Assistant Professor Contact Areas of Interest
J. Barton Scott
Department for the Study of Religion
170 St. George St., Room 215
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Religion and Nature
  • Religious Aesthetics
  • Religion and literature


My research and teaching falls under three interrelated areas: First, I examine the history of the philosophy of religion in relation to the platonic-Christian tradition, and its complex and creative role in the development of Christianity. Second, I examine the relationship between religion and aesthetics, with a specific focus on the relationship between poetical forms and the communication and representation of transcendent ideas and spiritual feeling. Finally, related to both areas, I examine the connection between religion and nature, particularly between enchanted and disenchanted representations of nature, and their relationship to environmental degradation.

In a historical context, my work has focused upon modern religious thought in the Christian tradition and the history of Christian Platonism. By examining the relationship between religion, philosophy and aesthetics, I explore the process of the continual creative re-invention that occurs throughout the history of Christianity. In examining this process my work takes up themes concerning religious poetics, biblical hermeneutics, orthodox and heterodox spirituality, faith and reason, disenchantment and re-enchantment, and the metaphysics of participation.

My book, Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion, takes up these themes at the turn into the nineteenth century. Another text which I am co-editing, Christian Platonism: A History, provides a comprehensive overview of Christianity’s long engagement with the Platonic philosophical tradition. My current book project, The Transcendence of Nature, explores the relationship between metaphysics, poetics and our understanding of nature.

I gained my PhD in the Philosophy of Religion from Cambridge in 2015. I also hold an MPhil from Oxford in Philosophical Theology, an MA in Religious Studies from Stanford, and a BA in Literary Studies and Philosophy from the University of Toronto.

For information on research and publications visit

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Philosophy and Religion.
  • Aesthetics and Religion
  • Nature and Religion

Fields of Study

  • Christianity
  • Religion, Culture, Politics
  • Religion, Ethics, and Modern Thought


  • PhD (Cantab.)
  • MPhil (Oxon.)
  • MA (Stanford)
  • Hon. BA (Toronto)



Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion: The Reconciliation of German Idealism and Platonic Realism, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019. Link.

Christian Platonism: A History, co-editor with John Peter Kenney. Under contract with Cambridge University Press. Link.

Articles and Chapters

‘The Poetics of Mysticism’, Edward Howells and Mark McIntosh (eds), The Oxford Handbook to Mystical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press) forthcoming. Link.

‘Unanalyzable, Unprovable, and the Centre of all Certainty: Herder’s Concept of Being and Kant’s Pre-Critical Consideration of the Ontological Argument’, John K. Noyes, ed. Herder’s Essay on Being: A Translation and Critical Approaches (Rochester: Camden House). In press. Link.

‘The Relationship Between Transcendence and Immanence: Aquinas, Kant, the Immanent Frame, and Transcendentals in Medieval Philosophy’, Toronto Journal of Theology. In press. Link.

‘A Post-Secular Nature and the New Nature Writing’, Christianity and Literature, 67.3 (2018), pp. 454-471. DOI: Link.

‘An English Source of German Romanticism: Herder’s Cudworth Inspired Revision of Spinoza from “Plastik’”to “Kraft’”, The Heythrop Journal, 58.3 (2017), pp. 417-431. DOI: 10.1111/heyj.12272. Link.

‘Herder’s Concept of Being and the Influence of Kant’s Pre-Critical Consideration of the Ontological Argument’, Filozofia, 70.10 (2015), pp. 842-52. Link.

‘Religion and the Problem of Subjectivity in Early German Romanticism’, Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte, 22.1 (2015), pp. 35-58. DOI: 10.1515/znth-2015-1003. Link.

‘The Aesthetic Foundations of Romantic Mythology’, Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte, 20.2 (2014), pp. 175-91. DOI: 10.1515/znth-2014-0003. Link.

‘Karl Philipp Moritz the Mythologist: Myth as the Romantic Idiom for the Absolute’, Papers of the Nineteenth Century Theology Group, American Academy of Religion, 39 (2013), pp. 2-20. Link.

‘”Herzen schlagen und doch bleibet die Rede zurück?” Philosophy, Poetry, and Hölderlin’s Development of Language Sufficient to the Absolute’ Philosophy and Literature and the Crisis of Metaphysics?, ed. Sebastian Hüsch (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2011), pp. 20-33. ISBN: 978-3-8260-4574-5. Link.

‘The Struggle for Reason: Early Development of Triadic Self-Consciousness in the Opus Maximum’, The Coleridge Bulletin, 27 (2006) 45-55. Link.

Accomplishments and Awards

Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada Initiative Grant, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, 2018

Insight Development Grant, The Transcendence of Nature, Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, 2018

Drescher Research and Development Grant, Arizona State University, 2016, 2017

Decani Scholarship, Clare College, University of Cambridge, 2011-2014

Chadwick Prize in Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge, 2012