Dr Ximian Xu (BEng, LLM, MDiv (1st Class Hons.), MTh (Dist.), PhD, AFHEA)

Duncan Forrester Fellow


Ximian Xu (preferred name: Simeon) came to the University of Edinburgh to study theology in 2013. Before that, he was awarded Bachelor of Engineering in China and Master of International Trade and Commerce Law in Australia. Ximian completed Master of Divinity (First Class Honour), Master of Theology (Distinction), and PhD in systematic theology in, respectively, 2013, 2016 and 2020.

Simeon has published several articles on Herman Bavinck, Karl Barth, contextual theology. He is currently working on theological engagement with ethics of artificial intelligence. He is the founding editor of Studies in Dutch Neo-Calvinism Series (Chinese).


BEng, LLM, MDiv (Hons.), MTh (Dist.), PhD

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-editor, Studies in Dutch Neo-Calvinism Series (Chinese)



Undergraduate teaching

Theology and Contemporary Science

Theology in the Age of Technology

Postgraduate teaching

Cosmos, Cell and Creator

Mind, Matter, and Spirit

History of Science and Religion in the Christian Tradition

Theology, Ethics and Technology

Research summary

  • Theology and technology (esp. artificial intelligence, surveillance)
  • Dutch Neo-Calvinism (esp. Herman Bavinck)
  • Karl Barth
  • Contextual theology (esp. Reformed theology in mainland China)


Affiliated research centres

Conference details

Virtuous AI?: Cultural Evolution, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtue (Centre for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Graduate Theological Union, 24-26 July 2023)

  • Paper: ‘Virtually Virtuous AI and Human Moral Life: A Theological Exploration’

AI and the Christian Churches (School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, 23 February 2023)

  • Paper: ‘When AI Ministers Come: Christian Pastoral Care and Responsibility’

ETS Research Seminar (Edinburgh Theological Seminary; invited; 24 January 2023)

  • Paper: ‘A Theological Account of Artificial Moral Agency’

Annual Conference of Society for the Study of Christian Ethics Annual Conference, Westcott House, Cambridge (8-10 September 2022)

  • Paper: ‘Artificial Moral Agency: A Reformed Appraisal’ 8-10 September 2022

Global Sustainability – Science and Religion in Dialogue (European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, May 2022)

  • Paper: 'Human Sustainability in the Age of Technology: A Theological Proposal on Technomoral Human Futures.'

Gone Digital: How Digitality Disrupts Theology (Durham University, July 2021)

  • Paper responding to ‘Relationship status: “It’s complicated”. Digital Humanities-Methods and Systematic Theology’.

Chinese Theologies II: Non-Mainstream (Yale Macmillan Center, Yale University, June 2021)

  • Paper: ‘Give Us Dutch Neo-Calvinism: Retrieving and Reconsidering Dutch Neo-Calvinism in the Chinese Context’.

Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies (University of Oxford, December 2019)

  • Paper: ‘Herman Bavinck on the Dialectical Catholicity of Reformed Theology’.

Society for the Study of Christian Ethics Conference (London School of Theology, September 2019)

  • Paper: ‘Herman Bavinck’s Doxologically Intertwining Dogmatics and Ethics’. 

Kuyper Conference (Calvin University, April 2019)

  • Paper: ‘The Scientific Calling of the Church: Herman Bavinck’s Exhortation for the Churches in Mainland China’.

5th European Conference on Neo-Calvinism (Leuven, August 2018)

  • Paper: ‘Herman Bavinck on the Doxological Character of Scientific Theology’.

Advanced Theological Studies Fellowship (Theologische Universiteit Kampen, May-June 2018)

  • Paper: ‘Critically Assessing Karl Barth’s Appreciative Use of Herman Bavinck’s View of God’s Incomprehensibility’.


1. Workshop: Artificial Intelligence and the Christian Churches (Co-organised with Dr Michael Fuller) 23 February 2023

  • School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh; 23 February 2023; In partnership with the Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion and Technology
  • Awarded CAHSS KE Grant by the University of Edinburgh for this workshop

2. Artificial Intelligence in Pastoral Care for the Christian Churches (Organiser) 30 November 2022

  • School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

  • Awarded Postdoctoral Enrichment Award by the Alan Turing Institute for this conference