Research in Theology and Religion
Research is at the heart of our identity as a department of Theology and Religion. Individually and collaboratively, through publications, research projects, seminars and conferences, we work to make a major contribution to the development of knowledge and insight in our disciplines.
The department’s research encompasses biblical studies, early Jewish studies, early Christian history, modern theology, practical and ecumenical theology, ethics, philosophy of religion, and the interface between science and religion. The coherence of the Department’s research culture lies primarily in a broad and interdisciplinary focus upon the Christian religion, the Jewish and other traditions and sources that have shaped it, its ongoing challenges in the contemporary world, and interreligious encounters between Christians, Jews and Muslims in the ancient and modern world.
Much of the Department’s research engages with issues of public and ethical importance and entails collaboration not only across the sub-disciplines of theology but also with other disciplines such as geography, law, anthropology, archaeology, classics, Islamic studies, and environmental and biological sciences.
Various research projects in the department cluster around the themes of:
• Identity, belief and the body
• Environment and place
• Religion, ritual and magic
• Embodied ways of Christian living
Centres and networks
Two centres and one network provide a particular focus for research activity and public engagement: the Centre for Biblical Studies, the Exeter Centre for Ecumenical and Practical Theology (EXCEPT, formerly the Centre for the Learning Church), and the Network for Religion in Public Life.
Our location in the College of Humanities, and links with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies, offer excellent opportunities for collaboration.
We have a successful track record in attracting funding for a variety of research projects advancing debates in Theology and Religion and contributing to our knowledge of important interdisciplinary topics.
Members of the department have excellent international reputations as scholars, and collaborate with other specialists all over the world as well as with non-scholarly communities.
Siam Bhayro is working with highly respected international scholars on the Schøyen collection of magic bowls and on the Berlin magic bowls, and with the Walters Art Gallery (USA) on a Galen Syriac Palimpsest. David Horrell is a member of the International Research Centre for Interdisciplinary Theology, Heidelberg, and the Contexts and Norms of early Christian ethics project, Mainz; Louise Lawrence has developed links with the Sensoria centre, Concordia University, Montreal; Morwenna Ludlow is a member of the international research project on the rhetoric of evil (with Oxford, Glasgow, Bonn) and of the South-West network for the study of Late Antiquity. Esther Reed is a Visiting Member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA, and was part of the Theology and International Law Working Group. Christopher Southgate is collaborating with N. Lehman (Portland State, USA) on origin of life research.
Research Assessment Exercise
The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, the UK Government’s main measure of the quality of Universities’ research, rated 85% of our published work as of international quality, and 50% as either 'Internationally Excellent' or 'World Leading'.
Research degree programmes
To do a MPhil/PhD in Theology at Exeter is to be invited to join and to make your own distinctive contribution to key debates at the heart of theology and religion. We offer PhD supervision across many areas of the discipline and provide excellent support and resources. We also offer a one-year MA by Research in Theology and Religion.