About the Department
The Department of Theology and Religion has flourished at Durham University since its foundation in 1832, and has established an international reputation as one of the leading departments in its field. Teaching and research within the Department is focused on three key areas: Biblical studies, Christian theology and the study of religion.
Biblical studies covers the New Testament, the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism, and includes both close engagement with the biblical texts and broader considerations of their historical, cultural and theological contexts and interpretation. We are one of the few universities to offer the full range of biblical and ancient languages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Middle Egyptian)
Christian theology is divided into: ethical, philosophical and systematic theology; and historical theology and church history. A more specific undergraduate joint honours programme in Philosophy and Theology is available for those with an interest in the links between religion, ethics and philosophy. We work within a range of Christian traditions – Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Studies are particular strengths – but we aren’t confined to any of them: our approach is to let each tradition be itself, but also to bring them all into dialogue.
The study of religion looks at the anthropological, and sociological aspects of religion in the analysis of mainstream traditions and alternative religious movements, and on the practical study of contemporary religion. Specialist staff interests include Mormonism; death, dying and disposal; shamanism; religion and emotion; religion/faith and globalisation; contemporary and post-evangelicalism; religion and generational change; pilgrimage; sacred space; myth analysis; and South Asian Christianities.
The department enjoys many cross-departmental and interdisciplinary links around the University, including the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, as well as a strong, collaborative relationship with the theological institutions based in and around Durham (e.g. Cranmer Hall). All staff are involved in research, publication, and supervision, and students are introduced to cutting-edge ideas in their course of study. With its home in Abbey House, right next to Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO world Heritage site, it is beautiful and immensely exciting place to study and to research in Theology and Religion.