The Reverend Dr Shaun Henson

College Chaplain

Department: Non-Academic Staff

Shaun is our College Chaplain, and a member of the College welfare team.  His work includes a general welfare remit in addition to a religious role.  He is available to speak in confidence with anyone about any matter, regardless of one’s beliefs, views, or orientations.

If you would like more information about visiting Shaun in College please see the Chapel page.

As Chaplain, Shaun is responsible for College religious life including services in our Chapel, and he has oversight of the College Choir, Choral and Organ Scholars, and Chapel Music Tutor.  In addition to routine services, he welcomes inquiries about Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, and other events.

Alongside his Chaplaincy, Shaun teaches and researches in the University’s Faculty of Theology and Religion. He recently completed a three-year research team membership with ‘The Order Project’, a philosophy of science research group based at the London School of Economics investigating concepts of natural order. His book God and Natural Order: Physics, Philosophy, and Theology (New York and London: Routledge, 2014) was his contribution to that project. He has just completed work in another group called Abraham’s Dice, a collaborative effort researching chance in the natural world from philosophical, scientific, and theological perspectives.  A related book is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2016, for which he contributed a chapter on quantum mechanics. His latest book, Academic Vocation in the Church and Academy Today (Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate 2016), examines the vocations of academics who combine their work with priesthood.  Despite a long and common history leading in part to the founding of Oxford University, the phenomenon has not yet been examined in a serious academic volume.  Shaun’s academic interests cross boundaries where scientific, philosophical, and religious concerns intersect, and his teaching includes areas like the diverse relations between scientific and religious perspectives, and Christian doctrine and beliefs.

Shaun earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in America before before becoming the first doctoral student to work with Oxford’s first Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, John Hedley Brooke, a scientist and historian of science. His co-supervisor was Professor Keith Ward, a philosopher. His doctoral research examined a debate between physics and philosophy on the unification of nature’s laws, which he concluded by forecasting possible directions for future similar projects.

Shaun became a priest in the Church of England near the end of his doctorate, working in parishes surrounding nearby Blenheim Palace. Prior to Oxford, he worked and lived for eight years in Boston, in New England, partly among the urban poor. His social concerns are now reflected in his life as a Professed Member of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis (TSSF), European Province, for which he serves as a Novice Guardian.

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