Aaron Rosen, Ph.D.

Dr. Aaron Rosen is Professor of Religion & Visual Culture and Director of the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C. He is also Visiting Professor at King’s College London, where he was Deputy Director of the Center for the Arts & the Sacred. He is on the Jewish Art Salon’s Advisory Committee.

Rosen began his career teaching at Yale, Oxford, and Columbia, after receiving his PhD from Cambridge. He has curated exhibitions around the world and provided commentary for major publications and outlets, including PBS and the BBC.

Rosen is the author of four books: What Would Jesus See? (Broadleaf, 2023); Brushes with Faith (Cascade, 2019); Art and Religion in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson, 2015; pbk 2016), named one of the best books of the year by The Times; and Imagining Jewish Art (Legenda, 2009).  His edited books include: Religion and Sight (Equinox, 2020); Encounters:  The Art of Interfaith Dialogue (Brepols, 2018); Visualising a Sacred City:  London, Art and Religion (I.B. Tauris, 2016); and Religion and Art in the Heart of Modern Manhattan (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015; pbk 2018).  He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Hospitality of Images: Modern Art and Interfaith Dialogue for Cambridge University Press.  His research has been supported by numerous scholarships and grants, including a major grant from Templeton Religion Trust for a project on aesthetic understanding and spiritual discernment.

Rosen is the visual arts editor for Image Journal, and the co-editor of book series for BrillBrepols, and Bloomsbury publishers.  He has written widely for publications including CNN.com,  The Los Angeles TimesApolloTimes Higher Education, The Guardian, and Art in America, and often comments for radio and television in the US and UK, including PBS and the BBC.

Prof. Rosen was a guest curator at Jewish Museum London and co-founded the international public arts project Stations of the Cross.  He also writes books for young people, including Where’s Your Creativity? and Journey through Art, which has been translated into seven languages. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Rosen, an Episcopal priest.


Ph.D., University of Cambridge (Pembroke College), Theology

D.Phil., (by incorporation) University of Oxford – Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Center for Hebrew & Jewish Studies

M.Phil., University of Cambridge (Pembroke College), Theology

Diploma in Theology & Religious Studies, University of Cambridge (Pembroke College)

B.A., Bowdoin College

Research Interests 

Religion in Modern and Contemporary Art

Religion and Material Culture (e.g. graphic novels, political cartoons, fashion, children’s books)

Religion and Film

Memorialization and Museology

Jewish-Christian-Muslim Dialogue

Modern Jewish Thought


Professional Grants: Templeton Religion Trust grant for “Art Seeking Understanding” project ($217,000; 2020-21); Pears Foundation (£20,000; collaboration with Nicola Green; 2018); Bishop Fox Company Grant ($5,000; 2018); EES 1862 Grant ($5,000; 2018); KCL Faculty Research Grant (£1,000; 2016); King’s Worldwide Award (£1,500; 2016); Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowship, awarded by the European Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences (€1,500; 2015); King’s Cultural Institute Innovation Grant (£15,000; 2014); Henry Luce Foundation Grant ($40,000; 2013); American Academy for Jewish Research Book Subvention Award ($3,000; 2009)

Professional Honors: King’s College London Teaching Excellence Award, 2013-2014 (1 of 2 awardees across the School of Arts & Humanities); Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 2013; Elected Member of the International Association of Art Critics, 2012; Oxford DPhil (awarded by incorporation, 2009); Short-listed for Arts & Christian Enquiry / Mercers’ International Book Award (2009, 2015 runner-up)

PhD: Anglo-California Foundation Scholarship for study at University of California Berkeley ($7,500); Bethune Baker Theology Scholarship (£6,500-8,000 yearly); Overseas Research Studentship (£5,000 yearly); Cambridge Overseas Trust Bursary (£3,000 yearly); Modern Jewish Studies Fund Award (£1,500); Yad Vashem Scholarship/Hyams Trust Award ($1,500); Rosenthal Memorial Scholarship; Fellow of Cambridge Overseas Society

MPhil: Theological Studies Prize; Kurt Hahn Trust Award (DAAD); Overseas Trust Bursary Diploma: Pembroke Scholar; Foundress Prize; Partridge Award; Overseas Trust Bursary BA: Phi Beta Kappa; Charles Everett Graduate Scholarship; James Bowdoin Scholar; Book Award; Dean’s List; Pembroke College Scholar; Foundation Scholarship; Foundress Prize

Relevant Classes Taught

Art and the Sacred in Washington, DC

Religion & Graphic Novels         

Spiritual Journeys in Literature

Modern Jewish Art, Film, and Culture