He was educated as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford, then at Radley College (Music Scholar), and Magdalene College, Cambridge (Music Scholar; B.A., 1965, Mus. B., 1966, M.A. 1969).
He moved to the U.S. in 1966 to undertake post-graduate work in musicology at Cornell University, where he gained his Ph.D. in 1969 with a dissertation on "The Music of Henry Cowell". He then taught at Cleveland State University for two years before moving to Colgate University Music Department in 1971.
He continues to teach in the music department at Colgate University, where he often teaches semester-long courses delving into the life and work of a single composer. In the past, Godwin has also taught "The Atlantis Debate," a class which focuses on the feasibility of flood myth, as well as "Western Esoteric Tradition."
- Robert Fludd. Hermetic Philosopher and Surveyor of Two Worlds (London: Thames & Hudson, 1979; also published in French, Greek, Spanish and Japanese). Currently available from Adventures Unlimited Press.
- Athanasius Kircher. A Renaissance Man and the Quest for Lost Knowledge (London: Thames & Hudson, 1979; also published in French, German, Spanish & Japanese)
- Mystery Religions in the Ancient World (London: Thames & Hudson, 1981, ISBN 0500110190; pbk, 1982, ISBN 0060631406; also published in Greek, Japanese)
- Harmonies of Heaven and Earth. The Spiritual Dimension of Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde (London: Thames & Hudson, 1987; also published in French, German, Japanese; partly published in Spanish). Currently in print from Inner Traditions International.
- Music and the Occult. French Musical Philosophies 1750-1950 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press/London: Boydell & Brewer, 1995; previously published in French; also published in Japanese)
- The Mystery of the Seven Vowels in Theory and Practice (Grand Rapids: Phanes Press, 1991; also published in Italian)
- Arktos (1993 subtitled "The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival") (Grand Rapids: Phanes Press, 1993, also published in German, Japanese, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish). Currently in print from Adventures Unlimited Press.
- The Theosophical Enlightenment (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994)
- Johann Friedrich Hugo Von Dalberg (1760-1812): Schriftsteller, Musiker, Domherr (co-authored with Michael Embach; Mainz: Gesellschaft fur mittelrheinische Kirchengeschichte, 1998)
- Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, (1999, translation)
- The Pagan Dream of the Renaissance (Grand Rapids: Phanes Press/London: Thames & Hudson, 2002)
- The Real Rule of Four (New York: The Disinformation Company, 2004; also published in French and Portuguese)
- The Golden Thread: The Ageless Wisdom of the Western Mystery Traditions (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2007)
- Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre Of The World (Thames and Hudson, 2009). ISBN 978-0-500-25860-6
- Atlantis And The Cycles Of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, And Occult Revelations (Inner Traditions, 2011). ISBN 978-1-59477-857-5