Dr Ashley Cocksworth

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Job Title Tutor in Systematic Theology
Email a.cocksworth@queens.ac.uk
Telephone 0121 452 2665
Room no. Room 39, New Building
Website https://queens-uk.academia.edu...

I have been the Tutor in Systematic Theology at the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham, and a member of the Centre for Ministerial Formation since September 2012. At Queen’s I teach a variety of modules relating to Christian doctrine.

I undertook theological training at the University of Edinburgh (2004-09), after which I read for a doctorate in systematic theology at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College, 2009-12) under the supervision of  David Ford. The thesis was examined by Tom Greggs and Mark McIntosh. The fruit of my doctoral work was published in 2015 by T&T Clark as Karl Barth on Prayer.

Although I retain a broad interest in Barth studies, my current research is more focused on the exploration of the interplay between theology and spirituality (a relation that has eroded in much modern theological discourse) and seeks, in various reparative ways, to articulate an 'integral' relationship between theology and spirituality. More specifically, I have a particular interest in ‘practices’ and how the particular practice of prayer shapes the ways in which we think about God, the world and the self – my understanding of prayer is broad, then, with strong ethical and political dimensions.

Since 2009 I have held memberships at the American Academy of Religion, the North American Karl Barth Society, and the Society for the Study of Theology. I have served on the Executive Committee of the SST between 2013 and 2016 and in 2016 I was elected as the Treasurer.

2013PhDUniversity of Cambridge (Trinity College)
2009MThUniversity of Edinburgh
2008MA (Hons)University of Edinburgh
Roles within Queen's

I am currently engaged in the teaching of a variety of modules relating to Christian doctrine. 

Other teaching responsibilities include co-ordinating the BA dissertation module. I am a member of the Centre for Ministerial Formation and work particularly with Anglican ordinands.

External roles and responsibilities

I am the Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Theology, a position I have held since 2016.

Research interests and supervision

I have a number of research interests that generally revolve around the nature of systematic theology and in particular the relationship between doctrine and spirituality within the systematic project. I am particularly interested in, and have published on, the following themes: the theology of Karl Barth, Reformed theology, Anglican theology and liturgy, the theology of the Sabbath, practices of contemplative prayer, the Russian Orthodox tradition, and theologies of baptism.

Having recently published by first book, Karl Barth on Prayer, I am currently involved in a number of research projects. I am nearing the completion of a second monograph on prayer for T&T Clark entitled Prayer: A Guide for the Perplexed. This volume investigates what prayer looks like from a systematic theological perspective and, conversely, what prayer does to the  project of systematic theology. Along the way it revisits specific doctrines (Trinity, Christology, pneumatology, providence) to investigate the role of prayer in their formation and how a focus on prayer might reveal new doctrinal insights. I engage the writings of the late C4th desert father, Evagirus of Ponticus, and his fascinating treatise On Prayer, as well as contemporary writers engaged in recovering some of the integrity of prayer and theology (most notably Sarah Coakley and Rowan Williams). One of the aims of the book is to subvert the normative canon of systematic theology by paying particular attention to genres of theological writing that are often sidelined by systematic theologians: spiritual treatises, prayers, and devotional writing. 

A second ongoing project is the co-editing of a collection of primary readings on the theme of grace and the Christian life with Kent Eilers and Anna Silvas entitled: A Grammar of Grace: Readings for the Christian Life. It has been a privilege to spend a significant amount of time excavating the theological tradition to uncover interesting and challenging theologies of grace that remain very relevant and speak to the life of the church today. More information about the project can be found here.

A third (newly instigated) project is to think through the relation between theology, prayer, doctrine, spirituality in a more expansive way than has been possible in the Guide for the Perplexed. To that end, I am co-editing with John C. McDowell the T&T Clark Companion to Christian Prayer. Related to this, we are also putting together the T&T Clark Reader on Christian Prayer to provide an extensive library of really interesting writings on the theme of prayer that will serve as both a standalone volume and complement the Companion by providing the key primary texts with which contributors interact.

I have supervised a number of dissertations at BA and MA level and I am involved in doctoral supervision. I am very interested in supervising in the following areas:

  • systematic theology
  • historical theology
  • theologies of spirituality and prayer
  • the theology of the Sabbath
  • C20th theologians
  • the theology of Karl Barth.


1.    Karl Barth on Prayer, T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology 26, edited by John Webster, Ian A. McFarland and Ivor Davidson (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2015).                             

2.    Prayer: A Guide for the Perplexed (London; New York: T&T Clark, under contract).* [Completion date: June 2017]. 


1.   T&T Clark Companion to Christian Prayer, with John C. McDowell(London; New York: T&T Clark / Bloomsbury, under contract).

2.   T&T Clark Reader on Christian Prayer (London; New York: T&T Clark / Bloomsbury, under contract).

3.   The Grammar of Grace: Readings for the Christian Life, with Kent Eilers and Anna Silvas (Eugene, OR: Cascade, under contract).


1.   ‘Sabbatical Contemplation? Retrieving a Strand in Reformed Theology’, in Contemplation: A Guide for Evangelicals, ed. Kyle Strobel (IVP Academic, forthcoming).

2.   ‘Soborny spirituality: spirit and spirituality in Berdyaev and Barth’, in Correlating Sobornost: Conversations Between Karl Barth and Russian Orthodox Theology, eds John C. McDowell, Ashley Moyse and Scott Kirkland (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2016), pp. 213-40.

3.  ‘The creeds and the atonement’, in the T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement,ed. Adam Johnson (New York and London: Continuum, forthcoming), pp. XXX.

4.  ‘Prayer and the atonement’, in the T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement,ed. Adam Johnson (New York and London: Continuum, forthcoming), pp. XXX.

5.  ‘Revisiting Karl Barth’s doctrine of baptism from a perspective on prayer’, Scottish Journal of Theology 68.3(2015), pp. 255-72.

6.   ‘Prayer’, in Sanctified by Grace: A Theology of the Christian Life, eds. Kent Eilers and Kyle Strobel (New York and London: T&T Clark / Continuum, 2014), pp. 187-201.

7. ‘Being moved in sundry places: evensong, transformation and the theology of prayer’, inTheology 115.5 (2012), pp. 350–56.

8.   ‘Attending to the Sabbath: an alternative direction in Karl Barth’s theology of prayer’, International Journal of Systematic Theology 13.3 (2011), pp. 251–71. [Recipient of the 2010 SST / IJST Colin Gunton Memorial Prize].

9. ‘The Dark Knight and the evilness of evil’, Expository Times 120.11 (2009), pp. 541–3. [Recipient of the SAGE 2010 Most Read Article Prize and second place in 2012].


1.     “Singing the Lord’s song in a strange land”: bad theology in popular hymns, commissioned article for the Church Times.