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David Bradshaw

Research Interests:
Ancient and medieval philosophy
Philosophy of Religion
Interactions of philosophy and theology

B.S. (Physics) Auburn University, 1982

Ph.D. (Philosophy) University of Texas, 1996


My research focuses on the ways that ancient Greek philosophy shaped medieval philosophy and religious thought. Most of my work to date has been on the philosophical roots of the division between the Greek-speaking (Eastern) and Latin-speaking (Western) branches of Christianity. From the standpoint of modern philosophy, Eastern Christian thought represents largely unexplored territory. It shares the same classical and biblical sources as medieval western philosophy, but its conclusions were often sharply different from those of the same period in the West. It thus offers insight into the hidden potentialities of ancient thought. Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (2004) examines these East-West differences through the lens of “energeia,” a Greek term that lies at the root of both the concept of the divine energies (in the East) and that of God as pure act (in the West). My more recent work has continued this comparative study respecting other issues such as divine freedom, time and eternity, the nature of the will, and sexual ethics. I have also worked on the medieval Jewish and Islamic traditions, attempting to point out parallels and divergences among the three great monotheistic traditions of the Middle Ages.  

Selected Publications:


Books (author)

  • Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (Cambridge University Press, 2004; paperback 2007)
  • Divine Energies and Divine Action: Exploring the Essence-Energies Distinction (IOTA Publications, 2023)

Books (edited)

  • Editor, Philosophical Theology and the Christian Tradition: Russian and Western Perspectives (Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2012)
  • Editor, Ethics and the Challenge of Secularism: Russian and Western Perspectives (Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2013)
  • Editor, “The Greek Christian Tradition” in Philosophy in the Middle Ages: A Multi-Cultural Reader, ed. Bruce Foltz (Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • Editor (with Richard Swinburne), Natural Theology in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition (IOTA Publications, 2021).

Articles (selected)

  • “Aristotle on Perception: The Dual Logos Theory,” Apeiron 30 (1997), 143-61
  • “The Argument of the Digression in the Theaetetus,” Ancient Philosophy 17 (1997), 61-68
  • “The Vision of God in Philo of Alexandria,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1998), 483-500
  • “Neoplatonic Origins of the Act of Being,” Review of Metaphysics 53 (1999), 383-401
  • “A New Look at the Prime Mover,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2001), 1-22
  • “Time and Eternity in the Greek Fathers,” The Thomist 70 (2006), 311-66
  • “The Divine Energies in the New Testament,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 50 (2006), 189-223
  • “The Concept of the Divine Energies,” Philosophy and Theology 18 (2006), 93-120
  • “Augustine the Metaphysician,” Orthodox Readings of Augustine, ed. Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2008), 227-51
  • “The Opuscula Sacra: Boethius and Theology,” The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, ed. John Marenbon (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 105-28
  • “The Mind and the Heart in the Christian East and West,” Faith and Philosophy 26 (2009), 576-98
  • "Maximus the Confessor," The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity, ed. Lloyd Gerson (Cambridge University Press, 2010), 813-28
  • “Divine Simplicity and Divine Freedom in Maimonides and Gersonides,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 86 (2012), 75-87
  • “In Defense of the Essence/Energies Distinction: A Reply to Critics,” Divine Essence and Divine Energies: Ecumenical Reflections on the Presence of God in Eastern Orthodoxy, ed. C. Athanasopoulos and C. Schneider (James Clarke & Co., 2013), 256-73
  • “The Logoi of Beings in Greek Patristic Thought,” Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation, ed. Bruce Foltz and John Chryssavgis (Fordham University Press, 2013), 9-22
  • “St. Maximus on the Will,” Knowing the Purpose of Creation through the Resurrection, ed. Bishop Maxim Vasiljević (Sebastian Press, 2013), 143-57
  • “Plato in the Cappadocian Fathers,” Plato in the Third Sophistic, ed. Ryan Fowler (De Gruyter, 2014), 193-210
  • “The Philosophical Theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria,” Phronema 29 (2014), 21-39
  • “The Divine Liturgy as Mystical Experience,” European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (2015), 137-51
  • “Maximus the Confessor on Time, Eternity, and Divine Knowledge,” Studia Patristica 88 (2017), 119-44
  • “Kant and the Experience of God," Kant and the Question of Theology, ed. Nathan Jacobs, Chris Firestone, and James Joiner (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 79-96
  • “The Presence of Aristotle within Byzantine Theology," The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium, ed. Niketas Siniossoglou and Antony Kaldellis (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 381-96
  • “Pagan and Christian Paths to Wisdom," The Bright and the Good: The Connection between the Moral and Intellectual Virtues, ed. Audrey Anton (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), 93-110
  • “Aristotelianism," The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, ed. David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, and Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte
  • “God as the Good: A Critique of H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.’s After God,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (2018), 650-66
  • “Essence and Energies: What Kind of Distinction?” Analogia 6 (2019), 5-36
  • “Patristic Views on Why there Is No Repentance after Death," The Unity of Body and Soul in Patristic and Byzantine Thought, ed. Anna Usacheva, Jörg Ulrich, and Siam Bhayro (Brill, 2021), 192-212
  • “Sexual Difference and the Difference It Makes: The Greek Fathers and Their Sources," The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, ed. Sophia Xenophontos and Anna Marmodoro (Cambridge University Press, 2021), 15-35
  • “What Does It Mean to be Contrary to Nature?” Christian Bioethics 29 (2023), 58-76.

Courses taught (representative list)

  • PHI 245:  Introduction to Philosophy of Religion
  • PHI 260:  Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
  • PHI 335:  The Individual and Society
  • PHI 503:  Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and Aristotelians on the Mind
  • PHI 503:  Ancient Philosophy: Nietzsche and the Greeks
  • PHI 503   Ancient Philosophy: From Plato to Middle Platonism
  • PHI 504:  Islamic and Jewish Philosophy
  • PHI 506:  Medieval Philosophy: The Greek East and Latin West
  • PHI 506:  Medieval Philosophy: Neoplatonism
  • PHI 506   Medieval Philosophy: Late Scholasticism
  • PHI 535:  Social and Political Philosophy
  • PHI 545:  Philosophy of Religion
  • PHI 630:  Seminar on Ethics: Virtue Ethics
  • PHI 700:  Seminar on Ancient Philosophy: Plato’s Late Dialogues
  • PHI 700:  Seminar on Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle’s Metaphysics and De Anima
  • PHI 700:  Seminar on Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and Plotinus
  • PHI 700   Seminar on Ancient Philosophy: Ancient Epistemology