Paul Griffiths

Paul Griffiths

Warren Professor of Catholic Theology

(919) 660-3413
056 Langford

Duke Divinity School
Box 90968
Durham, NC 27708-0968


Paul J. Griffiths joined the faculty of Duke Divinity School in January 2008 as Warren Professor of Catholic Theology. He was born in England in 1955, and lived and was educated there until 1980, when he moved to the USA to complete his studies. Since 1980 he has lived mostly in the USA, becoming a US citizen in 1994.

He married Judith Heyhoe in 1975, and has two children with her. He and his family were received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1996, having previously been Anglican. He has held academic positions at the University of Notre Dame (1986-1990), the University of Chicago (1984-1986, 1990-2000), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (2000-2007).

His main intellectual interests and topics of publication include: post-1950 Catholic philosophical theology; the philosophical and political questions arising from religious diversity; fourth- and fifth-century African Christian thought (especially Augustine); and Gupta-period Indian Buddhist thought (especially Yogacara).

He has published nine books as sole author, and seven more as co-author or editor. The most recent is Song of Songs: A Commentary (Brazos Press, 2011). He delivered the Stanton Lectures at Cambridge University in 2013, under the title "The End: An Eschatological Assay”; a much-expanded version of those lectures will be published by Baylor University Press in 2014. His current project is a book with the working title: Contracting Intimacy: A Theology of Sex, Marriage, and the Law.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.Phil., Oxford University
B.A., Oxford University

Curriculum Vitae


  • Christian Theology of Religion(s)
  • The Nature & Existence of God
  • Catholic Thought: An Introduction for undergraduates
  • The Thought of Augustine of Hippo
  • Philosophical Theology since 1968, co-taught with Stanley Hauerwas
  • Philosophical Theology: Wittgenstein, co-taught with Stanley Hauerwas
  • Vatican II, co-taught with Reinhard Hütter
  • The Thought of John Henry Newman
  • Eschatology

Additional Information


New(ish) books I've read and learned from or been delighted by (sometimes both) in 2013 (dates given are of first publication in English):

  • Giorgio Agamben, The Highest Poverty (2013) -- from Italian
  • Francis I, Evangelii Gaudium (2013)
  • Jim Crace, Harvest (2013)
  • László Krasznahorkai, Satantango (2012) -- from Hungarian
  • Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos (2012)
  • Flannery O'Connor, A Prayer Journal (2013)
  • Karl-Ove Knaustaad, My Struggle, first two vols. (2012-2013) -- from Norwegian
  • Stephen Mulhall, The Self & its Shadows (2013)
  • Michael Torre, Do Not Resist the Spirit's Call: Francisco Marín-Sola on Sufficient Grace (2013)
  • Jonathan Franzen, The Kraus Project (2013) -- from German
  • Thomas Pfau, Minding the Modern (2013)

To meditate

    • omnium certa sententia est, qui ratione quoquo modo uti possunt, beatos esse omnes homines velle. [it is the definite judgment of anyone at all capable of reasoning that all human beings want blessedness] <Augustine, De civitate dei 10.1>
    • quamvis itaque miracula visibilium naturarum videndi assiduitate viluerint, tamen, cum ea sapienter intuemur, inusitatissimis rarissimisque maiora sunt. nam et omni miraculo quod fit per hominem maius miraculum est homo.  [Although, therefore, the miracles of the visible orders of nature are despised because they are always visible, when they are seen wisely they are greater than the rarest and most unfamiliar <miracles>. For human beings are greater miracles than any miracle human beings can perform.]  <Augustine, De civitate dei 10.12>
    • procul dubio non est mundus factus in tempore sed cum tempore. [Beyond doubt, the world was not made in time but with time] <Augustine, De civitate dei 11.6>
    • illud etiam quod ait de diabolo iohannes: ab initio diabolus peccat, non intellegunt si natura talis est nullo modo peccatum. [Those who interpret what John says, that the Devil sinned from the beginning, do not understand that if such a thing were natural it could in no way be sin] <Augustine, De civitate dei 11.15>
    • Haec dicta sint ne quisquam cum de angelis apostaticis loquimur existimet eos aliam velut ex alio principio habere potuisse naturam nec eorum naturae auctorem deum. cuius erroris impietate tanto quisque carebit expeditius et facilius quanto perspicacius intellegere potuerit quod per angelum deus dixit, quando moysen mittebat ad filios israel: ego sum qui sum.  [These things have been said so that when we speak of the apostate angels no one might think them capable of having a nature that comes from some other principle, a nature of which God is not the author. That impious error can be quickly and easily removed by a clear understanding of what God said through an angel when he sent Moses to the sons of Israel: I am who I am.] <Augustine, De civitate dei 12.2>
    • nihil sit aliud tempus vitae huius quam cursus ad mortem [... the time of this life is nothing other than a movement toward death] <Augustine, De civitate dei 13.10>
    • sed vitio depravari nisi ex nihilo facta natura non posset. ac per hoc ut natura sit ex eo habet quod a Deo facta est; ut autem ab eo quod est deficiat ex hoc quod de nihilo facta est. [But a nature cannot be perverted by a vice unless it is made out of nothing. And so this [the will] is a nature because it was made by God; and its falling away from that nature is because it was made from nothing] <Augustine, De civitate dei 14.13>
    • proinde non quidem omnis homo malus erit bonus, nemo tamen erit bonus qui non erat malus. [For it is not the case that every evil person will become good, but no one will be good who was not first evil] <Augustine, De civitate dei 15.1>