Gregory DawesGregory Dawes

BTheol, PGDipTheol, PhD (Otago [Biblical Studies])
SSL (Rome Pont Bib Inst)
PhD (Otago [Philosophy])

Room: Burns 2N11
Tel. 03 479 5232
Mob. 021 027 31359

Greg gained his first graduate degree at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1988) before completing PhDs in Biblical Studies (1995) and Philosophy (2007). He now teaches in both the Religion and Philosophy programmes. His earlier work examined the challenges to belief that arose from the historical study of Christian origins. This led him to the study of the relations between science and religion and, more generally, of the various 'modes of thought' found across cultures. His recent books include Galileo and the Conflict between Religion and Science (Routledge, 2016), Religion, Philosophy and Knowledge (Palgrave Pivot, 2016), and Deprovincializing Science and Religion (Cambridge Elements, 2021).


Papers taught in 2024

Summer School
Religion, Science and Magic


Preferred areas of graduate supervision:

  • Religious, scientific and historical forms of explanation.
  • 18th- to 21st-century theories of religion.
  • Theories of textual interpretation in Christianity and Islam.


Authored books

Deprovincializing Science and Religion, Cambridge Elements (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Religion, Philosophy and Knowledge, Palgrave Pivot (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Galileo and the Conflict between Religion and Science, Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion (New York: Routledge, 2016).

Theism and Explanation. Routledge Philosophy of Religion Series. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Introduction to the Bible. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007.

The Historical Jesus Question: The Challenge of History to Religious Authority. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

The Body in Question: Metaphor and Meaning in the Interpretation of Ephesians 5:21–33. Biblical Interpretation Series. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2001.

Edited Books

(associate editor), Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy, ed. Graham Oppy and Joseph Koterski. Macmillan Reference (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Cengage, 2019).

(and James Maclaurin), A New Science of Religion, Routledge Studies in Religion (New York: Routledge, 2012).

The Historical Jesus Quest: Landmarks in the Search for the Jesus of History, Leiden: Deo Publishing / Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1999.

(with S. Strachan), The Farthest Jerusalem: Four Lectures on the Origins of Christianity in Otago. Dunedin: Hocken Library, 1993.

Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries

(and James E. Harding), 'Body', in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology, ed. Samuel E. Balentine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). vol. 1, pp. 86-92.

'The Act of Faith: Aquinas and the Moderns', in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 6, ed. Jonathan L. Kvan-vig (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 58-86.

'Could There Be an Islamic Philosophy of Religion?', in The Teaching and Study of Islam in Western Universities, ed. Paul Morris, William Shepard, Paul Trebilco, and Toni Tidswell, Islamic Studies Series (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 143-52.

'Creationism', in Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions, ed. Anne Runehov and Lluis Oviedo, Springer Reference (Dordrecht: Springer, 2013), pp. 522-30.

(and James Maclaurin), 'What is Religion?' In A New Science of Religion, ed. G. W. Dawes & J. Maclaurin, Routledge Studies in Religion (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 11-25.

'Justified Believing: Avoiding the Paradox', in Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne, ed. James Maclaurin, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 28 (Dor-drecht: Springer, 2012), pp. 11-21.

'"A Certain Similarity to the Devil": Historical Criticism and Christian Faith', in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Authority of Scripture, ed. Carlos Bovell (Eugene, OR: Pick-wick Publications, 2011), pp. 354-70.

'Religion without God?' In A Religious Atheist? Critical Essays on the Work of Lloyd Geering edited by Raymond Pelly and Peter Stuart. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2006: 111-123.

'Religious Studies and the Presumption of Naturalism' In What Is Religion For? Proceedings of the NZASR Biennial Conference, Wellington 2002, edited by Joseph Bulbulia and Paul Morris. Wellington: Victoria University, 2004: 193-210

'Ernst Troeltsch' in Jesus in History, Culture and Thought – An Encyclopedia edited by Leslie Houlden. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003: 2:855-57.

'The Sense of the Past in the New Testament and the Qur'an.' In Islamic and Christian Cultures: Conflict or Dialogue? Bulgarian Philosophical Studies III edited by Plamen Makariev. Washington, DC: Council for Research in Values & Philosophy, 2001: 9-31

Refereed Articles

'Identifying Pseudoscience: A Social Process Criterion.' Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie / Journal for General Philosophy of Science 49:3 (2018): 283-98

(and Tiddy Smith), 'The Naturalism of the Scienc-es.' Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A. 67 (2018): 22-31.

'The Sacred, the Occult, and the Distinctiveness of Religion', Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 46:1 (2017): 19-36.

'Experiment, Speculation, and Galileo's Scien-tific Reasoning', Perspectives on Science 24 (2016): 343-60.

'Who Wants to Be a Saint?', Think: Philosophy for Everyone (Royal Institute of Philosophy) 15:42 (March 2016): 105-116.

'Basic Beliefs and Christian Faith', Religious Studies 51 (2015): 61-74.

'Participation and Causality: Lévy-Bruhl Revisited', Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses 43 (2014): 294-318.

'The Rationality of Renaissance Magic', Parergon 30:2 (2013): 33-58.

'Belief is Not the Issue: A Defence of Inference to the Best Explanation', Ratio NS 26 (2013): 62-78.

(and Jonathan Jong), 'Defeating the Christian's Claim to Warrant', Philo 15:2 (Fall/Winter 2012): 127-44.

'Religion, Science, and Explanation', Ars disputandi: The Online Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (2012)

'Evolution and the Bible: The Hermeneutical Question', Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception 2 (2012): 37-63.

'In Defense of Naturalism', International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2011): 3-25.

'Paradigmatic Explanation: David Friedrich Strauss's Dangerous Idea', Louvain Studies 32 (2008): 64-77. .

'Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?' Religion Compass 2 (2007). [ ]

'Paradigmatic Explanations: David Friedrich Strauss's Dangerous Idea.' Louvain Studies 32/1-2 (2007): 67-80. [ ]

'What is Wrong with Intelligent Design?' International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 61 (2007): 69-81.

'Why Historicity Still Matters: Raymond Brown and the Infancy Narratives.' Pacifica 19 (2006): 156-76.

'Religious Studies, Faith, and the Presumption of Naturalism.' Journal of Religion and Society [ ] 5 (2003).

'Could There Be Another Galileo Case? Galileo, Augustine and Vatican II.' Journal of Religion and Society [ ] 4 (2002).

'God Beyond Theism? Bishop Spong, Paul Tillich, and the Unicorn.' Pacifica 15/1 (2002): 65-71.

'Derrida among the Teachers of the Law: Deconstruction and Biblical Studies.' Pacifica 9 (1996): 301-309.

'Religious Studies and Theology in the University: "Some Ambiguities" Revisited.' Religion: a Journal of Religion and Religions 26 (1996): 49-68.

'The Danger of Idolatry: 1 Cor 8:7-13.' Catholic Biblical Quarterly 56 (1996): 82-98.

'Analogies, Metaphors and Women as Priests.' Pacifica 7 (1994): 47-58.

"'But if you can gain your freedom' (1 Cor 7:17-24)." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 52/4 (1990): 681-697.

Professor Dawes can be contacted at

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme