Dr. Jens Zimmermann, Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture

Trinity Western University

22500 University Drive
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1


PhD. Philosophy, 2010

Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Germany

  • Topic: Humanism and Religion: A Philosophical Analysis
  • Description: Zimmermann employs the concept of humanism to analyze the development of humanistic philosophies and educational ideals in Western culture from the Greco-Roman ideal of paideia to its Christian and secular transformations. The argument concludes with a proposed hermeneutical humanism capable of engaging a number of current issues concerning religion and culture. Main thinkers and concepts discussed:  patristic humanism, medieval humanism, Renaissance humanism, modernism, deconstruction, hermeneutics, theology and ethics; Vico, Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer, Polanyi, Ricoeur, Levinas, Charles Taylor, John Macmurray.

Ph.D. Comparative Literature (German, English, French), 1997
University of British Columbia

  • Dissertation: “English Puritans and German Pietists: A Re-Examination of Pre-Critical Hermeneutics in Light of the Anthropocentric Turn in Hermeneutics”
  • Supervisor: Dr. Dennis Danielson, Department of English, University of British Colombia

MA Comparative Literature (German, English, French), 1993
University of British Columbia

  • Major Fields: Iconoclasm, Seventeenth Century tests of the continental Reformation and English Puritanism
  • Minor Fields: German Literature of the Middle Ages; Renaissance and Baroque Literature

BA English Literature and Language, 1992
University of British Columbia

  • Major Fields: Milton; Early American Literature; Victorian novel
  • Minor Fields: German Language and Literature

Professional Experience:

Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture 
September 2006 - Present

Full Professor (Tenured)

Trinity Western University

September 2006 — Present 

  • English Language/Literature; Literary Theory
  • Philosophy: Graduate course in Philosophical Hermeneutics
  • Literature: English graduate course in Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities Program
  • Course on Christian Humanism

Associate Professor (Tenured)

Trinity Western University
2002 – 2006

Assistant Professor

Trinity Western University
1998 – 2002

Sessional Instructor

University of British Columbia
1997 – 1998

Full-Time Sessional Instructor (English Language/Literature)
Trinity Western University

Part-Time Sessional Instructor (English Language; German)

Part-Time Sessional Instructor (German)

University of British Columbia
1995 – 1996

Teaching Assistant (English)

University of British Columbia
1992 – 1993

Academic Honours:

2011-2016: Former Canada Research Chair $500,000
2008-2011: CCCU Networking Grant “Christian Reasoning” (US) $18,000
2008-2011: SSHRC Grant “Religious Humanism" $41,000
2006-2011: Former Canada Research Chair $500,000
2006: Omni Grant, Religion Culture and Conflict $100,000
2004: SSHRC Research Grant $14,000
2001: SSHRC Research Grant $3,300
2000: SSHRC Research Grant $4,600
1999: CCCU Networking Grant (US) $20,000
1999: SSHRC Research Grant $4,000
1995-1996: University of British Columbia Graduate Fellowship $13,500

For a complete curriculum vitae, including publications, presentations and other scholarly activities, click here.

Student Research:

Professor Zimmermann regularly supervises theses and major projects and other student research.

Professional Membership:

Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE)

American Academy of Religion (AAR)

Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy (SPEP)

Languages Proficiency:

  • German (fluency)
  • English (fluency)
  • French (near fluency)
  • Latin (reading knowledge)
  • Greek (reading knowledge)

Teaching Interests:

  • Philosophical and Theological Anthropology
  • Philosophical and Theological Hermeneutics
  • Modern Theology (emphasis: Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
  • Existential Phenomenology (Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas)
  • Cultural and Intellectual History of Humanism (Secular/Religious Humanisms and Transhumanism)
  • Literary Theory and European Literature
  • Future Research Project: The Project Transforming Humanism in cooperation with researchers from McGill, Notre Dame, Yale, and Simon Fraser Universities, employs philosophical and theological criteria to examine the assumptions and goals of Transhumanism, a highly influential movement that aims to overcome human limitations through technological enhancement.