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Department of Theology and Religion

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Dr Joshua Furnal

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Newman Association Research Fellow in Ecumenical Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: 0191 33 43968
Room number: 106 (Abbey House)

(email at

Biography and Research

Dr Furnal is the Newman Association Research Fellow in Ecumenical Theology. His research interests are in 19th-20th century continental philosophy and systematic theology. At Durham, he has taught in the areas of philosophy of religion, Christian theology, and Religion & Film.

Dr Furnal is currently preparing a monograph for publication, which is about the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Catholic theologians before the Second Vatican Council. Although he is not always recognised as such, Søren Kierkegaard has been an important ally for Catholic theologians since the early twentieth century. Properly understanding this relationship and its origins offers valuable resources and insights to contemporary Catholic theology. However there are many obstacles to overcome: Kierkegaard has been viewed as an irrational Protestant irreconcilably at odds with Catholic thought. Nonetheless, the favourable mention of Kierkegaard in John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio is an indication that his work is not so easily dismissed. The monograph will provide a more detailed account of Kierkegaard’s reception among theologians associated with la nouvelle théologie. This will provide a new perspective upon recent literature on la nouvelle théologie, which is noticeably silent on the influence of Kierkegaard's writings.

Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining the Italian Reading Workgroup in the department.

Other Research Interests

  • Kierkegaard
  • 20th Century Catholic Theology
  • Religion and Film
  • Ecumenism
  • Muslim-Christian Dialogue


Journal Papers: Academic

Book Chapters

Translation Work

For Peer Reviewed Journals

For Oxford University Press

  • Livio Melina, 'Virtue and Catholic Ethics', in Oxford Handbook of Catholic Theology, Lewis Ayres & Medi Ann Volpe (eds), (forthcoming).

For IVP Academic

For Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica

  • Muhammad Iqbal and the Philosophy of the Self’ by Paolo Nicelli, Encounter, n. 384 April 2013.
  • The Institutional Role of Muhammad and the non-Muslim Minority by Fr. Paolo Nicelli, Encounter n. 378 October 2012.
  • The Islamic Reformation and the Ideas of the Early Reformers (parts 1 & 2) by Paolo Nicelli, for Encounter n. 368 September 2011 and n. 369 October 2011.
  • The Mu'tazila and the Neo-Mu'tazilism of Muhammad 'Abduh: The Debate between Faith and Reason by Paolo Nicelli, for Encounter n. 358 October 2010 .
  • Historical Aspects of the Caliph and Its Theological and Juridical Dimensions by Paolo Nicelli, for Encounter n.349 November 2009.
  • Repudiation in Islamic Marriage and the Reaction of the Italian Legal System by Fiore Costantino,for Encounter n.345 May-June 2009.
  • Reading Marracci and the Kaššâf Critically by Massimo Rizzi,for Encounter n. 344 April 2009.