The Rev’d Dr. Christopher Brittain

Dean of Divinity and Margaret E. Fleck Chair in Anglican Studies

BA, University of New Brunswick
MDiv (honours), Trinity College, Toronto
PhD (Theology), St. Michael's College, Toronto

An alumnus of the Faculty, Professor Brittain returned to Trinity College in 2017 after serving as Professor of Social and Political Theology at the University of Aberdeen Scotland (2007-2017), and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax (2002-2006). In 2016-17, he was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Vienna, and he remains an Honourary member of staff in Divinity at the University of Aberdeen.

Prof. Brittain researches relations within the global Anglican Communion, Interfaith Partnerships, and Theological Responses to Disaster and Terrorism. In addition he works on Political Theology and on the writings of the early Frankfurt School on religion and theology. He is currently developing a theological study of the concept of power, entitled Power and Powerlessness.

Prof. Brittain is engaged in qualitative field research in theology.  As such, he is a member of the Ecclesiology and Ethnography network, and an alumnus of the Engaged Scholars Studying Congregations fellowship programme. He is also on the editorial boards of the book series Studies in Critical Research on Religion (Brill) and of the journal Critical Research on Religion (Sage).

He is interested in supervising doctoral research projects in areas that include: Political Theology, Social Ethics, Church Conflict, Congregational Studies, Continental Philosophy of Religion, Religion and Disaster, and Anglican Theology.

Prof. Brittain is an ordained priest in the Anglican tradition with parish ministry experience, having served in three dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada, in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and the Diocese of Europe. He is particularly interested in church outreach work with marginalised peoples, and in Christian Education.


Sample Publications

  • “Partnership Not Dialogue: Lent and Ramadan under the Same Roof,” Ecclesial Practices 3.2 (2017), 190-209
  • “Love as Power and Powerlessness: Kierkegaard and Adorno Revisited,” Toronto Journal of Theology 33.1 (2017)
  • A Plague on Both Their Houses: Liberal V.S. Conservative Christians and the Divorce of the Episcopal Church USA (T&T Clark, 2015)
  • “On the Demonization and Fetishization of Choice in Christian Sexual Ethics,” Studies in Christian Ethics 27.2 (2014), 144-166.
  • ‘Why Ecclesiology cannot live by Doctrine Alone: a reply to John Webster's “In the Society of God”.’, Ecclesial Practices, 1.1 (2014), 5-30
  • Religion at Ground Zero: Theological responses to times of crisis (Continuum, 2011)
  • Adorno and Theology (T&T Clark, 2010)
  • “Political Theology at a Standstill: Messianism in Adorno and Agamben,” Thesis Eleven 102.1 (August 2010), 39-56
  • ‘Confession Obsession? Core Doctrine and the Anxieties of Anglican Theology’, Anglican Theological Review 90.4 (2008), 777-799
  • ‘The ‘Secular’ as a Tragic Category: On Talal Asad, Religion and Representation’, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, 17.2 (2005), 149-165



  • The Anglican Communion at a Crossroads: The Crisis of a Global Church (with Andrew McKinnon, Penn State University Press, May 2018)
  •  “Racketeering in Religion: Adorno and Evangelical Support for Donald Trump,” Critical Research on Religion
  • “Rowan Williams on Icons”


Upcoming Presentations

  • Keynote, Ecclesiology and Ethnography conference, Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg (6-8 June, 2018)
  • “Beyond Hospitality and Place: ecclesiology and the primacy of motion,” The Church and Migration: Global In-Difference?’ Ecclesial Investigations Conference (Toronto, June 25-27, 2018)


Current Teaching

  • Church Conflict and Global Christianity
  • Critics and Defenders of Christian Theology
  • History of Liturgy and Sacramental Theology
  • Justice and Reconciliation
  • Religion at Ground Zero: Theological Responses to Times of Crisis
  • Systematic Theology
  • TSJ5021 Research and Scholarship

 Personal Blog: Being and Lime

Twitter: Chris@cc_brittain