The University of Manchester
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Samuel Alexander Building, WG16
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Phone: +44 (0)161 275 3064



The University of Manchester
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Samuel Alexander Building, WG8
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
Phone: +44 (0)161 306 1663


What does it mean to exist in complex relationships with machines? What insights can be offered to our understandings of these relationships by the theologically significant theme of ‘love’? What critical assessments can be made of our multiple uses of technologies in shaping our futures, by reflecting on our pasts?

Events and Outputs
> Robots vs Loneliness?
> Focus Groups
> Conference: Care and Machines
Useful links 

Disquiet over the prevalence of social and economic individualism has a long history. In a world of mobile Capital and increasingly mobile people, communities of common tradition and locality appear to be under threat from the advent of a fragmented market society. Are these complaints against individualism justified? And crucially, how should Christians respond to them? Digging down into the substance of these questions, this project will consider the theological, liturgical and scriptural resources Christians have for understanding the notion of individualism in relation to issues of education, public life and the formation of democratic citizenship.


Book Launch, Mon 18 November, 6.30-7 p.m.--Join Us!

Please join LTI for the launch of this great book at Manchester Cathedral on Monday 18 November at 6.30. The volume, the final publication of LTI's Divinity after Empire project, will be introduced by the editors. The book launch is free to attend and includes a glass of wine. There is no need to book.

As an added treat, the launch will be followed at 7 p.m. by the LTI event, Loving Machines. For this event, which ends at 8.30 p.m., you do need to book. Please click here to do so.

Hope to see you at both events. 



Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s work have put the matter of our climate emergency firmly in the centre of our politics. As I write, there are many fires burning unchecked in the Amazon, with the suggestion that in 2019 Brazil has seen the largest number of fires. In this book, I propose a Christian ethics for a climate emergency. In what way?

By thinking about a social order in terms of a “greater society”—that is my suggestion. Part of the reason why we can so easily forget that we are dependent creatures is because we do not see ourselves as members of such a greater society. Therefore, my take is that we should regard our society as populated by many agents; our greater society is not a site of human-only habitation. So a greater society points us towards a right order of life rather than a right order of humans. If this is what is going on—and in truth has always been going on—what should we be doing? In this social order of life, how are we to live wisely and carefully?

By setting aside notions such as duty, utility and law, stewardship, etc. and focussing instead on right: postural right, right for a postnatural condition. Right is a defensive or negating notion that seeks to identify and support the liberty and security of all creatures. The presentation of right is also the attempt to discern, identify and correct particular social and ecological practices. In my argument, right does not refer us to some original or primordial condition but to social patterns and arrangements that are socially useful with regard to obtaining liberty and security. Right-based arguments are opposed to a dominant or authoritative interpretation or state of affairs. As such, thinking in terms of right is a struggle against established authorities, and so related to protest. That is, right offers an ideal commentary about the future of a society, the unity of humanity and a wider creatureliness.

My position is new, and yet not so new, for it is based in a doctrine of creation. Fundamental here is the way in which the ecologically attuned restatement of the doctrine of creation requires the decentring of the human: related to God’s purposes, human concerns are thereby denied a centrality. Rightly understood, this does not challenge the concept of imago dei but is a re-working of it. Being in the image of God need not function as a way of strongly contrasting the human with the rest of nature. Instead, imaging God may be understood in relational ways: horizontally with reference to creation as well as vertically with reference to God. In displacing the centrality of human concerns, the concerns of other creatures may be moved from background to foreground. No longer does the human occlude other creatures.

Therefore, the doctrine of creation can provide a basis for a just social life rooted in a common creatureliness that humans share with others. When we speak of a social life, we are speaking of a society that is wider than the human. We move then from creatio to creatura: to explore the doctrine of creation towards an understanding of creatures in a greater society and towards a right order of life.

Peter Scott

Amazon page


Peterloo, and public liturgy of commemoration

The desire to commemorate seems to be widespread. There are different types of commemoration with their different moods and some seem simpler than others. A victory parade, for example, may celebrate military power or a sporting achievement. These are spectacles, if you like, that aim to draw a crowd in order to celebrate. Manchester has its share of these, from one of the city’s football teams (men’s) winning the Premier League to the annual Gay Pride parade.

Other commemorations are knottier, trickier. The more complex commemorations typically involve the remembering of loss and death and their mood is tragic and defiant, as well as celebratory. Manchester, unhappily, has had its share of these also: the vigil, and flower-placing, in St Ann’s Square in front of St Ann’s Church after the 2017 Arena bombing in which 23 died, is an example here. What sort of public liturgy after atrocity emerges to respond to the desire to gather, to witness, to be hopeful and not fall into despair?

The Peterloo commemorations are of the knottier sort. 18 people were killed in the space of a few minutes and a peaceful crowd of 60,000 people was forced to disperse by various yeomanry. Death, loss and defeat. How to commemorate that?

Perhaps it is no surprise that the From the Crowd event devised as the central feature of the 200 year anniversary commemoration of the Peterloo massacre draws loosely on a liturgical repertoire (as well as other sources). Described as based on eyewitness accounts of those present at Peterloo 1819, ‘the words of contemporary protestors and poets have been woven together to create a powerful piece that with no spectators only participants… Collectively they will voice a picture of what happened on 16 August 1819 and the change people want to happen in 2019’. Actions easily recognisable from liturgy were used: procession, testimony, call and response, greeting/sharing of the peace, hymn-like singing, rhythmic drumming, and reading-out of the names of the 18 dead in 1819.

Many questions could be asked about this selection from the liturgical repertoire. Clearly, there are key elements missing: sacrifice would be one, and forgiveness would be another. Rather than ask how true such a performance is to its religious leanings, however, why not turn the question around. What might the Church learn from such deployment of liturgical actions as it struggles to develop its own public liturgy?

The Church has been trying to develop a public response in this postsecular, post Christian context. Among its performances of public liturgy are the renewed interest in Whit walks and the increasing popularity of the observance of Remembrance Sunday. Yet Whit walks seem to be a visual prompt about an ecclesiastical status that has long since decreased and Remembrance is supported by a renewed interest in patriotism about which the Church is rightly cautious.

Like the Peterloo commemoration, the Church seeks to perform its public liturgy around a catafalque. There has been a death but the body is absent: “He is not here” (Luke 24).  Are there ways that the Church might develop its own public liturgical performance? There would be two purposes: to gather and to witness. The gathering, such a central part of Christian worship, raises the question about the place of the gathering. Can the Church gather in new and surprising places and draw in those who are prepared to acknowledge the catafalque but do not accept it? The witnessing invites the church to tell its own story but in such a way that would enable others into the greater truth of their stories.

An indication that the Church is developing its thinking and practice of public liturgy would be an acknowledgement that it is these questions that a tragic commemoration such as Peterloo presses on it.

Peter Scott


BBC R4 | Beyond Belief | PASSOVER

LTI Director Peter Scott contributed to an episode of Beyond Belief, on the theme of Passover.

You can listen to the episode again on BBC Sounds.




Peter Manley Scott 
A Theology of Postnatural Right

Studies in Religion and the Environment/Studien zur Religion und Umwelt Volume/Band 13, 
2019, 200 pps, 34.90 EUR

This study provides a theological and social ethics for an ecological age. It develops a concept of right for an order of creaturely life. This order consists of a "society" that encompasses humans and other creatures. The concept of right presented here is elaborated by reference to a postnatural condition, which rejects claims of a given natural order. Strong contrasts between nature and the human as well as nature and technology are also called into question. A pioneering study, this theory of right faces an ecological horizon, draws on theological resources in the doctrine of creation and proposes an ethics towards a freer social order. 

Peter Manley Scott is Samuel Ferguson Professor of Applied Theology and 
Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute at The University of Manchester, UK.


PhD Studentship: Public Theology

As part of its partnership with Manchester Cathedral, LTI is pleased to announce a fully funded PhD studentship. To apply, please click the link below.

PhD Studentship - Evaluating the Theology of Public Engagement at Manchester Cathedral
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
The University of Manchester