Paul Morris

Prof Paul Morris profile picture

Professor School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


PhD (Lancaster)

Research specialties

Paul Morris is a specialist scholar in the field of contemporary world religions. He teaches an introductory paper, What is religion? Identity, Experience and Practice, and papers on Judaism; death; arguing about religion; and a new course, Evil and Salvation, exploring notions of sin, redemption, good and evil in different religious traditions and in the modern non-religious modern.

His publications explore Jewish religious thought, religious change in the Pacific; religious diversity, religion in New Zealand, religion and politics in the contemporary world, and religion and cosmopolitanism.

Career summary

Paul Morris studied Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington under Professor Lloyd Geering, and at Lancaster University where he completed a PhD supervised by Professor Ninian Smart.

Dr Morris taught at Lancaster during the 1980s and has held visiting positions, including Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations, Birmingham; Visiting Professor of Humanities, University of Queensland; and Visiting Professor of Religion, Boston University.

Professor Morris is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for the History of Religions, and on the editorial/advisory boards of Numen, Journal of Beliefs and Values, Journal of Implicit Religion, Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies and the Numen Brill Studies in Religion series.

Current research projects

Paul's research specialities lie in the areas of:

  • religion, politics and economics
  • religion in New Zealand
  • religion and death
  • Jewish studies
  • religion and culture.

He is currently researching:

  • the moral and religious dimensions of change in New Zealand, 1984-1999 (funded by a Marsden grant), examining the relationships between economic rationalism and moral programmes within the context of parallel changes overseas
  • spirituality in Aotearoa/New Zealand, looking at the spiritual elements of New Zealand culture, the transformation of religious institutions, new religious movements and new age spirituality.

Selected publications

  • New Rights New Zealand: Myths, Markets and Moralities Auckland, Auckland University Press, 2005 (co-authored with Dolores Janiewski).
  • Milbank, Theology and the Future of Religious Studies’, in L. Pearson (ed), The Future of the Study of Religion, Leiden: Brill (in press).
  • ‘Danilo Kis’, ‘Fay Zwicky’, ‘Nissim Ezekiel’, ‘George Steiner’, ‘David Daiches’ in G. Abrahamson (ed), Companion to Modern Jewish Culture, London: Curzon (in press).
  • ‘Al Alvarez’, ‘Chaim Bermant', ‘Nissim Ezekiel’, ‘Elaine Feinstein’, ‘Danilo Kis’, ‘Emmanuel Litvinoff’, ‘Frederick Raphael’, ‘Leonard Woolf’, ‘Fay Zwicky’ in S. Kerbel (ed), Encyclopaedia of Jewish Writers, London: Routledge, 2003.
  • Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, Auckland: Random House/Godwit, 2002, 200 pp (co-editor).

View the see full list of publications by Paul Morris.

Awards and achievements

  • 1980-84, British Academy Major State Student (PhD).
  • 1977-79, McMaster Teaching Fellowship / Benefactors’ Scholarship.
  • 1977, Commonwealth Fellowship.