About me

I am a theologian and philosopher of religion finishing my DPhil at the University of Oxford. I also serve as a pastor. I live in Marburg, Germany.

My current research project is an intellectual and theological biography of theologian Paul Tillich’s time as a student, young pastor, and army chaplain in the First World War, with particular reference to his earliest sermons. The working title is “Pastor Tillich. The Justification of the Doubter.”

I have particular interests in the history of modern German theology, in philosophy of religion (especially anti-theodicy) and have learned much about how to think about religion in the contemporary world from my study of Charles Taylor.

Please navigate to the various pages to find out more about my publications, talks, translations and research interests. You can get in touch to discuss my work at samuel.shearn [at] theology.ox.ac.uk .


Short CV

1999-2002           B.Sc. Physics at the University of Nottingham

2002-2005           Ministry with students in St Andrews, Vienna, and Germany

2005-2009           B.A. Evangelische Theologie at the Evangelische Hochschule Tabor, Marburg

2009-2011           Pastoral ministry in the Landeskirchliche Gemeinschaft Plettenberg-Holthausen

2011-2012           M.A. Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at the University of Birmingham

2012-2014           M.Phil. Modern Theology at the University of Oxford

2014-                    D.Phil. Theology at the University of Oxford

2017-                    Pastoral ministry in the Evangelische Gemeinschaft Hartenrod



Society for the Study of Theology

British Society for the Philosophy of Religion

Deutsche Paul Tillich Gesellschaft



My research over the years has been made possible by several generous grants, including SLG Charitable Trust (2017), The Rebecca Flowers Squire Bursary (2016), an Arts and Humanities Research Council Studentship (2014-2016), and The Ertegun Graduate Scholarship in the Humanities (2012-2014).

In 2013 my essay won the Religious Studies Postgraduate Essay Prize.