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Durham University

Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health

Theology - Interdisciplinary Research

Theology is clearly concerned with God. However, Anselm of Canterbury (c1033 to 1109) famously proposed that theology is “faith seeking understanding”. He went on to say:

“I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand’ [Isa. 7:9]” (Proslogion 1)

Based upon this model, attention is not so much focussed upon the nature of God (although this was clearly important to Anselm) but rather upon the place of faith as aiding understanding in some much wider sense. Extrapolating from this to the place of theology in today’s world, theology will necessarily be an interdisciplinary exercise. Of course, it is still concerned with scriptural studies, and systematic theology, but it also engages with the biological and social sciences and with the arts and humanities. God’s self-revelation takes place in the “book of nature”, as well as the book of scripture, and these two books are each helpful in interpreting the other.

PhD and DThM students in Durham have pursued interdisciplinary studies in a wide variety of health related contexts, bringing critical theological scholarship into dialogue with the health sciences and with other disciplines.

For an example of an interdisciplinary engagement that emerged from a conference held by CSTH in Durham in 2010, see:

Our regular seminar series also reflects this breadth of interdisciplinary engagement. See the Spirituality, Theology & Health Seminar Series.