James Hooks

Lecturer and Assistant Director
By appointment

James Hooks is Assistant Director for the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education. He completed his doctorate degree at the University of Oxford as a Doctoral Fellow for the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. While studying at Oxford he was President of the Graduate Theological Society, as well as a founding member and editor of the Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society (JOGTS). His research concerns the relationship between religion and political thought in the wake of the Protestant Reformation–particularly, how ideas about salvation and human nature influenced society and politics. His published work focuses on the history of toleration, especially the skeptical Huguenot philosopher Pierre Bayle (1647-1706).

His doctoral thesis Pierre Bayle and his Reception in Early Eighteenth-Century England: Toleration in the Pensées Diverses and the Commentaire Philosophique (Oxford University, 2023) contends that Bayle’s two most famous treatises on toleration, the Pensées diverses (1682) and the Commentaire philosophique (1686), introduced two notably different justifications for religious toleration, each having a major impact on readers in early eighteenth-century England.

His article, “Pierre Bayle and Richard Simon: toleration, natural law, and the Old Testament” (2022) published in The History of European Ideas, explores the conflict between Bayle’s support for freedom of conscience and the Old Testament injunction to punish idolatry. To resolve this tension, Bayle drew upon the work of early modern Hebraists, particularly the Catholic biblical scholar Richard Simon (1638–1712), to contend that prohibitions against idolatry should be exclusive to the Hebrew republic.

His article, “Le christianisme laïc de Pierre Bayle” (2021) published inLes Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, uses Bayle to contend for a unique version of secularism that justifies the use of religious symbols in the public sphere.

In addition to publishing his doctoral thesis as a monograph, James is currently researching the newly discovered marginalia in the Mary Astell (1666-1731) collection in Pepys Library in Cambridge, looking into Astell’s engagement with early modern French Cartesianism.

James enjoys teaching and has held positions in Canada, Japan, as well as the United Kingdom at Oxford University. Prior to the Hamilton Center, he also worked as the finance manager of the Canterbury Institute, where he helped direct operations, organized academic programming, administered funds for the Barry Scholarship, and coordinated with faculty and students from the University of Oxford.



  • B.A. in Humanities, Athabasca University, 2012
  • M.A. in Theological Studies, Regent College, 2018
  • D.Phil in Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, 2023

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