Dr Simon Burton (BA (Hons), MA (Cantab), DipTh, MPhil, PhD)

John Laing Senior Lecturer in Reformation History


I am a historical theologian and Church historian focussing on the period of the Long Reformation (c. 1400-1700), with a particular interest in Protestant scholasticism and the history of Christian reform.

I began my academic career at the University of Cambridge with a degree in Natural Sciences, before switching to postgraduate work in the theology and Church history of the Reformation era.  My PhD, which I completed at the University of Edinburgh, was on the Trinitarian method of the seventeenth-century English Reformed theologian Richard Baxter, published by Brill in 2012 as The Hallowing of Logic: The Trinitarian Method of Richard Baxter’s Methodus Theologiae.

In 2012-13 I was a Canadian Commonwealth and CREOR postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, Montreal where I studied Augustinian and Thomist influence on the sixteenth-century Florentine Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli.  Following that I took up a postdoctoral position and later an assistant-professorship at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw.  Here I engaged in research on Ramism and the universal reformation, developing themes from my PhD research.  In 2017 I returned to New College to take up my current post.

I have published articles in journals such as Reformation and Renaissance Review, Ecclesiology and History of Universities, and have a number of chapters in edited books.  Currently I am engaged in a number of edited book projects relating to the broader theme of reform.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Memberships of professional bodies and centres

American Cusanus Society

Renaissance Society of America

Reformation Research Consortium (RefoRC)

Centre for the Study of the Reformation and Intellectual Culture in Early Modern Europe

Sixteenth Century Society

Peter Martyr Vermigli Society


Membership of research groups

‘History of Scottish Theology’ 

‘Early Modern Conversions: Religions, Cultures, Cognitive Ecologies’ 

‘Classical Reformed Theology’ 

Undergraduate teaching

History of Christianity as a World Religion 1A

History of Christianity as a World Religion 1B

Postgraduate teaching

Creeds, Councils and Controversies

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

My research all relates to the theme of the Long Reformation and a primary interest of mine is the complex relation of late medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation theology.  My original research was in the field of Reformed scholasticism and I still maintain a strong research focus on this area.  However, my interests have also diversified to encompass late medieval and Reformation theology more broadly.

I am particularly fascinated by the relation between intellectual, theological and ecclesiological reform and its impact on the wider Church and society.  Currently I am working on a monograph on the connection between method and reform, with a particular focus on the movements of Ramism and Universal Reformation. 

Current research interests

Ramism and the Universal Reformation; Reformed scholasticism; Late medieval theology and reform; Scottish theology in the Long Reformation; Nicholas of Cusa; Jan Amos Comenius

Past research interests

Richard Baxter; Peter Martyr Vermigli; Augustinian theology in the Late Middle Ages and Reformation; Scotism

Affiliated research centres