oxford, January 4-6, 2010.

 
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Funding

Competitive Research Grants

  • 2018, Australian Religious History Fellowship (AUD$20,000), State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

  • 2012-13, Religion in Political Life Research Program (AUD$100,000), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle

Competitive Scholarships and Awards

  • 2004-07, Overseas Ph.D. Research Studentship, British Universities UK and University Ph.D. Research Scholarship, School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, The University of Manchester
  • 2004-05, Richardson Award, North American Alumni Foundation at The University of Manchester (NAAFUM), The University of Manchester
  • 2003, Chadwick Essay Prize, Religions and Theology Department, The University of Manchester
  • 2002, James F. and Barbara Bere Scholarship, Fuller Theological Seminary

 

 
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Teaching

I have taught the following courses in the Bachelor of Arts at the University of Newcastle, Australia:

1000 LEvel

  • The World's Great Thinkers I (semester one 2015-17) investigates the thought and influence of a range of highly influential ancient and pre-modern philosophers.  
  • World Religions (semester one 2011-2018) introduces the principal features of the world's major religions through reference to key events, characters, beliefs and related phenomena. 
  • Religion in Film (semester two 2012 and 2014) introduces a sampling of global cinema in order to help students to begin to interpret their visual styles, narrative constructions, historical contexts, and salient religious themes.

2000 Level

  • The World's Great Thinkers II (semester two 2015-17) investigates the thought and influence of a range of highly influential modern philosophers.
  • Comparative Religion: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (semester two 2013-15) investigates the inter-religious and civilisational points of comparison between Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions over their complex histories. It explores the academic methods necessary to comparative studies of religion. 

3000 Level

  • Debating the Big Ideas (semester two 2016-17) builds on the introduction to the foundational areas, themes or questions in philosophy, and the methods of study that are typically employed by them in order to debate contemporary issues.
  • Modern Religious Thought (semester one 2015-17) examines the development of the philosophical understandings of God, the gods, and transcendence in the modern period. Students will investigate the key writers on the subject who have contributed to major changes in a variety of religions today.
  • Religious Ethics (semester one 2011-12) analyzes a variety of approaches to perennial ethical issues such as the problem of evil or theodicy
  • Jewish Thought after the Holocaust (semester two 2014) explores a range of key Jewish thinkers who have provided influential responses to the Holocaust over the course of the twentieth century. 
  • Religion in the Secular World (semester two 2012-13 and 2015) investigates the new and persistent visibilities of religion in secular societies with reference to key philosophers and political theorists.

4000 Level

  • For students who complete the B.A. degree with high levels of proficiency, the fourth year Honours degree provides a chance to write a 15-17,000 word research thesis, enhance their methodological competencies and pursue a directed study of their choice. I've taught the B.A. Honours Methodology course, led directed studies on figures such as Derrida, and supervised a number of commendable theses on topics such as: Buddhist and Lacanian Desire (2017); Mad Max: Fury Hope (2017); Origen’s Midrash Pesher (2016); Kant in Rawls (2013); and, Law and Ethics in Bonhoeffer (2012).

Between 2008 and 2010, I taught the following courses in the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in the Religions and Theology Department at the University of Manchester, England:

  • Introduction to Religions and Theology B.A. Core Course
  • Introduction to Christianity
  • Making Sense of Jesus Christ
  • The Return of Religion in the West
  • Religion and Political Life M.A. Core Course
 

Approach

My courses aim to help students develop the skills necessary to enter into great intellectual debates of the past in order to think for themselves. Such skills are embedded in the marking rubrics I use to assess students' ability to critically interpret, argue cohesively, as well as engage primary and secondary sources of evidence. Classrooms can become tolerant spaces of deliberation when such skills are prioritized.

Typically, I organize course materials around key thinkers. I find that this helps students to empathize with people who developed some of the most important ideas in history. Some courses concentrate upon ancient to medieval thinkers such as Avicenna, Maimonides or Anselm. Others investigate modern thinkers such as Kant, Nietzsche, Derrida or Arendt. In each case, studying their interventions in the debates of their times informs students about how to face today's intellectual challenges. 

We live in complex information cultures that benefit from the empathetic and reflective habits of mind that humanities degrees promote. We may have tremendous power to access information through the search engines built into our digital devices, but information does not inevitably lead to meaning and understanding. It seems to me that Immanuel Kant's enlightenment challenge, sapere aude [dare to be wise], remains ever out in front of us.


Student Feedback

The average student rating of all of the courses that I convened which were surveyed at the University of Newcastle was 4.44 on a 0-5 scale. The average student rating of all of the courses that I convened which were surveyed at the University of Manchester was 1.61 on a -2 to 2 scale.

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Service

Editorial and Grant Review

  • 2015-18, Associate Editor, Political Theology.

  • 2008-18, Article reviewer, Journal of Religious History, Modern Theology, Political Theology, Pacifica, and the International Journal of Systematic Theology.

  • 2016-17, Research grant reviewer, Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Academic Administration at the University of Newcastle, Australia

  • 2012-17, Convenor, Religion Courses in the B.A. and B.Th Program Convenor

  • 2016, B.A. Revitalization Working Group Member (2017 Faculty of Education and Arts Dean’s Award for Collaboration Excellence)

  • 2016, Head of Discipline (Acting), Philosophy and Religion Area

  • 2012-13, Convenor, Religion in Political Life Research Program

  • 2011-12, Convenor, Research Group for Religious and Intellectual Traditions

Academic Administration at the University of Manchester, England

  • 2008-10, Coordinator, Ph.D. Research Seminars, Centre for Religion and Political Culture
  • 2008-10, Web Developer, Centre for Religion and Political Culture

Academic Societies

  • 2002-18, American Academy of Religion
  • 2002-18, Society of Biblical Literature
  • 2015-18, American Philosophical Association
  • 2015-18, Australasian Association of Philosophy
  • 2015-18, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy
  • 2015-18, Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy

Graduate Student Assistantships

  • 2005-08, Graduate Research Assistant, Centre for Religion and Political Culture, The University of Manchester
  • 2006-08, Graduate Teaching Assistant and Web IT Developer, Religions and Theology Department, The University of Manchester
  • 2002-03, Graduate Research Assistant, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • 2002-03, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • 2001-03, Faculty Assistant and Web IT Developer, Fuller Theological Seminary

Public Media

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