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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Professor Paul D. Murray

Contact Professor Paul D. Murray (email at


I am a systematic theologian who joined the Department in September 2002. Since 2008 I have also served as the Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) within the Department. The CCS is the UK’s first permanent centre devoted to pioneering research and teaching in Catholic theology in the public academy.

Following a Durham BA in Theology (1983-1986) and a Durham M.Litt thesis on the soteriology of Karl Rahner (1987-1988), my Cambridge doctoral research (1993-1996) focused on issues of post-foundationalism as they figure alike in contemporary American pragmatist thought and contemporary theology. This work culminated in the publication of a number of essays and, in 2004, a monograph, Reason, Truth and Theology in Pragmatist Perspective. Although this work starts out with issues in epistemology, rationality and fundamental theology, it ends up touching on ecclesiological issues. The connection lies in the dual fact that: a) the place in which matters of truth, reason, decision-making and discernment are, in practice, handled within the Christian tradition is in the life of the Church; and b) our handling of matters of truth and reason are, as the pragmatist tradition recognises, matters of practice and not just theory. In this way, my earlier work has led me onto my current writing project which I am provisionally entitling Catholicism Transfigured: Conceiving Change in the Church.

This current interest in ecclesiology, ecclesial practice, and the dynamics of ecclesial development is also reflected in my MA module on Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism, which contributes to the specialist pathway in Catholic Studies through the Department’s MA in Theological Research.

Closely related to my current ecclesiological interests is a series of research projects and international conferences in Receptive Ecumenism (a fresh strategy for Christian ecumenism that takes long-term difference seriously), of which I am the initiator and Director.

My wider teaching and research interests – in all of which areas I have supervised and/or co-supervised research students – range from the interface between science and theology, political theology, the doctrine of God, and contemporary Catholic theology. I am very happy to engage in email correspondence with further potential research students interested in pursuing related projects.

As regards broader networks, I am a regular participant in the annual conferences of the Society for the Study of Theology (Treasurer 2003-2005) and the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain (President 2012-2014) and an occasional participant in the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. From 2006-2011 I served on the Editorial Board of Concilium International. In 2011 I was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the third phase of work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) and in 2012 as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Research Supervision

Revd. John Claydon -

Revd. Neil Cockling -

Pauline Dimech -

Revd. Michael Fitsimons -

Catriona Fletcher -

Ben Kautzer -

Patricia Kelly -


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Murray, Paul D. (Forthcoming). Roman Catholic Theology and Ecumenism. In The Oxford Companion to Catholicism. Ayres, Lewis & Volpe, Medi-Ann Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2017). In Search of a Way – Ecumenical Methodology. In The Oxford Companion to Ecumenism. Wainwright, Geoffrey & McPartlan, Paul Oxford: OUP.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2013). On Celebrating Vatican II as Catholic and Ecumenical. In The Second Vatican Council: Celebrating Its Achievements and the Future. D’Costa, Gavin & Harris, Emma Bloomsbury. 85-103.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2013). The Shaping of Catholic Theology in the UK Public Academy. In Theology, Academy, Church and Society: Essays in Honour of David Ford. Greggs, Tom & Muers, Rachel Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books. 330-342.
  • Murray, Paul D (2012). ‘Discerning the Dynamics of Doctrinal Development: a Post-foundationalist Perspective’. In Faithful Reading: New Essays in Theology in Honour of Fergus Kerr, OP. Oliver, Simon Kilby, Karen & O’Loughlin, Tom London & New York: T&T Clark. 193-220.
  • Murray, Paul D (2012). ‘The Ups and Downs, Highs and Lows, and Practicalities of Ecclesiological Analysis with Edward Schillebeeckx’. In Sacramentalizing Human History: In Honour of Edward Schillebeeckx (1917-2009). Borgman, Erik, Murray, Paul D & Queiruga, Andrés Torres London: SCM Press. Concilium International (2012/1): 70-91.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2012). Expanding Catholicity through Ecumenicity in the Work of Yves Congar: Ressourcement, Receptive Ecumenism, and Catholic Reform. In Ressourcement: A Movement for Renewal in Twentieth Century Catholic Theology. Flynn, Gabriel & Murray, Paul D. Oxford: OUP. 457-481.
  • Murray, Paul D. & Guest, Mathew (2012). On Discerning the Living Truth of the Church: Theological and Sociological Perspectives on Receptive Ecumenism and the Local Church – A Regional Comparative Research Project. In Ecclesiology and Ethnography. Scharen, Christian Eerdmans. 138-164.
  • Murray, Paul D. & Murray, Andrea L. (2012). The Roots, Range and Reach of Receptive Ecumenism. In Unity in Process: Reflections on Ecumenism. Barrett, Clive London: DLT. 79-94.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2011). Dominum et Vivificantem Read Today. In Lord and Life-Giver: Spirit Today. Irarrázaval, Diego, Murray, Paul D. & Bingemer, Maria Clara London: SCM Press. Concilium International 142-147.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2010). Towards an Integrated Theology of Ministry within Contemporary Catholicism. In Theologies of Ministry North and South. Ross, Susan, Murray, Paul D. & Bingemer, Maria Clara London: SCM Press. Concilium International 43-54.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2008). Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Learning: Establishing the Agenda. In Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism. Murray, Paul D. Oxford: OUP. 5-25.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2008). Redeeming Catholicity for a Globalising Age: The Sacramentality of the Church. In Exchanges of Grace: Essays in Honour of Ann Loades. Watson, Natalie & Burns, Stephen London: SCM. 149-169.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2007). “Catholic Learning and Receptive Ecumenism'. In Catholic Learning: Explorations in Receptive Ecumenism. Murray, Paul D. Oxford: OUP.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2007). Catholicism and Ecumenism. In Exploring Theology: Making Sense of the Catholic Tradition. Hession, Anne & Kieran, Patricia Dublin: Veritas. 305-316.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2007). Theology 'under the lash’ theology as idolatry critique in the work of Nicholas Lash. In Idolatry false worship in the Bible, early Judaism, and Christianity. Barton, Stephen C. London: T&T Clark.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2006). On valuing truth in practice Rome's postmodern challenge. In Redeeming truth considering faith and reason. Hemming, Laurence Paul. & Parsons, Susan Frank. London: SCM Press.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2005). Roman Catholic theology after Vatican II. In The modern theologians an introduction to Christian theology since 1918. Ford, David F. & Muers, Rachel. Oxford: Blackwell. 265-286.
  • Murray, Paul D. & Wilkinson, David (2005). The Significance of the Theology of Creation within Christian Tradition: Systematic Considerations. In God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Companion to Science and Religion. Southgate, Christopher Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 39-62.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2005). Truth and Reason in Science and Theology: Points of Tension, Correlation and Compatibility. In God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Companion to Science and Religion. Southgate, Christopher Edinburgh: T & T Clark. 82-115.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2002). A Liberal Helping of Postliberalism Please. In The Future of Christian Theology. Chapman, Mark D. Aldershot: Ashgate. 208-218.

Conference Paper

Edited book

  • Flynn, Gabriel & Murray, Paul D. (2012). Ressourcement: A Movement for Renewal in Twentieth Century Catholic Theology. Oxford: OUP.
  • Borgman, Erik & Murray, Paul D. (2012). Sacramentalizing Human History: Essays in Honour of Edward Schillebeechx (1914-2009). Concilium International. SCM Press.
  • Irarrázaval, Diego., Murray, Paul D. & Bingemer, Maria Clara (2011). Lord and Life-Giver: Spirit Today. Concilium International. SCM Press.
  • Ross, Susan, Murray, Paul D. & Bingemer, Maria Clara (2010). Theologies of Ministry North and South. Concilium International. London: SCM Press.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2008). Receptive Ecumensim and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Murray, Paul D. (2011). 'Hands across the Tiber' The Tablet, 1 Jan 2011. The Tablet 01 January 2011: 14-15.

Other (Print)