After studying for a BSc in computation at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and an MSc in artificial intelligence at the University of Essex, Simon spent several years as a business IT consultant working on projects for a number of large companies including Nestlé, Boots Healthcare and Linklaters. Simon then abandoned the corporate world and returned to academia, first to pursue a diploma at Heythrop College (a college with a modern Catholic ethos, originally founded by the Jesuits for the study of philosophy and theology, a part of the University of London since 1970, and now sadly closed), followed by an MA in Jewish studies and a PhD in religions and theology at the University of Manchester. Simon is now the Administrator for the European Association for Jewish Studies, a charity whose main objective is the advancement of teaching and research of Jewish studies at European Universities and other places of higher education and learning, and an independent scholar with a general interest in religion and philosophy, and a particular interest in how Jews and Judaism have been represented in “modern” religious discourses (in particular in English Catholic and Methodist discourses) .
Simon’s PhD, which was funded by an AHRC grant and supervised by Professor Daniel Langton at the University of Manchester, examined how Jews were mythologised and stereotyped in a variety of English Catholic discourses during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Simon is currently preparing a book about the persistence of the “mythic Jew” in English Catholic discourses during the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
The following are some of the projects Simon has worked on since completing his PhD:
- An examination of Jewish stereotypes in the literature and journalism of the English author G.K. Chesterton. The results of this study can be found in Simon’s short book: Chesterton’s Jews.
- An examination of theological anti-Judaism in the bible commentaries and sermons of Adam Clarke (1762-1832), a prominent Methodist theologian from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This project was funded by a seed corn fellowship from the John Rylands Research Institute. An article based on this research into Adam Clarke’s discourse can be found in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library [link to journal volume] [link to author accepted manuscript]
- An examination of Jewish stereotypes in English Catholic newspapers during the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. This was funded by two research grants from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism.
- Transcribing and summarising life story interviews as a volunteer for the “Rainbow Jews” LGBT Anglo-Jewish oral history project.
- An examination of the life and protean discourse of the esotericist author, journalist and Freemason Dudley Wright.