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Dr Elizabeth Phillips

Director of Studies

Contact Details: 
Westcott House
Jesus Lane
(44) (0)1223 272976



Dr Phillips taught Christian ethics and political theology in the Cambridge Theological Federation and the Faculty of Divinity for nine years before leaving Westcott in 2018. She returned in 2020 after one year as a Visiting Scholar in the Institute for Criminology (University of Cambridge) in collaboration with Learning Together, and one year as Research Fellow at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology. During 2018-2019 she worked as part of a British Academy funded Learning Together action research project led by Drs Ruth Armstrong and Amy Ludlow, having co-convened and ethnographically researched a course on ‘The Good Life and the Good Society’ in which Cambridge students learn alongside students resident in a high-security prison. For 2019-2020 she and Férdia Stone-Davis secured a grant from the Plater Fund for Flourishing Inside, a project which aims to develop rich, targeted theological and ethical resources for pastoral work in prisons which is informed by and contributes to Catholic social thought.


Dr Phillips is a Steering Committee Member of the Political Theology Seminar of the American Academy of Religion and former Honorary Secretary of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics. She is trained in interpersonal mediation and enjoys teaching conflict transformation. She is active in interfaith engagement and participated in the Building Bridges Seminar for three years.


Courses taught:

  • Christian Ethics
  • Political Theology
  • Narrative and Identity
  • Exploring World Faiths: Judaism, Islam and Christianity in Encounter
  • Topics in Christian Ethics


Research interests:


Elizabeth earned her doctorate in theological ethics from the University of Cambridge.  Her doctoral thesis was a theological ethnography of an American Christian Zionist congregation and their adopted settlement in the West Bank, examining the relationship between eschatology and politics.  Her current research interests include:

  • Political Theology
  • Just War, Pacifism, Peacemaking and Conflict Transformation
  • Eschatology and Politics
  • Christian Zionism
  • Christian Virtue Ethics
  • Racism and Antiracism




Apocalyptic Theopolitics: Essays and Sermons on Eschatology, Ethics, and Politics (forthcoming in the Theopolitical Visions series, Wipf & Stock).


T&T Clark Reader in Political Theology (forthcoming from T&T Clark).


The Cambridge Companion to Political Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2015).


Political Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2012).


‘Politics and Political Theology’, in The T & T Clark Companion to Christian Ethics, edited by Tobias Winright (forthcoming from T&T Clark).


‘The Problem of Race in Christianity’ in A World of Inequalities: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, edited by Lucinda Mosher (forthcoming from Georgetown University Press).


‘“It’s not Just an Idea”: Practicing the Good Life in a High Security Prison’. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 42.4 (2020): 311-330.


‘Cultivating the Common Good at the Margins of the Commons: An Ethnographic Portrait of Transformative Pluralism in a High Security Prison’. Political Theology 21.4 (2020): 339-357.


Contributor) ‘Conversations on Power: Some Reflections on Building Bridges Seminar 2017’ in Power – Divine and Human: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, edited by Lucinda Mosher and David Marshall (Georgetown University Press, 2020).


‘Narrating Catastrophe, Cultivating Hope: Apocalyptic Practices and Theological Virtue’. Studies in Christian Ethics 31:1 (1 February 2018): 17-33.


‘Anabaptist Theologies’, in The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology, second edition, edited by Peter Scott and William Cavanaugh (forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell, 2018).


‘The Church and the Elusive “Public”’, in Grace, Governance and Globalization: Theology and Public Life, edited by Lieven Boeve, Stephan van Erp, and Martin Poulsom (T&T Clark, 2017).


‘Virtue Ethics and Social Justice’, in Christian Faith and Social Justice: Five Views, edited by Victor McCracken (Bloomsbury, 2014).


‘Saying “Peace” When There is No Peace: An American Christian Zionist Congregation on Peace, Militarism and Settlements’, in Comprehending Christian Zionism: Perspectives in Comparison, edited by Göran Gunner and Robert Smith (Fortress Press, 2014).


‘Charting the “Ethnographic Turn”: Theologians and the Study of Christian Congregations’, in Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, edited by Pete Ward (Eerdmans, 2012).


‘Teaching Political Theology’, four-part blog series. Political Theology Today (August-December 2012).


‘Teaching Political Theology’, special journal section to mark the publication of Political Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, in Political Theology 13.6 (December 2012): 670-716.


‘Adopt a Settlement: Christian Zionists and the West Bank’. The Christian Century (27 December 2011): 31-33.

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