Professor Jack Cunningham

Professor of Ecclesiastical History

Jack Cunningham teaches on the undergraduate Theology programme at Bishop Grosseteste University. Jack is a Church Historian with a current interest in ecclesiastical history in the High Middle Ages, with a particular interest in the 13th Century scientist, philosopher and theologian Robert Grosseteste. In 2007 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of his work in Church history. Jack joined Bishop Grosseteste from the University of Ulster where he was the Mac an tSaoir PH. D. Scholar.


Jack is coordinator of the Theology programme. His teaching interests include the histories of Western philosophy and Christianity. Jack is also postgraduate tutor for doctoral students.

PhD Supervision interests - Robert Grosseteste, as well as any aspect of Early Modern or Medieval Church History.

Jack’s research is in medieval Church history, philosophy and theology. Jack is a member of the Ecclesiastical History Society, the British Society for the History of Philosophy and he is the European convenor of the International Robert Grosseteste Society. Jack is the Director of the International Robert Grosseteste Study Centre at BGU. In 2022 Jack is organising the first International Medieval Mind Conference. Jack is a core member of the Ordered Universe Project; based at Durham University, this project brings together scientists and historians to prepare the work of Robert Grosseteste for publication. He is also one of the Principal Investigators of the Ordered Human Project based at BGU.


Essay on the Life and Manners of the venerable Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, from his own works and from contemporary Writers, by Philip Perry, 1766. Ed. Jack P. Cunningham. Boydell, 2022.

Robert Grosseteste and Theories of Education: the Ordered Human. Eds. Jack P. Cunningham & Steven Puttick. Routledge, 2020.

Cunningham, J. & Hocknull, M (2016) Robert Grosseteste and the pursuit of learning in the Middle-Ages. Springer

Cunningham, J. (2012) Robert Grosseteste: his thought and its impact. Canada: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.

Cunningham, J. (2006) James Ussher and John Bramhall: The Theology and Politics of Two Irish Ecclesiastics of the Seventeenth Century. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.

Chapters in Books

‘Plato’s unholy Trinity: the life, death and afterlife of the Anima Mundi in the Middle Ages,’ in Roger Bacon in context. Studies on his place in the history of Science and Philosophy. Eds. Y. Kedar and N. Polloni. Taylor & Francis, 2021.

‘The Educational Renaissance in twelfth and thirteenth Western Europe,’ in Robert Grosseteste and the Theory of Learning: the Ordered Human. Eds. Jack Cunningham & Steven Puttick. Routledge, 2020.

“That we might be made God.” Pseudo-Dionysius and Robert Grosseteste’s episcopal career,’ in Episcopal power and Personality in Medieval Europe, 900-1480. Medieval Church Studies vol. 12. Eds. P. Cross, C. Dennis, M. Julian-Jones and A. Silvestri. Brepols, 2020.

‘Robert Grosseteste and the animation of the Universe,’ in Edizioni, Traduzioni e tradizioni Filosofiche. Eds. L. Bianchi, O. Grassi & C. Panti. Arcane Editrice, 2018.

‘Robert Grosseteste and the pursuit of learning in the Thirteenth Century,’ in Robert Grosseteste and the pursuit of Religious and Scientific learning in the Middle-Ages. Eds. J. P. Cunningham & M. Hocknull. Springer, 2016.

‘Lumen de lumine: Light, God and Creation in the philosophy of Grosseteste,’ in Robert Grosseteste and Lincoln Cathedral: tracing the relationship between Medieval concepts of Order and Built Form. Eds. N. Temple, J. S. Hendrix & C. Frost. Ashgate, 2014.

Contributions to books

The Scientific Works of Robert Grosseteste. Vol. 1. Knowing and Speaking: Robert Grosseteste’s De liberalibus artibus ‘On the Liberal Arts’ and De generatione sonorum ‘On the Generation of Sounds.’ Eds. G. Gasper, T. McLeish, C. Panti, H. Smithson. Oxford University Press, 2019

PhD Supervisions

Rosamund Gammie- The place of memory’s relationship with sense perception in Robert Grosseteste’s epistemology, with a particular focus on his Aristotelian commentaries.

Adam Foxon- A critical evaluation of Grosseteste’s pedagogical theology/philosophy and its impact on medieval developments in educational theory and practice.

Jonathan Shiell- Loyalty as Identity: Perceptions of the Church of early Fourteenth-Century English Knights informed by contemporary Chronicles.

Rafailia Spyridoula Mastora- Clerical and Lay Perceptions of Demons in High and Later Middle Ages.

Ryan Eccles- Physico-Theology and metaphysics found within Spinoza. Tracing of the genealogical history of the World Soul.

Michael Francis-From Memphis to Manchester: Elvis, The Smiths, and their Associated Religions.

Thomas Brown-Warr- The Transformation of the Provincial Elite: the case of Lincolnshire, 1670s-1720s.

Abigail Teeder- The Theologies of Black-British writers of the Eighteenth Century.

Jack is keen to supervise dissertations on medieval or early modern Theology or Philosophy -


Fr Simon Bordley, eighteenth-century recusant priest, schoolmaster and trader in ‘two-legged cattle.’ British Catholic History, vol 36 no.3 May 2023.

Cunningham, J. (2013) ‘Lumen di lumine. Light, God and Creation in the philosophy of Grosseteste’. Cosmology and the Sacred Space: Lincoln Cathedral and Robert Grosseteste. Eds. N. Temple & J. Hendrix Ashgate

Cunningham, J. (2012) England’s Adam: the short career of the Giant Samothes in English Reformation thought. Early Modern Literary Studies, 16 (1). [view article]

Cunningham, J. (2011) ‘A little World without a World’: Ecclesiastical foundation myths in English Reformation thought. Journal of Anglican Studies. 8 (3).

Cunningham, J. (2011) Changing fashions: the coming of Reformation to Iceland. Reformation. 16. [view article]

Cunningham, J. (2009) Bishop Jón Arason, ‘the last Icelander,’ and the Reformation in Iceland. Reformation and Renaissance Review. 11 (3).

Cunningham, J. (2009) ‘A young man’s brow and an old man’s beard’ : the rise and fall of Joseph of Arimathea in English Reformation thought. Theology. 112 (4). 251-259.

Cunningham, J. (2008) John Bramhall’s other island: a Laudian solution to an Irish Problem. Irish Historical Studies. 36 (141).

Cunningham, J. (2006) The Eirenicon and the ‘Primitive Episcopacy’ of James Ussher: an Irish panacea for Britannia’s ailment. Reformation and Renaissance Review. 8 (2).