Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Burghill

Burghill, Herefordshire

Rector’s Page

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I’m the Reverend Dr Phill Brown and Rector (designate) of the newly proposed Benefice of Burghill. I’ve been married to Sharron for 23 years and we have four children. I am originally from Hereford and have never moved far from my roots. I love our countryside and the sense of space it offers. It reminds me of a famous phrase by a theologian who once said: ‘Heaven is a place in which there is no cramping’. I love reading and writing as well as the less demanding tasks of watching documentaries, TV series and movies. I am very interested in scientific research and in the exploration of psychology. Carl Jung is a particular favourite of mine. I also admire noted scientist such as Brian Cox and Brian Greene for their work of communicating complex things in simple ways.  I endeavour to do likewise! In terms of TV series I am addicted to the Big Bang Theory and always have a series to follow. I could do a list of favourite films but I’m afraid this is too difficult. Here are a few of my favourite things: The Shawshank Redemption, Leon, Good Will Hunting, anything to do with science fiction, James Bond, Quentin Tarantino, anything historical and last, but not least, The Princesses Bride. I love a hero, non-more so than Jesus!

I also have two cats and a dog called Boo who loves me more than words can say.

I terms of my academic interests and history, I obtained a B.Th Degree in Theology from the University of Wales Lampeter (2010) as well as a MA in Systematic & Philosophical Theology (2014) from the University of Nottingham. I have just completed my Ph.D (2020) in the Theology of St Augustine of Hippo, at the University of Nottingham with Prof Thomas O’Loughlin. My Doctoral thesis is focused on Augustine’s notion of friendship in relation to belonging to the the Church. I am also interested in the role of classical philosophy and its role in the formation of Christian doctrine (what we believe and why). I also enjoy classical literature, both Greek and Latin. I have an interest the translation and transmission of both Greek and Latin texts. I have also been known to make Byzantine Icons for devotional purposes. You can find one of mine in the Church.

Published Works

(2020) ‘Figurabat Ecclesiam: Figuration, Friendship and the Unity of the Church in Augustine’s Sixth Tractate on John’ [Baker-Brian & Lössl eds], Studia Patristica 102, Leuven.

――. (2021) ‘Augustine’s Appropriation of Cyprian’s Unitive Tropes from De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate within his In Iohannis Euangelium Tractatus 1-16’, paper presented at XVIII. International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford [accepted for publication] in Studia Patristica, Leuven.

――. (2021) Friendship as Ecclesial Religio: A Reading of Friendship in St. Augustine’s In Iohannis euangelium tractatus, Studia Traditionis Theologiae series, Brepols, Turnhout.