Research within the faculty focuses on four designated research areas, with the hallmarks of research excellence displayed through interdisciplinary and collaborative study. It is also aligned with the research of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. Research focus areas are:
A major focus of research is the extent to which different strands of early Christianity aimed to define themselves in relation to Jewish and Greco-Roman religious, philosophical, rhetorical, social, and cultural heritages. This includes attention to the reception, appropriation, and transformation of Classical and Jewish thought-systems and ways of life. A related important area of research is exploring the processes associated with, and ramifications of, Christianity’s growing power in the ancient world, including questions of the reception of New Testament writings in the Jewish and Roman worlds, and issues surrounding agency, identity, social power, and religious violence.
Biblical and Early Christian Studies research is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, covering areas such as Hellenistic Judaism, New Testament Studies, Patristics, Late-Antique Cultural and Intellectual History, and Byzantine Studies.
Our research incorporates the ongoing investigation of questions and issues that each generation encounters at one time or another pertaining to belief in the divine and the nature and place of humanity in the world. Drawing on such areas as moral, systematic and practical theology, we explore contextual approaches to the interpretation of the sources of faith in dialogue with contemporary culture.
A further key area of inquiry is the theological and philosophical frameworks for effective inter-religious dialogue. The research is aimed at facilitating understanding and appreciation so that the wisdom of the faith traditions is not neglected in public discourse.
Research focuses on questions concerning the origins and nature of moral value and theoretical frameworks for the discernment of this value (including interrogation of particular normative ethical models). Particular areas of applied ethics such as healthcare ethics, bioethics, political and social ethics at an individual and a communal level feature in this program.
Questions emanating from the interplay between personal identity and moral agency are explored by considering the extent to which affirming the primacy of individual autonomy trumps moral imperatives. Among these imperatives are individual responsibility for others, the protection of the vulnerable and the development of community.
Philosophy, Religion, and Culture supports theoretically-informed constructive work in the study of religion. We have a longstanding strength in European philosophy, especially post-structuralism and phenomenology, and researchers also have a keen interest in cultural studies. Their research draws upon these resources in conversation with classic religious texts in order to address ethical and political questions of contemporary concern.