Jesus and Philosophy by Don Cupitt

Don Cupitt ( has been a theologian at Cambridge for over 40 years, writing over 40 books in that time. He came to public attention with the broadcast in 1984 of the BBC television series The Sea of Faith ( The programme dealt with the history of Christianity in the modern world, focussing especially on how Christianity has responded to challenges such as scientific advance, political atheism and secularisation in general. The name ‘Sea of Faith’ is taken from Matthew Arnold’s nostalgic mid 19th century poem Dover Beach (1867), (, in which the poet expresses regret that religious conviction is slowly ebbing away like the tide. The series and book launched a movement within the Church of England of the same name (

In Jesus and Philosophy (2009) Cupitt offers a fresh interpretation of the significance of Jesus. For a generation after his death his surviving associates preserved good traditions about the message of Jesus. Then the mythology set in: it began to be believed that he was risen, exalted to heaven, and soon to return to establish his kingdom on earth. A cult of Jesus’ person and fictitious lives of him quickly followed, and the surviving traditions of his actual teaching became blurred – as they still are. Since then, nobody has ventured to assess Jesus seriously, as a thinker. But today, as the supernatural beliefs fade, and better reconstructions of his teaching have become available, Don Cupitt thinks we should see Jesus from the standpoint of philosophy. Just how original and important is he? What is the status of his ideas: was he a religious figure at all, and why did he arouse such fierce antagonism? The Jesus who emerges from this enquiry is challenging and more intriguing than the insipid Christ of popular faith, says Cupitt.

To trace some of the footsteps of the Cupitt journey start with Taking Leave of God (1980, )

Follow up with The Sea of Faith (1984,

Listen to Cupitt on the TV series ‘The Sea of Faith’ here Sea of Faith1 – Don Cupitt – Documentary : (Galileo & Pascal) (

For a review of Cupitt’s contribution and guidance on further reading reach for Odyssey on the Sea of Faith: The Life and Writings of Don Cupitt, Nigel Leaves, Polebridge Press, (2004

128 pages in SCM Press paperback

ISBN 978-0334043386

Don Cupitt at Emmanuel College

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