Philip Sheldrake is a religious historian, theologian, scholar in the overall area of spirituality. He has been closely involved with the emergence of Christian Spirituality as an academic field. Sheldrake is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. His publications have mainly focused on the interface of spirituality, theology, and religious history. He has also written on religious reconciliation and, more recently, on a spiritual vision for cities in dialogue with history, philosophy, theology, social sciences and urban studies. 
Sheldrake trained in history, philosophy, and theology at the universities of Oxford and London. In 2015 he was awarded the higher doctorate, Doctor of Divinity (DD), by Oxford University after formal examination of a portfolio of his published work. Sheldrake later taught at the University of London (1984-94), University of Cambridge (1992-97), Durham University (William Leech Professorial Fellow 2003-08) and as Honorary Professor and Postgraduate Research Supervisor at the University of Wales (1998-2013). He was also the Hulsean Lecturer at the University of Cambridge (1999-2000) and Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of Cities & Regions, Durham University (2008-2013). 
Sheldrake is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Cambridge Theological Federation (Westcott House), Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Spirituality at the graduate Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio Texas and Professorial Fellow of St Chad's College, Durham University. He has also regularly been a visiting professor or consultant at a number of universities in the United States, for example The Joseph Visiting Professor of Catholic Studies at Boston College (2008-09).
In recent years, Philip Sheldrake has become involved internationally in interreligious dialogue as a member of the Guerrand-Hermes Forum for the Interreligious Study of Spirituality and as a participant in the Building Bridges Christian-Muslim seminars, administered by Georgetown University, Washington DC. He has also worked with urban theorists, architects and urban planners in thinking about the meaning of cities and with medical professionals in the UK, USA and Norway in relation to the spirituality of healthcare.
- Sheldrake, Philip (1998). Spirituality and history: Questions of interpretation and method. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. ISBN 1-57075-203-6.
- Sheldrake, Philip (2001). Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory, and Identity. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6861-0.
- Sheldrake, Philip (2005). The new Westminster dictionary of Christian spirituality. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox. ISBN 0-664-23003-2.
- Sheldrake, Philip (2006). Spirituality: A Brief History. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1-4051-1771-0.
- Spirituality: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury 2014)
- The Spirituality City: Theology, Spirituality & the Urban (Wiley-Blackwell 2014)
- Philip Sheldrake (1999). "The study of spirituality". The Way: a review of Christian spirituality (The Way Publications) 39 (2): 162–172. ISSN 0043-1575.
- Philip Sheldrake (2011). "Spirituality in a European context". Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality (Johns Hopkins University Press) 11 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1353/scs.2011.0020. ISSN 1533-1709.