Dr Benjamin DeSpain

Research Fellow
Religion and Theology

Ben DeSpain

Areas of expertise: systematic and historical theology; philosophical theology; moral philosophy; Platonism; Thomas Aquinas

Email: benjamin.despain@acu.edu.au 

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Benjamin DeSpain is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. He completed a PhD in Historical and Systematic Theology in 2016 at Durham University. His doctoral thesis identified the various ways Thomas Aquinas integrated the Platonic doctrine of the divine ideas into the theological pedagogy of the Summa Theologiae.

Ben is a member of the ACURF funded project, “Redeeming Autonomy: Agency, Vulnerability, and Relationality.” His current research examines the textures of vulnerability and receptivity in the intellectual history of autonomy. He is particularly interested in the influence of ancient and medieval notions of finitude and frailty on the articulation of rational self-governance by literary, religious, and philosophical figures often marginalized in the narratives of modern moral philosophy.

Select Publications

  • Journal Articles
    • (forthcoming) “Aquinas’s Virtuous Vision of the Divine Ideas,” Theological Studies 
  • Book Chapters
    • 2013 “Seeing One’s Own Face in the Face of God: the Doctrine of the Divine Ideas in the Mystical Theologies of Dionysius the Areopagite and Nicholas of Cusa,” in L. Nelstrop and S. Podmore (eds.), Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology: Between Transcendence and Immanence. Routledge 29-46.


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