Wayne J. Hankey

Professor of Classics; Editor of Dionysius


Email: Wayne.Hankey@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2298
Mailing Address: 
Marion McCain Building, Room 1189
Research Topics:
  • Neoplatonism
  • Islamic and Jewish philosophy in the middle ages
  • Relations between Hellenistic Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Medieval philosophy
  • Contemporary French philosophy



  • BA (Vind.)
  • MA (Toronto)
  • DPhil (Oxon)


Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, I received my primary and secondary education in the public schools here. I studied Classics and philosophy at King’s College and Dalhousie University, graduating with First Class Honours and the University Medal in Philosophy in 1965 and delivering the Valedictory Address at the King’s Encaenia. Going on to Trinity College (as Cumming Fellow), the University of Toronto, and Oxford University, I added theology to my studies. Teaching my first course at Dalhousie in 1965 (second year Greek), more than forty-five years—including four years at York University—have been devoted to university teaching. Several years were spent conducting research in Rome and Paris and I have held research positions at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Boston College. I was a Librarian of Pusey House, Oxford, during 1979 and 1980. I am a member of St Peter’s and St Cross Colleges, Oxford, and of Clare Hall, Cambridge.

When a student at King’s, I was a founder of the Student Union and one of its first presidents. I returned home from Toronto to be the founding Director of the Foundation Year Programme (1972-78) at King's and, from Oxford, to be Librarian of the College (1981-93), during which time I designed and built its new Library. At King’s I chaired the committee which presided over the creation of the Early Modern Studies and History of Science and Technology Programmes; from 1972 to 1990, except when away, I was Professor in Residence in the College; and, until 2015, usually lectured in the Foundation Year Programme and often co-ordinated Sections.

In 1982, I moved from my post at King’s to the Department of Classics, promoted to Associate Professor and tenured in a Carnegie Chair, becoming full Professor at Dalhousie in 1996. In 2015, I was retired from King’s and given a post-retirement Professorship of Classics at Dalhousie. Since 1997, I have been Secretary and Editor of Dionysius. I served as Chairman of the Department of Classics for seven years and have been responsible for the establishment of the Programme in Religious Studies within Classics and have encouraged its teaching of Arabic. In 2007, I was Masterminds Lecturer at Dalhousie.

I have published three monographs and have another in press, have edited nine volumes and sixteen issues of Dionysius. At present (2015) I am committed to write a monograph on Christian Neoplatonisms. My first monograph came out of my Oxford D.Phil. and treated the Neoplatonic sources and structure of the doctrine of God in Thomas Aquinas. Published by Oxford University Press in 1987 it was republished in 2000 in the series “Oxford Scholarly Classics.” In the last decade I have published: One Hundred Years of Neoplatonism in France: A Brief Philosophical History (Peeters, 2006) and Aquinas’ Neoplatonism in the Summa Theologiae on God. A Short Introduction, in press; Deconstructing Radical Orthodoxy: Postmodern Theology, Rhetoric and Truth, edited with Douglas Hedley (Ashgate Press, 2005), Perspectives sur le néoplatonisme, édité avec Martin Achard et Jean-Marc Narbonne (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2009), and Changing our Mind on Secularization. The Contemporary Debate about Secular and Sacred in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, edited with Nicholas Hatt (St Peter Publications, 2010). I have published more than one hundred and twenty academic articles and reviews, of which the latest is “Conversion: Ontological & Secular from Plato to Tom Jones”, Numero Cinq, V: 7, July 2014.

I have delivered more than eighty major invited scholarly lectures and addresses in Canada, the USA, and Europe, and have produced hundreds of journalistic, theological, and devotional publications and addresses of which the last was a sermon for the Feast of the Ascension, “A cloud lifted him away from their eyes.”

In January 2015 I received the Aquinas Medal from the University of Dallas and delivered the Aquinas Lecture on his Feast Day. In December in Paris, I shall give the Inaugural Address on the Plan of the Summa theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas at a Colloquium on the Summa celebrating the 750th Anniverary of its beginnings. The Colloquium will be part of the celebrations by the French Republic of the 8th centenary of the Dominican Order. The proceedings will be published.

Research interests

At present my research is mainly related to my teaching, lecturing and publishing commitments. I am working on Christian Neoplatonism, attempting to write an overview, on the Summa theologiae of Aquinas, the De Anima of Aristotle, and the Confessions of Augustine, on Philo Judaeus and on his much underrated influence, on the origins and conceptual structure of conversion and incarnation in Platonic philosophy and Christianity, on Plotinus, Iamblichus and Proclus and their influence, especially on their understanding of matter, evil and providence, on Eriugena, Anselm, and Aquinas, and on the heirs of Albertus Magnus along the Rhine, especially Eckhart and Cusa. My teaching of Eriugena has taken me back to contemporary French philosophy, especially to Jean Trouillard. Invited lectures and teaching on Aquinas have brought out the relation between his positions and his evolving knowledge of the history of philosophy, on the dynamic of giving and receiving which structures esse for him, and on the incarnational character of his theological metaphysics. Particular present concerns are the treatment of philosophy in current Christian theology, the theological and philosophical origins of our relation to nature, mysticism, and the formation of the Western self, and the diverse literary, artistic, architectural and musical forms of Christian Neoplatonism.

July 3, 2015