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About Dr Steve Knowles

My current research interests include examining the interface between religion and popular culture with a specific focus upon contemporary apocalyptic beliefs. Related to this is an interest in the correlation between notions of risk in contemporary western society and apocalyptic ideologies.

I am a product of the Theology & Religious Studies Department at the University of Chester, having successfully completed all undergraduate and postgraduate study at this institute. After gaining a First Class degree in theology and also being the recipient of the Hollybank Prize for ‘outstanding contribution to theology', I embarked upon postgraduate studies.

The focus of this was analyzing the theological method of Stanley J. Grenz and his engagement with postmodernism. During my time as a doctoral student at Chester, I was invited to teach on a range of theological topics at undergraduate level. On completion of my PhD in 2007 I became a visiting lecturer, increasing my level of responsibility. I was appointed as a full-time member of staff in January 2010.


My teaching responsibilities lie in two distinct area. Firstly, at undergraduate level I am module leader for TH4048 Philosophy and Ethics and TH5046 Spirituality and Popular Culture. At postgraduate level I am module leader for TH7039 Spirituality and Contemporary Popular Culture.

Secondly, I am part of the Doctor in Professional Studies in Practical Theology teaching team and have specific oversight for TH8002 Literature Review as well as supervisory responsibilities.

PhD Supervision

I currently supervise projects in the field of contemporary Pentecostal theology as well as emergent church ecclesiology. I am also happy to receive interest from prospective candidates in the research areas listed below


  • Religion and popular culture
  • Influence of spirituality/religion in popular music
  • Charismatic Christianity
  • Postmodern theology
  • Contemporary Apocalyptic Beliefs

Published Work


  • Religion and Popular Culture. London: SCM Press (forthcoming 2016).

  • 'Beyond Evangelicalism: The Theological Methodology of Stanley J. Grenz' (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010).

Chapters in Books

  • 'Signs of Salvation: Insecurity, Risk and the End of the World in Late Modernity' in H. Bacon, W. Dossett and S. Knowles (eds), Alternative Salvations. London: Bloomsbury. Forthcoming 2015.

  • ‘Stanley J. Grenz', in New Dictionary of Theology (Leicester: IVP), forthcoming.

  • 'Apocalyptic Imagery in Extreme's III Sides to Every Story' in C. H. Partridge (ed) Anthems of Apocalypse Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2012).

  • 'Postmodernism: Reasons to be Cheerful', in H. Bacon, W. Morris and S. Knowles (eds), Transforming Exclusion: Engaging with Faith Perspectives (London: T&T Clark, 2011)

Edited Work

  • Bacon, H., Dossett, W. and Knowles, S. (forthcoming 2015). Alternative Salvations. London: Bloomsbury.

  • With H. Bacon and W. Morris, Transforming Exclusion: Engaging with Faith Perspectives (London: T&T Clark, 2011).


  • 'Risk or Rapture: signs of the end or symptoms of world risk society', in Culture and Religion 2014 Vol. 15:4, pp. 419-435.

  • 'Rapture Ready and the World Wide Web: Religious Authority on the Internet', in Journal of Media and Religion 2013 Vol. 12:3, pp. 128-143.

Current Projects

Currently I am editing a volume with Prof Chris Partridge provisionally entitled, Altered States: Reflections on Induced Transcendence in Popular Culture. This work seeks to engage with and examine notions of transcendence through altered states in the last two hundred years.

Memberships of learned societies

  • Society of Study of Theology

  • Mediating Religion Network

  • American Academy of Religion

  • Member of steering group for UK Network for Theology & Religious Studies and Popular Culture 


  • Journal of Contemporary Religion

  • Modern Believing


BTh (Liv), PhD (Liv), PGCertHE