Dr Lexi Eikelboom
Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
Areas of expertise: philosophical theology; theology and the arts; aesthetics; embodiment and phenomenology; ritual studies; epistemology
Location: ACU Melbourne Campus
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1549-247X
Dr Lexi Eikelboom is research fellow in theology and religion in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. Her work uses art practices and discourses to intervene in philosophical debates concerning concepts of theological significance, and she has extensive interdisciplinary research experience bringing together methods and concerns from theology, philosophy, religious studies, literary studes, visual arts, and psychology. Eikelboom completed her PhD at the University of Oxford in 2016, which led to her first book Rhythm: A Theological Category (Oxford University Press, 2018) as well as several other publications. The book presents an innovative method for interpreting the philosophical work that the concept of rhythm does in theology by using resources from prosody and phenomenology to examine why thinkers characterize rhythm in substantially different ways. The analysis resulted in a constructive vision of how conceptions of rhythm affect articulations of doctrine ,and it has been used to advance research in both theology and other disciplines, including work on Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Goethe, thereby establishing it as a method for understanding how culture influences thought through bodily experience.
Based on her conviction that embodied practice is pivotal to the contributions that art can make to abstract philosophical questions, Eikelboom has also led an interdisciplinary project "Spiritual Understanding in a Secular Age: Engaging Art as Religious Ritual", funded by the Templeton Religion Trust as part of their Art Seeking Understanding scheme. She lead a team of international and interdisciplinary researchers from across the humanities and experimental psychology to work with practicing artists in developing methods for approaching art practice as a source of spiritual knowledge through the lens of religious ritual. The project has culminated in an interdisciplinary volume pairing artists' practices with particular rituals organized around seven themes, and has resulted in impact for both churches and the artworld.
Eikelboom continues to to be interested in how art can intervene in philosophical and theological debates, and particularly welcomes PhD students interested in working in this area.
View Academia profile
View The Rhythmic Theology Project research site
- (2018) Rhythm: A Theological Category. Oxford University Press.
- (2022) "Reading for Form in Doctrine: Literary Approaches to Przywara's Analogia Entis." The Journal of Religion, 102 (3): 307-331.
- (2020) "Rhythmic Flesh: How the Regulation of Bodily Rhythm Contributes to Spirituality in the Jesus Prayer, Medieval Dance, and African American Preaching." Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
- (2015) "Strife or Rhythm? Martin Heidegger and Giorgio Agamben on the Origin of Art." Primerjalna književnost (Comparative Literature) 38.1, 209-220.
- (2014) "Erich Przywara and Giorgio Agamben: Rhythm as a Space for Dialogue between Catholic Metaphysics and Postmodernism." The Heythrop Journal 56.2.
- (2014) "Why Stanley Hauerwas Needs Blaise Pascal: Sin, Anthropology, and Christian Witness." Studies in Christian Ethics 27.4, 404-416.
- (Forthcoming) "The Rhythms of the Heart and the Movement of Knowledge: Merleau-Ponty and the Epistemological Implications of Entrainment in Hesychast Prayer," in Heart: Knowledge and the Constitution of Being, edited by Peter Schüz and Therese Feiler, Brill.
- (2017) "Rhythmic Eschatology: What Poetry Teaches about the Nature of Time" in Game Over, Good or Bad News? Eschatology in Question. C. Chalamet, A. Dettwiler, M. Mazzocco, and G. Waterlot (eds), (W. de Gruyter).
- (2015) "Redeeming Duality: Anthropological Split-ness and Embodied Soteriology." The Resounding Soul: Reflections on the Metaphysics and Vivacity of the Human Person. Eric Austin Lee and Samuel Kimbriel. Eugene, Oregon (eds), (Wipf&Stock).
- "Seeing in Time: Where is Tradition?" Sites of Sacred Tradition Panel, European Academy of Religion, St Andrews, June 20, 2023.
- "Aesthetic Autonomy: Eavesdropping on Another Conversation." Autonomy Seminar. Rome, September 14, 2022.
- "Place-Making as Paradox: Making and Given-ness in Practices of Art and Liturgy." Poetics and Liturgy of Place, London, July 13, 2022.
- "Graceful Forms: The Theological Significance of Gesture" The Society for the Study of Theology Annual Conference: Theology & Grace. University of Warwick, UK, April 9, 2019.
- "Using Rhythm to Move Beyond Text in the Study of Christian Spirituality." American Academy of Religion. Boston, November 22, 2017.
- "Spiritual Understanding in a Secular Age: Engaging Art as Religious Ritual." $230,000USD, Templeton Religion Trust, Art Seeking Understanding. Principal Investivagator. July 2021 - Dec 2023.
Appointments and Affiliations
- 2018 - Present: Research Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University
- 2015 - 2018: Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, John Wesley Honors College, Indiana Wesleyan University
Public engagement activities
- Art-Making for the Spiritual Life Church Workshop. Brunswick Uniting Church, August 27, 2023.
- Presence and Grace: What Can Art-Making Teach us about Liturgy? ABC Religion & Ethics blog, April 17, 2023.
- Rituals of Embodied Knowing exhibition, gallery talk, and panel chair. CBOne Gallery, Melbourne, February 18 -March 18, 2023.
- Radio interview, ABC Soul Search, March 20, 2022.
- Online Symposium for Rhythm: A Theological Category. Syndicate, July 21 - August 11, 2021.
- Interview about Rhythm: A Theological Category. New Books Network, Feb 10, 2021.
Current or graduatated HDR students
- David Schutz, "Reformulating Catholic Eschatology for the People of Today."
- Beshoy Tawadrous, "The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Experience of God: The Trinitarian Theology of Rowan Williams in Conversation with French Phenomenology."
- Celeste Kumar, "Faith, Evil, and Meaning: The recent history and future prospects of the problem of evil."