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Professor Paul D. Murray

Professor of Systematic Theology

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor of Systematic Theology in the Department of Theology and ReligionAbbey House 202+44 (0) 191 33 43947
Member of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture  
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


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.


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Murray, Paul D. (2021). The Reception of Vatican II in Systematic Theology. In The Oxford Handbook to Vatican II. Clifford, Catherine E. & Faggioli, Massimo Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2019). Living Sacrifice: Is there a Non-pathological Way of Living Suffering as Sacrifice? In Suffering and the Christian Life. Kilby, Karen E. & Davies, Rachel London: Bloomsbury. 189-206.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2019). Formal Ecumenism, Receptive Ecumenism, and the Diverse Local Churches of the Global Catholic Communion. In Ecumenism in the World Church. Cavanaugh, William Wipf and Stock, Cascade.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2019). Discerning the Call of the Spirit to Theological-Ecclesial Renewal: Notes on Being Reasonable and Responsible in Receptive Ecumenical Learning. In Leaning into the Spirit: Ecumenical Perspectives on Discernment and Decision-making in the Church. Miller, Virginia, Moxon, David & Pickard, Stephen Palgrave Macmillan (Springer Nature). 217-234.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Receiving of Christ in the Spirit: The Pneumatic-Christic Depths of Receptive Ecumenism. In Receptive Ecumenism: Listening, Learning, and Loving in the Way of Christ. Balabanski, Vicky & Hawkes, Geraldine ATF. 157-170.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Receptive Ecumenism as a Leaning-in to the Spirit of Loving Transformation. In Receptive Ecumenism: Listening, Learning, and Loving in the Way of Christ. Balabanksi, Vicky & Hawkes, Geraldine ATF. xv-xxiii.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Living Catholicity Differently: On Growing into the Plenitudinous Plurality of Catholic Communion in God. In Envisioning Futures for the Catholic Church. Hellemans, Staf & Jonkers, Peter Washington, DC: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. Christian Philosophical Studies 23: 109-158.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Charisma, Institution und Trinität im Werk Karl Rahners: Zur Sicherung einer notwendigen pneumatologische Basis für eine ganzheitliche Theologie des Dienstamts. In Gerettet durch Begeisterung: Reform der katholischen Kirche durch pfingstlich-charismatische Religiosität?. Werner, Gunda Verlag Herder. 145-163.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Exploring the Basis for an Integrated Catholic Theology of Ministry through Ecumenical Learning. In Malines Conversations Group V: Cambridge, March 20 – 23, 2017: Papers & Discussions. Pott, Thomas Monastère de Chevetogne.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice: On Delivering on the Ecclesiological Implications of Evangelii Gaudium. In Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudum, and the Renewal of the Church. Harris, Alana & Dormor, Duncan Paulist. 85-111.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Théologie en Dialogue: la Théologie Catholique au Royaume Uni ('The Challenges and Responsibilities of Contemporary Catholic Theology: A UK Perspective'). In La théologie: Identité et pertinence: Actes du colloque, du 12 au 14 février 2018. de Baenst, Abbé Benoît Institu d’Études Theologiques de Bruxelles. 56-77.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2018). Roman Catholicism 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. In The Oxford Handbook of Ecumenical Studies. Wainwright, Geoffrey & McPartlan, Paul Oxford: Oxford: OUP.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2016). Receptive Ecumenism: Eine Einführung. In Vaticanum 21. Die bleibenden Aufgaben des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils im 21. Jahrhundert: Dokumentationsband zum Münchner Kongress "Das Konzil 'eröffnen'". Böttigheimer, Christoph & Dausner, René Herder. 235-248.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2016). World Catholicism Today: Challenges and Possibilities. In The Global History of Roman Catholicism. Hegarty, James Rowan Press. 208-215.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2015). Discerning the Catholic Moment: Challenges, Opportunities, and Responsibilities. In Malines Conversations Group II: Canterbury, London, March 30 – April 3, 2014: Papers & Discussions. Potts, Thomas Monastère de Chevetogne. 125-141.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2015). Engaging with the Contemporary Church. In The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology. Higton, Mike & Fodor, Jim Routledge. 278-293.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2015). Ecumenism, Evangelization and the Conflicting Narratives of Vatican II: Reading Unitatis Redintegratio with His Holiness Benedict XVI Roman Pontiff Emeritus. In The New Evangelization: Faith, People, Context and Practice. Kim, Kirsteen & Grogan, Paul Bloomsbury. 99-120.
  • 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. (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). Redeeming Catholicity for a Globalising Age: The Sacramentality of the Church. In Believing in Community: Ecumenical Reflections on the Church. DeMey, Peter, DeWitte, Pieter & Mannion, Gerard Peeters. 229-240.
  • 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. & 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 (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). 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. (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). Preface. In Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism. Murray, Paul D. Oxford University Press. ix-xv.
  • 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). 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. (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. & 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. (2002). A Liberal Helping of Postliberalism Please. In The Future of Christian Theology. Chapman, Mark D. Aldershot: Ashgate. 208-218.

Conference Paper

  • Murray, Paul D. (2013), 'Growing into the Fullness of Christ: Receptive Ecumenism as an Instrument of Ecclesial Conversion', The 68th Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Miami, Florida, Miami FL.
  • Murray, Paul D. (2012), 'On Attending to the Authority of the Concrete Church: An Issue for Systematic Ecclesiology and a Vital Site for Ecumenical Learning', American Academy of Religion. Chicago, Illinois, Chicago IL.

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.
  • Murray, Paul D. & Bradshaw, Andrew (2002). Global Capitalism and the Gospel of Justice: Politics, Economics and the UK Churches. CSM.

Edited Journal

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)



  • Pound, Marcus & Murray, Paul D. (2016). Receptive Ecumenism and the Local Church: A Comparative Research Project in the North East of England.

Supervision students